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Honorary degree citation - Stephen A. Jarislowsky

By: Lawrence Kryzanowski, June 2003

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Stephen A. Jarislowsky, an investment analyst and counselor with a legendary reputation for integrity, sound management and success. Mr. Jarislowsky is also an exceptional civic leader who has championed excellence in education and medicine.

Stephen Jarislowsky was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1925. He spent his formative years in the Netherlands and France, and emigrated to the United States in 1941. He earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, then served in the U.S. Army. After basic military training and Japanese studies, he was assigned to postwar Japan, where he operated as a counter-intelligence officer, tracking black-market racketeers in Tokyo.

He returned to the United States in late 1946, with a fascination with Asian culture that led to a master's degree in Far Eastern studies, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Chicago. He followed this with a master's in business administration from the Harvard Business School, in 1949.

Early in his career, Mr. Jarislowsky worked with Alcan Aluminium, first as an engineer in Kingston, Ontario, then in sales administration and finance at the Montreal office. He subsequently ran a publishing house in New York for a time, before settling back in Montreal in 1955, where he started Jarislowsky, Fraser and Company Limited. In the years since, he has nurtured the firm from an initial $100 equity investment to a multibillion-dollar firm famed in the industry for its excellent research and top performance. He is widely credited with shaping a new approach in Canadian fund management, founded on the concepts of fiduciary responsibility to clients and shareholder democracy, even when that means challenging the corporate establishment.

Mr. Jarislowsky has led a very principled career and is considered a hero to many small investors in Canada, and an undisputed leader among money managers. His accomplishments in the corporate world are paralleled by contributions in civic spheres.

He is a great supporter of universities across Canada, including Concordia University. With his wife, he established the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, inaugurated in the year 2000. The endowment also funded the creation of a research chair in art history. The institute is already energizing the field of Canadian art history and fostering a richer understanding of Canadian visual culture of all eras. Mr. Jarislowsky has supported numerous research chairs at Canadian universities, in areas ranging from international business management, environment and health, and biotechnology, to the study of democracy. This vital support will ensure the continuity of innovative research and development, while helping retain the country's best minds.

Mr. Jarislowsky participates in close to a dozen civic, charitable and corporate boards. In all these spheres, he is admired as a selfless, forthright citizen of the highest integrity. His acumen and counsel are widely respected, and his practical idealism inspires many. He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Quebec.

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

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