Grateful for the scholarships and awards that supported his medical education, Dr. Curtis Sorgini has completed the circle of giving making a donation for medical students from underserviced communities
By Jennifer Parraga, BA’93
Walking into the Medical Sciences Building in September 1980, Dr. Curtis Sorgini, MD’84, began his medical school journey. Only 18 years of age at the time, he was one of six students admitted after just one year of undergraduate studies.
Encouraged and supported by loving parents, Dr. Sorgini says that his postsecondary education was possible in part with support from scholarships and awards. It’s why he decided to give back to the School and set up an award for medical students with financial need and who come from a medically underserviced area.
“When I went through School, I received a number of awards and scholarships,” he said. “It was encouraging to receive an award and to have someone recognize the work that I did. I wanted to do something that would leave others feeling the same way.”
Coming from an underserviced area in Northern Ontario, Dr. Sorgini felt it was important to support students who may not always have the same opportunities as those from urban communities.
Born and raised in Sudbury, Dr. Sorgini says he first thought about medicine as a career before he started high school. He recalls fondly that his father proclaimed that he should become an eye surgeon and how he immediately rejected the idea, as young pre-teens tend to do.
Visiting Western University with his brother, Dr. Richard Sorgini, DDS’81, Curtis was sold. And Western became an important part of his plan and goals.
“I had gone there for a tour with my brother and it seemed so exciting, the grounds, the buildings – I was just so impressed,” he said.
Although much younger than his classmates, Dr. Sorgini quickly found his place in medical school. At that time, the class included 105 students, which Dr. Sorgini says made it small enough to feel like a family, but large enough for there to be a diversity of interests, opinions, groups, clubs and activities.
A rotating internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London followed graduation, and then he decided to pursue ophthalmology – making his father’s proclamation a reality.
“It was encouraging to receive an award and to have someone recognize the work that I did. I wanted to do something that would leave others feeling the same way.”
—Dr. Curtis Sorgini
The pull from his hometown was strong and he returned to the north to set up his practice there upon completion of his studies. In 1995, Dr. Sorgini introduced laser vision correction to his practice, supporting a population base of nearly half a million people stretching from Thunder Bay to Ottawa and Barrie.
Throughout the years, Dr. Sorgini’s family connections to Western have expanded. His brother and sister are alumni and his daughter and son are currently students. His continued connections with his classmates and visits with his own children stir his great memories of his time on campus.
A pilot, Dr. Sorgini has also returned to London and campus on many occasions to visit with family and friends.
It was in 2019, the 35th year of his graduation that Dr. Sorgini decided to make his donation to support an annual award for a medical student. His gift was matched, which doubled the impact and provides for an annual award of $8,000 to a deserving medical student.
“My experience at Western was great, and my education was second to none, partly due to the support of those who came before me. Now it’s my turn to give back. I feel as an alumnus it is important to support the School and the University.”