Jack Austin awarded honorary degree by SFU

Jun 06, 2017


Jack Austin receives his honorary degree from SFU at the summer 2017 convocation ceremony.

The Hon. Jacob (Jack) Austin, retired Canadian senator and former federal cabinet minister, was presented with an honorary degree by Simon Fraser University at the summer convocation ceremony, held on June 6, 2017. He received a Doctor of Laws degree from the Beedie School of Business.

“I am honoured to be accepted as an Alumnus and to be a member of the class of 2017,” says Austin. “I am excited to join in supporting the future work of this great university through education, to advance our human well-being.

“I have watched with profound admiration how Simon Fraser University, which was created in my lifetime, has grown over the past 50 years to recognition as a leading educational institution in Canada and around the world. Its faculty and students are advancing knowledge in many disciplines and actively engaging with our own community, the nation and internationally.”

Austin, who jointly created SFU’s Jack Austin Centre for Asian Business Studies, was recognized for his keen vision and leadership, and his achievements in shaping Canadian legislation and international relations between Canada and China.

“Jack is a remarkable leader who has made a profound contribution, not only to business education here at Beedie, but to Canadian legislation, international business and trade, and public life,” says Ali Dastmalchian, Dean of the Beedie School of Business.

“His honorary degree is richly deserved and it gives me great pleasure that SFU is making this formal recognition of our gratitude.”

Austin has held three illustrious careers: in law, business and federal politics. He is best known for his keen vision and leadership as a federal cabinet minister and senator. His legacy includes significant contributions to important Canadian legislation, including the Canada Health Act, and the Nisga’a Final Agreement—the first modern Aboriginal land settlement and self-government treaty.

He held federal responsibility for Expo ’86 and the Canada Development Corporation, and was a member of the first official Canadian delegation to visit China. He has maintained a long business association in Asia, and served as president of the Canada China Business Council. He jointly created the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at SFU, and was a key player in establishing the Asia Pacific Foundation.

“Jack has been a consistent source of inspiration and wisdom,” says Sudheer Gupta, Professor at Beedie School of Business and Director of the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies.

“Jack has led the way in bringing academia, policy and practice together to facilitate insightful debate, informed analysis, and carefully crafted solutions to some of the society’s most vexing challenges. Jack has laid the foundation for the Beedie School and SFU to take the lead on defining Canada-Asia relations, and to educate next generation of scholars and leaders who will work as tirelessly as Jack to make the world a better place.”