Van Fleet awarded President’s Medal for Distinguished Service

Jan Van Fleet, former university Senate and Board of Governors secretary, will be awarded the first President’s Medal for Distinguished Service at Western’s 303rd convocation ceremony.

Chancellor Emeritus John Thompson will present the award to Van Fleet at 10 a.m. Monday, June 16.

The medal recognizes those individuals who have provided exemplary service to the university over a sustained period of time, over and above the normal requirements of their positions.

Van Fleet had a distinguished career at Western serving in several roles beginning in 1971, including secretary of Senate (1980-2005), and as secretary of the Board and university secretary (1983-2005).

“Jan’s tireless service to Western contributed in countless ways to enhancing the university’s operations, research function and the educational experience we offer our students,” Western President Amit Chakma said. “We offer her our sincere gratitude and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

As secretary to the Senate and Board, Van Fleet facilitated, and often improved, countless resolutions that made Western a better place for students, staff, faculty and the community.  She also made an important impact on the national stage, as a widely admired leader of senate and board secretaries in Canada.

“During her time at Western, there was no part of the university that did not benefit from her leadership, dedication and energy,” said former Western President Paul Davenport, who worked with Van Fleet from 1994-2005. “Jan has a special talent for listening to divergent opinions, finding middle ground and bringing people together.”

Van Fleet was known to her Western colleagues to be extremely competent and fair, and her ability to work with students and others who wanted to ask questions or formulate resolutions was held in the highest regard, the former president said.

“Jan had a genius for seeing the big picture and at the same time wrestling with the countless details in the proposals coming to the governing bodies,” Davenport continued.  “She was a selfless person, working constantly on behalf of others, in a common effort to make Western a better place to learn, explore and serve the community.”

Recipients of the medal are selected by Western’s Honorary Degrees Committee.

Nominees for the award must have been retired/resigned from the university in any capacity (including Board or Senate membership) for at least one year prior to consideration and have no ongoing formal relationship with the university. The award is intended primarily to recognize administrative staff, but faculty may also be recognized for work or achievements that would not normally be covered by the professor emeritus designation or other service awards already in place.