H. Ian Macdonald receives two honours

H. Ian Macdonald, president emeritus of York University, recently received two significant awards in recognition of his long-lasting and diverse record of public service.

Right: H. Ian Macdonald

Over 40 years ago, Macdonald played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Canadian Association for The Club of Rome. Now, in recognition of his participation in projects and purposes essential to the preservation of the planet, its resources and the well-being of mankind, he has been elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome.

The Club of Rome is a global think tank and centre of innovation and initiative. As a non-profit, non-governmental organization, it brings together scientists, economists, businessmen, international servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all.

Its mission is to act as a global catalyst of change that is free of any political, ideological or business interest. The Club of Rome contributes to the solution of what it calls the world problematique, the complex set of the most crucial problems – political, social, economic, technological, environmental, psychological and cultural – facing humanity.

Macdonald says he is honoured by this recognition accorded to him. “I am delighted. In those days, a group of us liked to think that we were farsighted and we questioned what the world would do when the non-renewable resources ran out,” said Macdonald. “We felt that it would limit growth if we kept on going and one day we would have a situation that was out of control. Our discussions were not too far off base when you consider what is happening today with Middle Eastern oil.”

In addition to his work with The Club of Rome, Macdonald was also very active on the international front with the Commonwealth of Learning. From 1994 to 2003, Macdonald was the volunteer chairman of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and worked to bring distance education and open learning to the 54 member nations of the Commonwealth.

In Dunedin, New Zealand on July 6, 2004, at the Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum of Open Learning, Macdonald was given the COL’s highest honour – he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning. The citation read: “His commitment to the COL’s work was unwavering and his energies on its behalf unflagging. He has been an eloquent advocate of open and distance learning and a stalwart supporter of the Commonwealth of Learning.” During the forum, Macdonald also delivered a paper surveying a wide range of educational issues titled “Academic Objectives, Occupational Preparation and the Learning Process: Strategies and Policies for the Future.”

More about H. Ian Macdonald

Macdonald, who served as York’s third president and vice-chancellor from 1974 to 1985, is director of the Master of Public Administration Program and a professor of economics and public policy in the Schulich School of Business.

Macdonald has had a distinguished career, not only in academia, but also in government, the private sector, international agencies, the theatre and sport. His contributions to international education have included fundraising for Commonwealth universities. He has undertaken responsibilities for the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education, the International Association of Universities, the North-South Institute and the World University Service of Canada.

Among Macdonald’s many honours and awards are a Rhodes scholarship, Vanier Medal, Citation of Merit from the Court of Canadian Citizenship, Award of Merit of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Centennial Medal, Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal, Governor General’s Medal, Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and his place in the Order of Canada as an Officer.