Dalton McGuinty receives prestigious David C. Smith Award from COU

Former Ontario Premier honoured for contributions to postsecondary sector

TORONTO, Oct. 31, 2013 /CNW/ - Yesterday evening, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) presented the prestigious David C. Smith Award to Dalton McGuinty, the former Premier of Ontario, for his outstanding contributions to higher education and research in Canada.

"It was an honour to present this award to Dalton, whose impact on the postsecondary sector in Ontario will be felt for years to come," says Max Blouw, Chair of COU and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. "Under his leadership, the province of Ontario invested remarkably in postsecondary education and student aid."

Under the McGuinty government, 200,000 more student spaces were created at postsecondary institutions; $4 billion was invested in new classrooms, libraries and labs; and $1.5 billion went directly to financial support for students. McGuinty also created the first stand-alone Ministry of Research and Innovation in 2005 and became its first Minister, recognizing the importance of research to Ontario's economic competitiveness.

"A quality education isn't just a means to a good job, but to a great quality of life," says McGuinty. "And when our universities succeed, we all succeed. That's why I made education my number-one priority in government, and also why I am humbled by this honour from the postsecondary community."

Each award recipient gives a speech on a subject related to public policy and scholarship in higher education in Canada. During this year's award ceremony, McGuinty delivered a thought-provoking address on the impact universities are having on the economy by teaching entrepreneurship. It will be posted on the COU website.

"Making higher education a top priority is critical to securing the economic success of our province," says COU President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson. "During his prolific career, Dalton was a champion of postsecondary education and university research, contributing greatly to Ontario's universities and our future leaders."

Previous award recipients include the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada; Dr. Martha Piper, former President of the University of British Columbia; Don Drummond, former Chief Economist with TD Bank; and Rob Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto.

This award was established in 2000 and named to celebrate the late Dr. David C. Smith, who contributed enormously to both scholarship and public policy in higher education as the Principal of Queen's University and in subsequent advisory work on behalf of the sector.

Watch Dalton's speech.

Read more about the David C. Smith Award.

Quick Facts:

  • David C. Smith was the Principal of Queen's University from 1984 to 1994 and the Head of the Department of Economics from 1968 to 1981.

  • Dalton McGuinty has received the 12th annual David C. Smith Award for outstanding contributions to higher education and research in Canada.

  • In 2011, McGuinty led the Ontario Liberal Party to an historic third mandate, a first for any Liberal Premier in 125 years.

  • McGuinty has returned to academics as a Fellow at Harvard University's Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs.

  • Last year's award recipient was Dr. Chaviva Hošek, CIFAR President Emeritus.

COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

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Image with caption: "From left: Max Blouw, Chair of COU and President of Wilfrid Laurier University; Bonnie M. Patterson, President and CEO of COU; Reverend Mary Smith; and Dalton McGuinty. (CNW Group/Council of Ontario Universities)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131031_C8833_PHOTO_EN_32765.jpg

SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Wendy McCann 
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations 
Telephone: 416-979-2165 x233 
Cellphone: 647-271-0825 
Email Wendy McCann


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