© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Dr. Don MacDougall, centre, new chancellor of UPEI, receives his robes of office from UPEI president Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, left and William Andrew, outgoing chancellor. MacDougall was installed during a ceremony Sunday. Far left is Lt. Gov. Frank Lewis.
Island native has long history of success in Canadian business, sports endeavours
The University of Prince Edward Island is indeed fortunate to have Don McDougall installed as the eighth chancellor in the 45-year history of the institution. Each time the position comes open, we wonder how can UPEI possibly find a successor to fill the huge shoes of the former holder of this prestigious office. Yet each time, the university is able to find a worthy and suitable replacement.
Mr. McDougall became well known across Canada when, as president of Labatt Breweries in the early 1970s, he was instrumental in bringing major league baseball to Toronto. At first, it appeared that Toronto was going to have the San Francisco Giants relocate, a National League team, to create a natural rivalry with the established Montreal Expos.
When San Francisco was able to retain the Giants, Mr. McDougall determinedly pushed ahead and was able to get an expansion American League franchise for Toronto. The team won two World Series titles and made baseball a phenomenal success in the city and across Canada.
One could say that fate brought Mr. McDougall and Major League Baseball together. He went to London to complete his master of business administration degree in 1961, the city where Labatt Breweries was founded more than a century earlier. He spent the next 12 years in managerial positions with Labatt, eventually serving as president from 1973–79. Mr. McDougall was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, largely because of his Blue Jays connections but also for supporting amateur baseball in London and southern Ontario.
The West Prince native met his wife Marion at St. Dunstan’s University some 50 years ago where both were classmates. Like any smart Islander, the first person the new chancellor thanked was his wife for her positive influence on him. He never forgot his Island roots, maintaining a summer home on P.E.I. and supporting various P.E.I. organizations.
While the opportunity to serve as a volunteer chancellor helps repay a debt of gratitude to the university, Mr. McDougall has long been a good friend to UPEI. He was awarded an honourary doctorate in 1978, and thanks to their tremendous contribution, the Don and Marion McDougall Hall was named in their honour in 2008, housing the Centre for Lifelong Learning, UPEI’s School of Business, and Cooperative Education programs.
McDougall has also left his mark on Summerside, after the federal government recruited him to transition the old air base into a private sector development, the successful start of Summerside’s aerospace industry which today employs more than 1,000 people.
UPEI president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said the new chancellor is experienced at being a champion of big ideas and will provide insight and leadership in designing UPEI’s future. As chancellor, McDougall will also act as a liaison between the university and the Prince Edward Island community. With his wide background in sports, Mr. McDougall is ideally suited to help restore UPEI to its former position as a hockey, basketball and soccer power. Those sports have been stagnant or in decline for more than 15 years.
It’s time to party on
The Guardian’s entertainment columnist Todd MacLean said it best when he declared that P.E.I. is in urgent need of a good party to shake off the blues from a long, cold, dreary winter. And what better way than to get out and enjoy the music from 350 artists who are about to invade the province this week for the East Coast Music Awards. Things will be rocking in Charlottetown and area starting Wednesday through Sunday night. There is sure to be music and entertainment at most clubs and pubs into the wee hours. A hearty P.E.I. welcome to all artists and industry delegates. Good luck to all the ECMA nominees, have a great time and let’s party on, eh.