Dalin Jameson considers himself “lucky” to have seen so much over a quarter century at Western.
“I worked with three presidents and three provosts, and they are very different people, all of them. Their challenges were different, their interests were different and their skill sets were different,” recalled the former Executive Assistant to the President and Provost, who actually began as a part-time faculty member in the Department of English.
Retired in 2009, Jameson’s contributions to the growth and advancement of Western have earned him the third annual President’s Medal for Distinguished Service, presented as part of Western’s 307th Convocation during the June 21 morning ceremony. Western President Amit Chakma made the announcement at university Senate Friday.
“The breadth of his impact can be illustrated by his impressive depth of institutional knowledge, experience and memory,” said Malcolm Ruddock, who followed Jameson in his role at the president’s side. “He served as a senior member in the administrations of three presidents, providing them each with a wide range of advice and support on complex matters related to university governance and administration.”
Jameson was described by provosts he served under as “a rare individual who embraces fully the role of unselfish service to others” and “a skilled and knowledgeable wordsmith keenly attuned to the power of words and the best approaches to problem-solving that respect the dignity and legitimate interests of all.”
Selected by Western’s Honorary Degrees Committee, President’s Medal winners 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 institution. The award primarily recognizes administrative staff, but faculty may also be recognized for work or achievements not normally covered by the professor emeritus designation or other service awards already in place.
Jameson is the third winner of the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. Previous winners of the award include Jan Van Fleet, former University Senate and Board of Governors Secretary, in 2014 and Alan Noon, longtime Media Specialist in Photography, in 2015.
A friendship with then-English Department Chair Tom Collins, who later became provost, turned into a new opportunity for Jameson as Collins asked him to join him in the administrative offices.
“I think he saw a potential fit. Turns out, it was a wonderful fit for both of us. It looked challenging in an entirely different way – and it was,” Jameson said. “I got to work with particularly outstanding people I wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to do so.”
Ruddock said, despite the many important matters to which Jameson was required to turn his time, attention and skills as a writer and senior adviser, he always found time to help when needed.
From lending his editorial expertise to reports drafted by others to hand-delivering confidential packages across campus, to guiding personal tours of campus for dignitaries and guests, to cleaning up after the countless meetings he attended, Jameson “was recognized and respected by his peers as someone who would never turn down a request when called upon for assistance – no matter how menial the task might be.”
Jameson served as Executive Secretary for the Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Education in 2007, a body that created the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. He also played a role in many of the university’s critical documents, including multiple Strategic Plans and the Campus Master Space Plan.
In 2009, Jameson received the Western Award of Excellence, one of the highest honours bestowed by the university upon administrative staff members.
“The greatest satisfaction for me is I have been given the privilege to work with people I respect and admire and whose values I share. How many people can say that over their entire working career?” Jameson said. “The people change, but the values and direction don’t change. I have been able, in some way, to help (presidents/provosts) toward their aspirations. They allowed me to do things that were creative and innovative, and that’s what they wanted.”