News at Medicine - August 2007 - Founding medical dean dies

Founding medical dean dies
August 1, 2007

Dean emeritus Dr. Ian Rusted died July 14 in his 86th year. Until his severe stroke in January 2007, Dr. Rusted enjoyed a healthy independent life with his beloved wife of 58 years, Ellen Marie (Hansen). He is also survived by his two sons, Christopher of Topsail and Brian (Christine Sowiak) of Nanton Alberta, and three grandsons, Jonathan, Peter and Timothy.


Ian RustedTo honour his memory, donations may be made to the Dr. Ian Rusted Founder’s Chair in Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

A proud graduate of Memorial College, Dalhousie University, University of Toronto, McGill University and a Fellow of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Rusted was the founding dean of Memorial University’s medical school and subsequently served many years in a variety of roles including vice-president (health sciences and professional schools) of Memorial. In recognition of his work with many provincial, national and international organizations, Dr. Rusted was granted honorary degrees from the universities of Toronto, Dalhousie, Mount Allison, and Memorial, and was a Master of the American College of Physicians. He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1985.

Born in Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland, on July 12, 1921, he attended high school in Carbonear and St. John’s. After two years at Memorial University College (’38 to ’40) he attended Trinity College, University of Toronto, receiving a BA in 1943. He completed his medical degree and rotating internship at Dalhousie University in 1948, followed by a M.Sc. from McGill University in 1949.

The award of a Fellowship in Medicine from the Mayo Foundation led to additional postgraduate experience at the Mayo Clinic, with several research publications emphasizing chest and cardiovascular diseases. He declined invitations for positions at the Mayo Clinic and McGill University, choosing to return to what had now become the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As medical consultant to the Department of Health and director of medical education at the General Hospital, Dr. Rusted’s top priority was visiting cottage hospitals and other provincial institutions, working closely with rural doctors. During this period he collected information regarding the possibility of a new medical school in Atlantic Canada. This led to his appointment by Memorial University in 1967 as the first dean of medicine, a position he held until 1974.

From 1974-79 he was vice-president (health sciences) and from 1979-88 served as vice-president (health sciences and professional schools). From 1981-88 he was also pro vice-chancellor with responsibility for development of Labrador Institute of Northern Studies and Memorial’s Gerontology Centre. Recognition of his many activities included four honorary degrees and being made an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Master of the American College of Physicians.

Dean's Reflections

Excerpts from the funeral reflection

By Dr. James Rourke

Greetings family and friends of Dr. Ian Rusted.

As the current dean of Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine, I am deeply honoured to speak about our founding dean, Dr. Ian Rusted, and to offer our deepest condolences to his wife Ellen, his sons Christopher and Brian, and grandsons, Jonathan, Peter and Timothy and his brother Nigel.

Dr. Rusted’s vision and determination were the two key factors that led to the establishment of a medical school at Memorial University in 1967.

This was a truly remarkable accomplishment at that time as Memorial became one of only 16 universities in Canada to have a medical school.

He never wavered in his determination to see a medical school established at Memorial, despite sometimes fierce opposition.

Eventually he prevailed and in 1967 was appointed our first dean of medicine, a position he held until 1974.

In just two short years, with a handful of faculty and housed in temporary buildings, he led the development of an innovative undergraduate medical curriculum. The first medical students were admitted in 1969.

Admissions grew each year and by 1971, the pattern was established of admitting 56 students into the first year of the medical program, with 40 of these places reserved for Newfoundland students.

From 1973- 2007 Memorial’s medical school has trained 1,917 medical graduates, many of whom have served and continue to serve as family doctors and specialists for the province.

Dr. Rusted also served Memorial University as vice-president (health sciences) from 1974-79 and vice-president (health sciences and professional schools) from 1979-88. He was instrumental in the development of the School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy.

Recognition of his many activities included four honorary degrees and being made an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Master of the American College of Physicians.

Even after his retirement, Dr. Rusted never lost interest in the Faculty of Medicine, coming into work every day until his stroke. He regularly attended Grand Rounds and other medical lectures, and was a guiding resource to everyone from students to the dean.

He was instrumental in establishing the Founder’s Archive at the Health Sciences Library, containing the history of the medical school.

Dr. Rusted’s legacy is a thriving and vital Faculty of Medicine that not only trains world class doctors and research scientists but has had a tremendous impact on the quality of health services for the people of this province.

Although we will not see him in the halls of the Health Sciences Centre anymore, he has left a permanent mark on every Newfoundlander and Labradorian with the creation and development of the medical school at Memorial University. He envisioned the first endowed chair for our faculty, and to honour him we are establishing the Dr. Ian Rusted Rounder’s Chair in Medical Education.

I thank you for the opportunity to say a few words today in honour of this great man.

Dean James Rourke

July 18, 2007