Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search
News
Basanti Majumdar

Retired professor ensures her legacy with a gift of life insurance

Majumdar is now extending her remarkable legacy through a gift of life insurance, of which McMaster is the owner and beneficiary. This planned gift will support student travel bursaries, so that those without the financial means will be able to travel for their research projects.

Jun 10, 2019

Original article on McMaster Daily News 

It all began with a plane ticket and the kindness of a stranger.

The year was 1968 and Basanti Majumdar learned she had been accepted to Columbia University on a scholarship. But she wouldn’t receive the funds until she arrived in New York — and to get there she needed a plane ticket from Delhi.

“I went to every head office of the airlines in Delhi to see if they would allow me to pay my plane ticket in instalments,” Majumdar recalls. From place to place, she was met with rejection. She arrived at one last office. “The front desk clerk said no. But then a man — Peter — emerged from the back and said he would be my guarantor for the cost of the ticket.”

She arrived in the United States with $12 in her pocket and soon made good on her promise to repay Peter.

Majumdar also made good on a promise to her family that education would always be a seminal part of her life.

Her academic credentials include RN, MSc, MEd, MSc(T), and a PhD in medical anthropology. In 1971 she came to McMaster, where she earned her master’s in teaching in 1987. She forged a career as an international scholar, global health researcher, educator and community advocate. She established courses in international health, helped to provide McMaster nursing students with clinical placements in northern Canada and around the world, and contributed to the development of global partnerships.

In 1991 she was honoured as a YWCA Woman of Distinction and in 2009 she was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction.

“My grandfather and father always instilled in me the importance of education. Regardless of your wealth, your knowledge can never be taken from you,” says Majumdar, now professor emerita in McMaster’s School of Nursing and Faculty of Social Sciences.

She also credits her mother, who didn’t have the opportunity to be formally educated but who expected her daughters to be. “She was a feminist before the term was coined.”

Like Peter in Delhi so many years before, Majumdar has made sure to give a financial boost to younger generations. A long-time donor to Mac, she established the Charu Late Bhaduri Scholarship in Nursing in honour of her late mother. The scholarship helps nursing students complete a term studying and practising abroad.

Majumdar is now extending her remarkable legacy through a gift of life insurance, of which McMaster is the owner and beneficiary. This planned gift will support student travel bursaries, so that those without the financial means will be able to travel for their research projects.

A fitting legacy, given that Majumdar has travelled to 69 countries. She continues to travel in her retirement — to research, lecture, consult and organize international conferences in developing countries, where McMaster students can present their papers and gain international experience.

“When I assigned my life insurance benefit to McMaster, I explained my decision to both my sons,” says Majumdar. “I told them the most important gift that my husband and I have been able to give them is education.” Her husband, along with their two sons and their spouses, joined with her to donate to the fund. This planned gift will honour all that McMaster has allowed her and her family to accomplish.

“As a McMaster faculty member, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to educate many generations of students,” she says.

“My gift of life insurance will support many more generations of learners in their education at Mac.

A life insurance policy is one form of “planned gift” or “legacy gift”— convenient, affordable and tax-smart ways to make a strategic donation tailored to your goals, needs and timeline.

To learn more about creating your legacy at McMaster, contact Tanya Hannah Rumble ’08, CFRE at rumbleth@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140, ext. 21990.