The outstanding generosity of a dedicated and long-serving employee will support the budding careers of several future ophthalmologists and clinician scientists in New Zealand.
Former manager at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Joan Ready has shared some recent good fortune and made a major donation of $250,000 to the Ophthalmology Department, to be used at the discretion of Department Head Professor Charles McGhee.
“Joan’s unexpected, outstandingly generous and altruistic philanthropy will now enable a new generation to taste the excitement of embarking on research,” says Professor McGhee.
Joan’s University of Auckland career spanned more than 35 years in various research and management roles and as a result she gained a deep understanding of numerous aspects of the University’s contribution to teaching and research.
The Ophthalmology Department expanded significantly from only two academic staff following the appointment of Professor Charles McGhee as the foundation Maurice Paykel Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology in 1999. The Department now consists of three professors and more than 60 staff and students, whose teaching and research programmes focus on the clinical, cellular and molecular aspects of the visual system.
Joan was always immensely impressed by Charles’s ability to attract high levels of funding and talent. They became friends during their many interactions when Joan was Manager of the School of Medicine. Charles commented, “Joan was always friendly, supportive and an absolute fund of institutional knowledge wrapped with a (shared) dry sense of humour – so we got on from our earliest encounters”.
Professor McGhee is extremely grateful to have had Joan as a great friend and excellent colleague over the last 17 years, with Joan playing an “absolutely integral” part in many of the major developments in Ophthalmology. Joan says she admired the inclusiveness of the department, which students enjoyed and were motivated by.
Over the years, Joan grew close to talented young research fellows and became aware of the financial challenges they faced in developing successful careers. Joan wanted to help change this, to ensure a sustainable future for the team. Professor McGhee commented that her extremely generous donation will ensure that each year a junior researcher in Ophthalmology will benefit from the support of the Joan Ready Research Fund.
We thank Joan for her insightful decision to back a team whose work she so admired.
Pictured above - front row, from left: Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon and Joan Ready. Back row, from left: Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Professor John Fraser and Professor Charles McGhee