Private and public sector donations will support the creation of a new $2 million academic chair at Memorial University focusing on culture change and the strategies required to affect immigration integration and retention.
The Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Culture Change in Rapidly Developing Modern Societies was established at Memorial through a $1 million donation from the Montreal-based Stephen Jarislowsky Foundation, and a $500,000 commitment from Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, a local philanthropist. This is the Jarislowsky Foundations first-ever contribution to Memorial, though it has an impressive record of significant contributions to several other universities across the country. The chair also marks the largest philanthropic gift made by Ms. Gill Ratcliffe to Memorial University. Additionally, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (HRLE), has provided $225,000 in support.
Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly entering a new stage in its history by embarking on major growth and development, said Mr. Jarislowsky. This requires the attraction of immigrants and the return of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as well as the internal development of the provinces human asset. Decisions as to the best strategy require many inputs best centered at Memorial University. As such, this chair will become central and, with the right chair holder, Memorial will become a Centre of Excellence mobilizing interdisciplinary coordination toward the goal of rapid rational development.
The specialized research and teaching professorship will be anchored in Memorials Faculty of Arts and operate with five-year terms. The academic recruited to the chair will develop linkages with other departments, institutes, and universities in order to promote interdisciplinary world-class research and integration in this new field. In the chair holders work, broader understanding of cultural issues will be fostered through the engagement of policy makers and the public.
When I was made aware of the possibility of a Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Culture Change in Rapidly Developing Modern Societies I was struck by how timely this new Chair would be, said Ms. Gill Ratcliffe. Upon further discussion with MUN officials, I was further impressed and heartened to learn that the professorship would be reaching out to other departments, institutes and universities, as well as policy makers and members of the community. It was for these reasons that I am very pleased to be a part of this exciting and important venture."
Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorials president and vice-chancellor, said the philanthropic support of foundations and individuals enables Memorial to facilitate invaluable research opportunities and to further advance faculty objectives. The Faculty of Arts has established a multi-disciplinary group of researchers with expertise in areas such as immigration, indigenous peoples, nationalism, cultural and linguistic groups, ethnic communities, inter-group attitudes and relations, and Newfoundland and Labrador history and public policy, said Dr. Kachanoski. Through these generous donations, the Faculty of Arts within Memorial will strengthen its role as an integral contributor to the social, cultural and economic development of the province.
Research undertaken by the chair will assist the provincial government in advancing its immigration strategy. According to Census 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador welcomed 8,380 immigrants (a slight increase from 2001), with more than 60 per cent residing in St. Johns.
Through this chairs research, the university will inform and help guide the means by which the province recruits and integrates newcomers into the social and economic life of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Susan Sullivan, minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. The Provincial Government is pleased to support this valuable new means to conduct research and inform future planning.
Funds are still being raised to acquire an additional $275,000 to support the chair. A search committee has been appointed by the Faculty of Arts to identify possible candidates for the positions initial five-year term.
ABOUT STEPHEN A. JARISLOWSKY
Stephen A. Jarislowsky was born in Berlin, Germany in 1925. He attended public and high school in the Netherlands and France and then immigrated to the United States in 1941. He attended preparatory school in Asheville, North Carolina, studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University and then served in the U.S. Army. He finished basic training and studied Japanese at the University of Chicago prior to serving in Counter-Intelligence in Japan after the War.
On return to the United States in 1946, he returned to the University of Chicago, graduating with an MA and Phi Beta Kappa Honours. He followed this with MBA studies at Harvard Business School, graduating in 1949 with distinction.
He worked three years with Alcan Aluminium in Montreal and briefly returned to the United States prior to starting Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited in June of 1955 in Montreal. Now chairman and chief executive officer and former president of the firm, for 53 years he has directed the growth of the company to become one of the largest and most successful investment management firms in Canada.
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officier de LOrdre National du Québec. Directorships during his lifetime of some 30 companies include SNC-Lavalin, Canadian Marconi, Abitibi Consolidated, Southam, Unimedia, The Daily Telegraph (UK), Didier Refractories, Swiss Bank Corporation, Canon Canada, Velan Inc., and Chairman of Goodfellow Inc.
Mr. Jarislowsky has been active in other corporations, participated in educational, cultural and charitable activities of many kinds; has endowed 20 University Chairs and contributes frequently to television, radio, magazines and newspapers. He is the author of The Investment Zoo which was published in 2005.
ABOUT ELINOR GILL RATCLIFFE
Elinor Gill Ratcliffe is known as a humanist, builder, dreamer, visionary and philanthropist. First and foremost, however, she is a proud descendant of generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. She grew up in St. Johns where she continues to maintain a home. In 1974, she moved to Ontario where she met and married Edward Ratcliffe, founder of Arriscraft International. They shared a passion for helping the disadvantaged and, through their company, funded numerous projects in Canada and other parts of the world. She continues to do so since her husbands death in 2002. Ms. Gill Ratcliffe graduated from Bishop Spencer College and continued her education in various institutions over the years. In honour of her alma mater and her classmates, she donated a bronze statue of a schoolgirl to commemorate the history of Bishop Spencer College and other girls schools of that era. Since then, she has also donated a sculpture "The Rower," located at Quidi Vidi Lake, which honours the Royal St. Johns Regatta. Ms. Gill Ratcliffe has also been involved with, and supported, various organizations and projects within the province. She has provided start up funding for the Send Them Back Smiling Project of the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland and Labrador for the purchase of school supplies and has donated to The Bowring Park Foundation for the reconstruction of the duck pond. She is also a benefactor to The Rooms, the reconstruction of Fort Amherst, as well as the George Street United Church soup kitchen project, just to highlight a few. She has gained distinction by her genuine interest in and support of local initiatives, as well as her constant efforts to enrich the cultural heritage of her birthplace. Ms. Gill Ratcliffe is a member of both The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador and The Order of Canada.