Kenneth G. Murray, LLD '95, founder and patron of the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) passed away Saturday.
When Murray’s first wife, Helen, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he grew to understand the challenges faced by those living with dementia. He reached out to the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for help. In 1993, MAREP was created to fulfill Murray’s vision of improving life for people with Alzheimer’s disease and to develop meaningful resources for their care partners.
Through his involvement with MAREP, Murray inspired people to look beyond finding a cure to focus on improving the quality of life for those living with the disease. In addition to his own generous philanthropic support, he was instrumental in helping to raise more than $1.5 million for the program through initiatives such as the Friends of Ken campaign. MAREP grew to be a leader in integrating research, outreach and education to improve dementia care practices in Canada and beyond.
Murray’s support of teaching and research at Waterloo expanded with the establishment of the Susan Pearce and Leslie Harwood Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology. Created in honour of his two daughters, the fund supports graduate students involved in aging research.
“Ken’s vision and support tangibly changed the quality of life for countless individuals living with dementia, as well as for family members and those providing dementia-related care,” explains Paul Stolee, dean of applied health sciences. “Giving back was an integral part of his background and he amplified his impact across the community by inspiring everyone he met along the way.”
The former President of Schneider Foods received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1995 for his outstanding support of the University.
In 2001, Murray was appointed a member of the Order of Canada for his involvement and support of many community organizations, including the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph, the Homewood Corporation, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation. He has also received a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his community service. In 2014, he and wife Marilyn were named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year.
In 2018, the MAREP program moved its home base to the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, where his exceptional legacy will continue.