All about helping people

Suzanne Oleksiuk and her late husband, Dr. Stanley Oleksiuk.

Suzanne Oleksiuk and her late husband, Dr. Stanley Oleksiuk, met at the University of Ottawa. The scholarship they established through a gift of life insurance is helping medical students graduate in a better financial situation before they go on to help society.

A man of integrity. Kind. Supportive. Patient. “He was all of these things, and more,” says Suzanne Oleksiuk, reflecting on the words used by patients, friends and family to describe her late husband of 63 years, Dr. Stanley Oleksiuk (MD ’55).

The couple met at the University of Ottawa in the early days of the Faculty of Medicine, in 1951, when Stanley was a student and Suzanne was secretary to the dean. “My first and only job,” she says, self-effacingly ignoring the many years she spent as a homemaker, raising their six children and generally helping her husband achieve the career he wanted. All this was not lost on Stanley, who insisted, when the time came to name the couple’s scholarship fund at uOttawa, that “Dazé,” Suzanne’s maiden name, be included.

Last year, a gift of life insurance on Stanley’s death ensured that the Dazé-Oleksiuk Scholarship in Medicine, created in 2003, will continue to ease the financial burden of medical students for many years to come. 

“We all know young people who get out of the university with so much debt they can barely survive,” says Suzanne. “The scholarship was Stanley’s way to help a little.”

Helping people was second nature for him. A respected ear, nose and throat specialist for almost 50 years, Dr. Oleksiuk was the kind of physician who stuck with his patients, always making sure they were well looked after. He mentored many students and trainees, helping them with their careers. He thought of new ways to help patients keep track of their care, and was involved with various medical associations. He also stayed close to his alma mater. “Our involvement with the University of Ottawa was a matter of our hearts being there,” says Suzanne.

She can now add to this story of involvement the many students they’ve helped over the years with the scholarship. To this day, Suzanne has kept every letter she has received from the grateful recipients. “It makes me very thankful that they thought enough to thank my husband and me for doing this, and that they’re on their way to becoming people who will, in turn, help society.”

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