Jackson preaches ‘resilience, courage and persistence – in everything’

Canada's Roger Jackson and George Hungerford celebrate their gold medal win in the rowing event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Canadian Press // Specail to Western newsCanada’s Roger Jackson and George Hungerford celebrate their gold medal win in the rowing event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

There were moments in training where “literally dying would have been a pleasure” for Roger Jackson, BA’63.

Still, that painful perseverance paid off for the rower in 1964, when the Western alumnus took home gold in the Summer Olympics in men’s pairs, with partner George Hungerford. Theirs was the only gold for Canada that year.

JACKSON

JACKSON

“Rowing is a hard, hard sport. It requires a lot of training and dedication, and through that, I learned how hard you have to work, if you really want to achieve something,” Jackson said.

“You have to go beyond not just the feeling you don’t want to do (the work), but also the mode where you think you can’t do anywhere near what is being asked. You have to learn that you can (do it).”

Jackson will be one of 14 distinguished individuals to receive honorary degrees when Western hosts its 305th Convocation, June 9-17.

The gold medal is only a small sampling of Jackson’s distinguished career. After graduating Western, his studies took him to the University of British Columbia for graduate work, and to Denmark for postdoctorate training. He returned to Canada and in the 1970s, started his career by directing Canada’s federal sports programming.

In 1978, Jackson took on the role of dean at the University of Calgary’s fledgling Faculty of Physical Education, an entity he bolstered, raising nearly $100 million in support and brining in hundreds of graduate students and researchers during his decade on campus. He is the founding director of the university’s Sports Medicine Centre.

“The greatest achievement was changing the faculty from being a very small teacher training program to being a very dynamic research program. When I left, we probably had 150 new research positions, including grad students. When I started, we had zero,” he said.

While at the University of Calgary, Jackson helped the city’s Olympic bid and was actively involved in its preparation for the Games in 1988. He helped London work on its bid in 2012 and recently helped Tokyo. He is now working with Japan in preparation for the 2020 Games. Jackson has also been immensely involved in the world of sport at home, chairing Own the Podium, directing Sport Canada, chairing the Canadian Olympic Committee for three terms, among many other notable accomplishments and positions.

Advocating for Canadian athletes and establishing a supportive training environment for them through Own the Podium is among his points of pride. In supporting our athletes, Jackson said, we recognize the value of sport and the value of hard work.

“I recognized we, as Canadians, could do far better on the international stage than we were doing, only if we had the proper programing, and leadership, and adequate resources to train at a proper level, to achieve world class excellence,” he said.

“The concept of striving for excellence is something that is special, that is culturally important and important for individuals trying to do something to the best of their abilities.”

Prioritizing, valuing and supporting hard work extend beyond the scull for Jackson. We could be talking about a single mom trying to be the best parent she could be, or a student trying to do well in school. What’s important is to recognize that excellence requires hard work and hard work requires support.

And sport embodies this for a nation.

“It makes individuals better, it makes the nation better, to have first-rate people really working hard to be really good at what they do – whether that happens to be teaching, or law, or medicine, or being a good mom, or having good values. It’s about resilience, courage and persistence – in everything,” Jackson explained.

“With the right support and encouragement – when Canadians want to do something extremely difficult, we can do it.”

On June 16, he will be honoured to be recognized by his alma mater.

“London and the Western rowing program contributed to who I am, and what I’ve been able to do in life. Western was where I sort of woke up as a student and as an individual,” Jackson said.

“I made some big changes in my life in university in order to get a broader perspective,” he said of his then newly found interest in Science and rowing. “This (degree) is a great pleasure and very lovely for me.”

Western Convocation ceremonies, featuring addresses by Jackson and his fellow honorary degree recipients, are scheduled for the following days:

Alvin J. Silk
Ivey Business School Master of Business Administration (MBA) Convocation

10 a.m. Friday, June 5
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

An influential scholar and educator in the field of marketing, Western alumnus Alvin J. Silk is internationally recognized for his research on models and measurement systems to support marketing decision making and the economics of the advertising and marketing services industry. Silk is the Lincoln Filene Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School (HBS). As the former head of the HBS marketing unit, Silk introduced “Brand Marketing” as an elective in the MBA program and taught “Research Design and Measurement” in the doctoral program.

Michael Goodchild
10 a.m. Tuesday, June 9

Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)

GOODCHILD

GOODCHILD

Recognized as a global leader in the ever-evolving field of geographic information systems, Michael Goodchild is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The former chair of Western’s Department of Geography, Goodchild won the Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud, considered the Nobel Prize for Geography, in 2007.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
3 p.m. Tuesday, June 9
Doctor of Laws, jure dignitatis (LL.D.)

DOWDESWELL

DOWDESWELL

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell is the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Ms. Dowdeswell is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Ontario. Her accomplished career in both public service and the private sector included serving as an Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations.

Donna Soble Kaufman
10 a.m. Wednesday, June 10

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

KAUFMAN

KAUFMAN

Past Chair of the Board of the Institute of Corporate Directors and the former Chair of TransAlta Corporation, Donna Soble Kaufman launched her career as a broadcast executive with CHCH-TV. A former partner of Stikeman Elliott, she served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service of Canada.

David Mulroney
3 p.m. Wednesday, June 10

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

MULRONEY

MULRONEY

David Mulroney is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. A career Foreign Service officer, he served as Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of China from 2009 to 2012. Prior to his appointment to Beijing, Mulroney was assigned to the Privy Council Office in Ottawa as the Deputy Minister responsible for the Afghanistan Task Force.

Keith L. Moore
10 a.m. Thursday, June 11
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)

A distinguished researcher for more than 60 years, Keith L. Moore is an award-winning teacher of medical and dental students. Moore is an alumnus of Western and a Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Anatomy in the division of  anatomy and Associate Dean of  Basic Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Moore has lectured around the world on topics relating to clinically-oriented embryology and anatomy and has authored 14 medical textbooks, including four international standards.

Robert Birgeneau
3 p.m. Thursday, June 11
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

BIRGENEAU

BIRGENEAU

Previously serving as Chancellor of UC Berkeley, Robert Birgeneau is now the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Professor of Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Public Policy at the top-ranked public university in the United States. The Past President of the University of Toronto, Birgeneau’s research is primarily concerned with the phases and phase transition behavior of novel states of matter.

Bonnie Patterson
10 a.m. Friday, June 12

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

PATTERSON

PATTERSON

Bonnie Patterson has served as President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities since 2009. A Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario for her contributions to postsecondary education, she previously held the post from 1995 to 1998 before becoming the President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University, a position that she held for 11 years. The Western alumna is also the former Dean of Business at Ryerson University.

Pierre Lassonde
3 p.m. Friday, June 12

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

LASSONDE

LASSONDE

Considered a superstar of the resource sector, Pierre Lassonde is co-founder and Chair of the world-class gold royalty and streaming company Franco-Nevada. A member of the Order of Canada, Lassonde is Chair of Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, past Chair of the World Gold Council and author of The Gold Book. A $5-million gift from the Lassonde Family Foundation, the largest gift ever to Western Engineering, supported the construction of the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion.

Berthold Carrière
10 a.m. Monday, June 15

Doctor of Music, honoris causa (D.Mus.)

CARRIERE

CARRIERE

Currently serving as co-music director of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, Berthold Carrière was previously the Director of Music of the Stratford Festival for more than 38 years. Carrière was Musical Director of the Theatre Department at the Banff School of Fine Arts from 1968 to 1970 and studied composition with Arsenio Giron and music history with Philip Downs at Western from 1971 to 1973.

Amartya Sen
3 p.m. Monday, June 15

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

SEN

SEN

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics, Amartya Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. From 1998 to 2004, he was the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has served as President of the American Economic Association, the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, and the International Economic Association.

David Cornhill
10 a.m.
Tuesday, June 16
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

CORNHILL

CORNHILL

David Cornhill is the Chairman and CEO of AltaGas, a company he founded in 1994. Under his leadership, AltaGas has grown from one of Canada’s first midstream energy companies into a $10 billion enterprise. With Cornhill emphasizing the importance of creating social value in the communities where the Calgary-based company operates, AltaGas has created lasting, sustainable, community partnerships across Canada from sea-to-sea-to-sea over the past 21 years.

Roger Jackson
3 p.m. Tuesday, June 16
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

Roger Jackson is a three-time Olympic rower who won gold in the coxless pairs at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo with George Hungerford. From 1976-78, the Western alumnus was the director of Sport Canada, before serving as president of the Canadian Olympic Association from 1982-90. As the chief executive officer of Own the Podium, Jackson helped Canada win a world record number of gold medals at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Judy Erola
10 a.m. Wednesday, June 17

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

EROLA

EROLA

The Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt from 1980 to 1984, Judy Erola was named to Pierre Trudeau’s final Federal Cabinet. A former radio and television personality, Erola was the first woman ever appointed to the Cabinet’s Priorities and Planning Committee and served as Minister responsible for the Status of Women during the negotiations of the equality clause in the Canadian Constitution.

Constance Sugiyama
3 p.m. Wednesday, June 17

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

Constance Sugiyama is the President of ConMark Strategy Inc., providing high level advice and solutions to the public and private sectors. She is also a corporate director and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Ryerson University. She retired from the practice of law in 2012 after a 35-year career on Bay Street where she was recognized as a trailblazer and leading Canadian corporate and mergers and acquisitions lawyer.