When Richard Alan Stikeman, an incredible businessman, community leader, and family man, died from malignant mesothelioma, his family, friends, and community established the Stikeman Fund for Surgical Advancement and the Stikeman Visiting Professorship in order to commemorate him. Dr Dag Munro, Stikeman's treating surgeon, proposed the concept of an annual visiting professor as a unique way to honour his patient.
The primary goal of the fund was to enhance surgical education for students, residents, and faculty in the McGill University Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. In the words of one of the founders – Richard's brother Heward Stikeman – it should "sharpen people" and keep McGill's program at the forefront of cardiothoracic education. Former residents were invited to return on an annual basis. Surgical research was added to the program and benefited from the wisdom of fifty world-class visitors. This contributed to a high degree of loyalty, adhesion, and philanthropy to the division. The Stikeman Visiting Professorship has thus unified cardiothoracic surgery under the McGill umbrella: Dr A.R.C. Dobell identified the professorship as the glue that holds the division together.
The Stikeman Visiting Professorship has emerged over the years as an important McGill legacy, its growth and duration a tribute to its founders, builders, and supporters. This book is a celebration of that legacy.