Concordia University

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Honorary degree citation - Donald McNaughton*

By: Terry Fancott, June 2007

Mr. Chancellor, it is an honour for me to present to you Mr. Don McNaughton: A corporate executive and community. leader with ties to Concordia spanning more than 50 years.

I first met Don McNaughton in 1985, when I joined the Board of Governors as a freshly elected faculty member for Engineering and Computer Science. In those days, students were quiet and well-behaved, while faculty members were the ones raising tough and sometimes embarrassing questions for the rector. As Chair of the Board, Mr. McNaughton distinguished himself by his outstanding diplomacy and wisdom, and soon won us over by his reassuring presence and his kind response to our concerns. To this day, he remains in my vision as larger than life, a leader, and a symbol of the greatness that is destined for our growing university.

Don McNaughton showed his energy as a leader at an early age. While still a scholar himself he was cutting his teeth as advertising and business manager of the Loyola News, a student newspaper that served Loyola College, one of Concordia's two founding institutions.

That practical training was but a taste of the successful career he'd forge as the mastermind behind theadvertising and marketing campaigns of several major brands. By 1963, he joined Schenley Canada as director of advertising. His mandate with the spirits giant included coordinating an historic Canadian Football League (CFL) prize - The Schenley Outstanding Football Player Awards.

At Schenley, Don McNaughton quickly rose to prominence and by 1969 he was named company president. He followed up as Schenley president and CEO from 1972 to 1985 and Schenley chairman from 1986 to 1989. As company ambassador it was his responsibility to present the football awards he'd coordinated two decades before. In acknowledgement of his role in supporting Canadian professional football, the CFL Hall of Fame inducted Don McNaughton as a CFL Builder in 1994.

Since helping his alma mater was of paramount importance, Don McNaughton passed from corporate to university boardroom. He was a unifying voice in academia and it wasn't surprising when he was recruited from the Loyola College Board of Trustees in 1971 to join the committee that negotiated the merger between Loyola and Sir George Williams University.

His leadership skills made Don McNaughton a natural candidate to join the Concordia University Board of Governors, where he served from 1974 to 1999. He gave an impressive twenty-six years to the Board and served as the body's chair from 1981 to 1987. Upon his retirement, his contribution was recognized when he was named Governor Emeritus.

Don McNaughton's passion for Concordia also extended to other University sectors. From 1983 to 1988, he was volunteer Chair of the Capital Campaign Stewardship Committee. Other positions he held included charter member of the Rector's Circle; Director of the Loyola Foundation; member of the Advancement Committee of the Board of Governors; President and Director of the Loyola Alumni Association; member of the Loyola Medal Committee; and member of several fundraising committees.

In 1991 Don McNaughton was rewarded for his dedication with the Loyola Medal - the highest prize awarded by Concordia to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to society.

Don McNaughton is a practical, no-nonsense businessman. But he also believes that in order to succeed, individuals require a sense of community and respect for their fellow man. Therefore, in 2005, he and his wife established the Donald W. McNaughton Fund for Theological Studies. The fund is used to offset the cost of a range of pastoral activities such as prison visits, providing spiritual advising to the elderly, and the like, that the student engages in. The bursary is available to both undergraduate and graduate theology students. As a businessman Don McNaughton helped corporations grow. As a Concordia volunteer, he's been tireless in helping the University move forward with its dynamic mission.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it my privilege and honour to present to you Don McNaughton so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

 

* deceased

 

 

 

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