U OF G ENJOYS LEGACY OF PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP
The University of Guelph community is always changing, as graduates leave and new students arrive; always renewing itself, as retirements lead to new faculty and staff; always moving forward through research and scholarship; always improving the educational experience through the infusion of new knowledge and technology. That has been true throughout 150 years of institutional history and will remain true as each new generation of University leaders carries forward the legacy of those who came before.
I often find myself reflecting on the people who have made a difference to the University of Guelph and feel especially privileged to have witnessed the leadership style of chancellor emeritus Lincoln Alexander. A lawyer, politician and former lieutenant-governor of Ontario, he is known throughout Canada for his tremendous legacy of public service. He was U of G chancellor for more than 15 years and remains a role model and inspiration for everyone in the University community.
A lifelong advocate for education, he used his position at Guelph to encourage every new graduate to apply their skills for the betterment of society. He pushed University administrators to increase diversity within the student body and helped us establish a chancellor’s scholarship that has for the last 10 years attracted top students who are aboriginal, persons with a disability or members of a visible minority.
His name also adorns Alexander Hall, our new environmental teaching and learning hub, as well as two high-level University awards: a medal for distinguished service that recognizes campus leaders who contribute to the quality of academic life at U of G, and a leadership award given by the University to Canadians whose accomplishments emphasize the values of learning, collaboration, advocacy and service. Values inherent in Linc’s own legacy.
His 90th birthday party in January attracted many admirers who have themselves left important legacies at the University of Guelph. I think of former president Bill Winegard, who guided the campus through the early years of university status, and my immediate predecessor, Mordechai Rozanski, who led a modern University of Guelph through a time of significant growth in reputation, research funding and the involvement of students in university governance.
Birthday guests included other men and women whose efforts are continuing to shape the University of Guelph: administrators, governors and chancellors who developed U of G into a world-class educational institution; faculty, staff and alumni who are advancing the University’s reputation; students who improve the campus environment; and friends, public servants and donors who provide funding, goodw
ll and advocacy for Guelph’s teaching and research priorities.
These are important legacies for the University. Yet I write this knowing that these supporters give their talents, their time and their money not for the sake of the institution itself but for the students it educates and the knowledge it creates. As with our chancellor emeritus, their legacies are defined by what is most important in their lives and reflect their hopes for the future.
The University of Guelph has proven to be a valuable partner for those who want to better the world in which they live. This has never been more evident than during the first months of The BetterPlanet Project. U of G faculty, staff, students, alumni and volunteers have been recognized for their ongoing efforts to improve the lives of other people. Their teaching and scholarship, research and community service have been validated by donations from more than 53,000 individuals and organizations.
Large gifts or small monthly pledges, each one enriches our shared legacy of education and service – a legacy strengthened over time by progressive leaders, talented scholars and thoughtful donors working together to advance the University’s long-term mission.