H. Ian Macdonald receives major public administration award

H. Ian Macdonald, president emeritus of York University, has received one of the top American honours for his long and distinguished record of public service. Macdonald is the recipient of the prestigious Senator Peter Boorsma Award for 2006 from the South Eastern Conference for Public Administration (SECOPA).

Right: Peter Boorsma (left) presents the Senator Peter Boorsma Award for 2006 to York President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald during the South Eastern Conference for Public Administration in September

The award recognizes an individual with a consistent record of involvement and efforts to transfer best practices and public administration theory from one country to another. The recipient must have a record of facilitating the international exchange of knowledge and administrative practices that foster better performance in the public sector.

Past recipients include the president of the Korean Institute of Public Administration; the policy advisor to the Greek Minister of Interior & Public Administration, and the past president of the American Society for Public Administration. Professor Macdonald is the first Canadian to receive the honour.

The award was presented to Macdonald during SECOPA’s 2006 conference held in Athens, Georgia, Sept. 27 to 30. It was given to Macdonald by Boorsma, a public finance professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and former Chair of the Dutch Senate Finance Committee and first vice-president of the Dutch Senate.

Like the Vanier Medal in Canada, which Macdonald received in 2000 from the Institute for Public Administration in Canada, this award is the leading distinction of the American Society for Public Administration.

In his acceptance speech, Macdonald noted the key importance of close co-operation between Canada and the US, and the increasing importance of the public service both in Canada and the US. He suggested the motto for the public service might well be: “Live as if you will die tomorrow; work as if you will live forever.” Macdonald stated the public service must continue to work in the best interests of society in the long run.

SECOPA is a regional section of the American Society for Public Administration, a national professional organization of public and private nonprofit administrators and academicians.

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.

Macdonald is an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome and Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning.

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.