U of G Awards Outstanding Leader Award To Frank McKenna

September 12, 2007 - News Release

The University of Guelph's Centre for Studies in Leadership (CSL) has honoured Frank McKenna, the former premier of New Brunswick and ambassador to the United States, with its Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award.

McKenna, the deputy chair of the TD Bank Financial Group, is the first person to receive the honour since it was created and first awarded in 2006 to Lincoln Alexander, who served as Guelph's chancellor for an unprecedented 15 years and is now University chancellor emeritus.

The now-annual award is given to someone who has embodied and demonstrated exceptional leadership that is aligned with the CSL's core values of service, advocacy, collaboration, learning and scholarship.

Alexander, along with president Alastair Summerlee, presented the honour to McKenna today during a special event on campus. Calling his leadership visionary and his accomplishments hallmark, Alexander said he was "delighted" to pass his award on to McKenna.

In turn, McKenna said he was overwhelmed by the honour, calling Alexander an exemplary leader who served his country during times of war and peace. "I am very deeply moved to be the first person after Lincoln to receive this award."

He then delivered an inspiring and passionate speech, in which he said leadership is hard to define. "It's like love: If you are in it, you see and know you are in it. I know when I see leadership, but I find it difficult to describe." He went on to identify some of Canada's and history's great leaders and explained how "soaring rhetoric" and specific events helped make them successful.

CSL director Michael Cox said McKenna was selected for the award because of the breadth and scope of his advocacy and leadership roles and for his commitment to public service and ethical governance,

"He is an ideal recipient for this award,"said Cox. Specifically, he cited McKenna's advocacy roles during his early career as a defence lawyer, his leadership during the early transformation of higher education delivery through networked learning, his collaboration with businesses to create jobs for the people of New Brunswick and his work to depoliticize the public service in the province.

McKenna began his professional career as a lawyer in 1974. He was elected to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly in 1982 and became leader of his party in 1984. He served as premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997 and was appointed Canada's ambassador to the United States in 2000, serving until 2006.

He was chair of the board of CanWest Global and has served on the boards of a number of North American corporations, including Canadian Natural Resources, General Motors, Noranda and Shoppers Drug Mart. He has been a member of numerous advisory boards and served on the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which has oversight responsibilities for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

McKenna has also volunteered with a number of organizations, including the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Canadian Unity Council, and the National Adult Literacy Database.
He has received numerous awards, including an Award of Distinction and an Award for Government Service from the Canadian Advanced Technology Association, The Canadian Association of University Continuing Education Award of Recognition, Economic Developer of the Year and the Vanier Award for Outstanding Young Canadians.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree and law degree from New Brunswick University and has received numerous honorary degrees from Canadian universities.

Established in 2003, the CSL undertakes and promotes research on leadership issues, develops educational programs for leadership development and participates in community outreach and public-private sector partnership activities. It also brings together the University’s interdisciplinary research expertise and programming, including the College of Management and Economic's master’s degree in leadership studies.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338 or Deirdre Healey, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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