RDP receives historic gift to create Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation

Long-time friend and supporter of Red Deer Polytechnic, the Donald Family, has given a record-breaking $20-million gift, the largest ever received by RDP.

“We are immensely grateful for the Donald Family’s transformational gift,” says Stuart Cullum, RDP President. “With this gift, we will establish the Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation, where we will bring together diverse teams of experts, practitioners and interdisciplinary researchers to develop and deliver innovative healthcare education, training and applied research in Alberta.

“By supporting the health industry as it evolves beyond the status quo, RDP is contributing to the region’s economic diversification and providing the innovative solutions, education and training that will benefit generations of residents here in central Alberta and across the province. On behalf of all of RDP’s students, staff and faculty, I would like to thank the Donald Family for their incredible generosity and support in helping us bring this important healthtech concept to life,” says Cullum.

Community leaders and philanthropists Joan Donald, along with her late husband, Jack Donald, and their children John Donald and Kathy Lacey, have been supporters of education and healthcare for many decades.

“As a family we believe in supporting our community, and one of the best ways to enrich your community is to support education and healthcare,”Joan says. “I’ve always felt it was very important to ensure that post-secondary education is accessible to the greater community.”

Joan was a member of the Board of Governors of Red Deer College (now Red Deer Polytechnic), and honorary chair of the Library fundraising campaign that raised more than $7.3 million for the construction of a new library on campus. She’s also been a long-time supporter of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre Foundation and STARS.

Community leaders and philanthropists, Jack (left) and Joan (right) Donald.

Community leaders and philanthropists, Jack (left) and Joan (right) Donald.

The second youngest of 11 children who grew up on a family farm near Millet, Alberta, Joan credits her strong work ethic and desire to support her community to her rural roots. Joan and Jack Donald moved to Red Deer in 1964, where they co-founded Parkland Oil Products Ltd., and later Parkland Industries Ltd. (now Parkland Corp.), the corporation behind the well-known Fas Gas service stations. Since her retirement in 2001, Joan has stayed incredibly active as a community volunteer and philanthropist, receiving several prestigious awards, including Red Deer Citizen of the Year in 2004 and the Alberta Order of Excellence Award in 2021; Joan was also made a Member of the Order of Canada for her lifetime of distinguished community service in 2011.

The Donald Family has been long-time friends and supporters of RDP. The Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation joins the already established Donald School of Business, Science and Computing, and the Donald Health and Wellness Centre on the Polytechnic’s campus. In recognition of the Donald Family’s long standing partnership with RDP over several decades, College Boulevard (the main road on campus) will be renamed Donald Boulevard later this year.

Learn more about Red Deer Polytechnic at rdpolytech.ca and follow them on Linked In, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates from campus.

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