George E. Yee, D.Sc., May 10, 2012
Dr. George E. Yee
M.D.(Man.); F.R.C.P.(C)

A celebrated physician and philanthropist, Dr. George E. Yee is recognized for his commitment to medicine, to his community and to the support of young doctors.

Dr. Yee grew up in one of Winnipeg’s poorest neighbourhoods and despite his family’s financial woes his parents supported and encouraged his pursuit of a university education. In 1960, he graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine. During his studies a pivotal moment in his career occurred: the faculty’s Dean, noticing his student’s financial needs, offered Dr. Yee a bursary. Grateful for this help, Dr. Yee vowed to himself that if he were ever fortunate enough to do so, he would give back to the University of Manitoba.

Upon graduating, he worked at the Winnipeg General Hospital and then began residencies in pathology there, and at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In 1964 he became an American Cancer Fellow. A year later Dr. Yee was certified in General Pathology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. From 1992 to 2002 he held the role of Inspector for the College of American Pathologists. He has also served as the President of the Ontario Association of Pathologists and as a member of medical organizations such as the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Society of Cytology.

Throughout his career Dr. Yee has worked in various hospitals, often as their chief pathologist, and today he is the CEO and Laboratory Director of Medical Laboratories of Windsor, Ont., the busiest laboratory in Canada. He has held this position since 1966.

Despite his busy schedule as a world-renowned pathologist and a father of four, Dr. Yee has never forgotten his vow. To that end, to help further philanthropy in his graduating class, Dr. Yee challenged his classmates to donate funds, which he would match dollar for dollar, to assist medical students. The result: the University of Manitoba Class of 1960 Entrance Scholarship in Medicine, which Dr. Yee underwrote to the sum of $95,000.

In 2008, Dr. Yee provided a $2.5 million gift to establish the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation at the University of Manitoba, a place that fosters interdisciplinary research and collaboration that will result in new ways to improve patient care and safety.  

To honour his mother’s memory, Dr. Yee donated $200,000 to establish the Pauline Yee Harrison Medical Student Bursary at the University of Manitoba. He has also given $150,000 to the Ontario Medical Student Bursary Fund, of which he is a founder and sustaining member.

In 2001, Dr. Yee received the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Life Membership Award. In 2002, he received the Canadian Medical Association’s Senior Membership Award. And in 2007 he received the OMA’s Advocate for Student Awards. Today, Dr. Yee is awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sciences from the school where he began his trailblazing career.

George E. Yee