Dr. Rafat Ansari

Dr. Rafat Ansari, MD, along with his wife, Dr. Zoreen Ansari, are well-known for their medical expertise and exceptional philanthropic efforts, including crossing religious lines as Muslims to give $15 million to Notre Dame University, a Catholic institution for religious studies.

Dr. Ansari, a renowned oncologist, earned his medical degree from Liaquat Medical College and the University of Sindh in Pakistan. Dr. Ansari later on completed a fellowship in medical oncology and haematology at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. When their youngest daughter Sonya was diagnosed with Autism, the Ansaris travelled the country in search of help. In this trying time, they found themselves thinking about those without the education and resources that they had, and decided to serve as benefactors of what is now known as the Sonya Ansari Center for Autism in South Bend, Indiana. The Center provides a range of services, resources and training for professionals, educators and parents who face the daily realities of autism; as well as welcoming children, teens and adults to their facilities to avail support services.

As immigrants from Pakistan, they balance their heritage alongside their embodiment of true American patriots and civic leaders through community service and philanthropic activities.  Their family spent the better part of 2017 in the limelight for their generous donation to Notre Dame University, which founded the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion. The Ansari Institute aims to collectively diminish tension between the world’s religions, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and other widely practiced faiths. The Institute’s primary goal is to promote integral human development and the idea of human flourishing with the acknowledgement of cultural richness and diversity of thought. The Institute embodies the values of the University of Notre Dame; educating their students to be global citizens, through the education of varying social, political, and religious customs and norms.