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Donor Spotlights
Supporter spotlight – Stan Magidson

As a member of Weizmann’s Canada’s National Board and the Weizmann Institute of Science’s International Board, Stan Magidson reflects on starting the Calgary volunteer chapter, why he and his wife Ellen support basic research and how that support has become a family affair.

Weizmann Canada’s community in Calgary has been growing for decades, bringing together people with a shared passion for supporting basic research, and at the heart of it for much of that time has been Stan Magidson. As a longtime supporter, Stan founded the Calgary volunteer chapter in 2006 with his wife, Ellen Magidson, along with several of their friends who shared their curiosity in scientific discovery.  

From first learning about Weizmann 30 years ago from friends, to starting the Calgary Chapter, joining the National Board in 2006 and the International Board in 2016, Stan continued to find more ways to get involved. “The more I learned about Weizmann, the more I grew to understand the tremendous impact it has on the betterment of the world and humanity,” says Stan.

L to R: Jeff and Laurie Cohen, Ellen and Stan Magidson at the Weizmann’s Institute annual flagship celebration of science and philanthropy on campus in 2019.

With the goal of contributing to that impact, Stan and Ellen have given to numerous Weizmann initiatives, including to Alzheimer’s research, advancements in clean water, supporting women in science, and establishing a scholarship fund for cancer research. They have also sponsored a science student from Western Canada to study on campus each summer and most recently started supporting the education of future scientific leaders who are pursuing their Masters or PhDs at Weizmann’s Feinberg Graduate School. 

Science for all

The standard of excellence in Weizmann scientists balanced with a curiosity-supportive environment has been the unique quality that has always stood out to Stan. “Weizmann seeks out the best and the brightest and allows them to pursue their curiosity in basic research without boundaries, in a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment,” he says. “This has resulted in many scientific breakthroughs at Weizmann and I’m confident there will be many more.” 

Stan is consistently impressed with Weizmann scientists’ ability to explain the most complicated concepts in a way that’s accessible and understandable.  

“I really admire how down to earth they are,” Stan says, “But at the same time, it’s their brilliance, curiosity and ambition to solve the world’s most challenging scientific problems.” As someone without a science background, he adds, “This is my way of hearing about and supporting scientific research and breakthroughs that I would not otherwise be aware of.” 

Stan’s son, Jordan Magidson, is also Chair of the Calgary Weizmann League —Weizmann Canada’s network of young professionals. Grateful to have found something they can have an impact on together, Stan says, “We as individuals and as a family really believe it’s very important to give back to the community, and we are just honoured to be part of the Weizmann family.” 

Stan and Ellen Magidson at the unveiling of their plaque on the donor wall at the International Plaza on the Weizmann Institute campus in 2015.
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