SFU celebrates 100th birthday of Dr. A. John Ellis

May 27, 2015


Dr. A. John Ellis.

Dr. A. John Ellis.

On the eve of Simon Fraser University’s own 50th anniversary celebrations, friends of Simon Fraser University and the Beedie School of Business gathered at the Segal Graduate School to celebrate the centenary of long-time supporter Dr. A. John Ellis.

The birthday party, held on May 26, featured a number of guest speakers, including SFU President Andrew Petter, Blaize Reich, Dean of the Beedie School of Business, Jack Blaney, President Emeritus of SFU, and Cathy Daminato, Vice-President of Advancement and Alumni Relations at SFU.

It also featured a speech from the guest of honour himself, during which Ellis commented on subjects such as the secret of his longevity – a daily dose of fresh British Columbian blueberries – and the important role SFU plays in society.

Ellis is the former Vice Chairman and Bank Director of the Bank of Montreal, where he worked at the head office in Vancouver, in what would later become the Segal Graduate School of Business.

In the late 1950s he became involved with the Canada-Japan society, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, and later, the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada. His commitment to the development of Canadian and Japanese relations led to him being honoured with the Order of the Rising Sun in 1989.

His association with SFU dates back to its creation in 1965, where he was appointed as a member of the first University Senate, and was a Convocation Founder. He has continued to be an important advisor to SFU over the years, particularly in regard to the University’s subsequent expansion into downtown Vancouver. For his contributions to SFU, he received an Honorary Doctorate in 1992.

He has also long been a supporter of the Beedie School of Business, where he established the A. John Ellis Endowment Fund. The Endowment is currently valued at over $1 million – making it the largest graduate scholarship for business students at SFU – and supports the A. John Ellis Graduate Scholarship in Business Administration.

The scholarships are designed to attract the best and brightest Masters or Doctoral students to the Segal Graduate School. Since 2009, each year four scholarships of $10,000 have been awarded, benefiting 23 graduate students. From fall 2015, five scholarships of $10,000 will be awarded each year.

“Our students have told me that receiving a John Ellis award is very important to them,” says Dr. Blaize Reich. “It is not just the financial support that matters, it is the feeling that a senior person in the community has confidence that you will succeed, and is willing to help you along the way.”

A video capturing some of the highlights of Ellis’ life was created for the occasion, featuring interviews with Joe Segal, Jack Blaney, Blaize Reich, Arthur Hara, former Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Dominik Desbois, one of the students to have received the A. John Ellis Graduate Scholarship in Business Administration.

Watch the video below: