Endowment Funds

Dr. David Symington Memorial Fund

Picture of Doctor David Symington

SYMINGTON, Dr. David Cambidge
Emeritus Professor at Queen's University

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, David graduated from the University of Glasgow medical school in 1951 and completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in London, England in 1955. David, along with his wife, Evelyn and three children at that time emigrated to Vancouver in 1957 where he was the Assistant Medical Director at the G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre and Greater Vancouver Cerebral Palsy Clinic. The family moved to Seattle, Washington in 1962 where David was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Washington. He was recruited in 1966 by Queen's University to establish the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He was the Founding Professor and Head of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Queen's University and the Founding Director of the Regional Rehabilitation Centre for Eastern Ontario from 1966 until 1982. During this time, he initiated and established teaching programs at Queen's University in occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

Throughout his career he was involved in numerous committees locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, including being a member of the World Health Organization, Expert Advisory Panel on Rehabilitation, and the National Research Council of Canada. He was invited as a visiting professor, lecturer and keynote speaker by numerous universities and hospitals across Canada and the United States and numerous countries including Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Scotland, Portugal, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Estonia and New Zealand. His publications include 1 book, 19 journal articles, and over 50 briefs and monographs. He was a leader in vocational rehabilitation services and strongly believed in and advocated for giving people with disabilities support in returning to independence and community living. "People with disabilities need a hand up, not a handout" was his common refrain.

David always had a twinkle in his eye and a warm and welcoming personality. He was quick to laugh, take you for a turn on the dance floor, sit and have a long chat, sing you a song, quote poetry, or go for long walks (in any weather). He had a fierce interest in the well-being of others, was a man of great intelligence and wisdom, generosity, magnanimity, adventurous spirit, courage, moral and ethical clarity and compassion. David loved to garden, read voraciously, was always ready for a good meal, and for many years had a dog by his side.

He was a visionary and global leader in the practice and teaching of Rehabilitation Medicine. He was well respected by his students, patients, staff, and friends and deeply loved by his 6 children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. An absolute treasure to all he met.