Wolfville, NS, June 26, 2017 – One of Acadia University’s highest honours, the Arthur L. Irving Medal of Commitment, has been awarded to retiring President and Vice-Chancellor, Ray Ivany. The presentation to Ivany was made by Arthur Irving, the Medal’s first recipient, at a ceremony held in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre on June 26.
This prestigious award is intended to recognize individuals with a strong connection to Acadia whose accomplishments and contributions have brought distinction to the University and helped to define its unique and eminent position among Canadian post-secondary institutions. Recipients will have walked in Chancellor Emeritus Arthur Irving’s footsteps by demonstrating an unsurpassed commitment to Acadia’s reputation and future success.
The Medal was first presented in 2013 during Acadia’s 175th Anniversary celebrations to the longest-serving Chancellor in Acadia University’s history, Arthur Irving, in recognition of his transformative contributions as a guide, mentor and benefactor, and his unsurpassed commitment as a champion for the University. The Medal is generously donated by the Arthur Irving family and is presented only when the honour is warranted by the outstanding caliber of a nominee.
"Sandra, Sarah and I are happy to share in this special occasion today,” said Chancellor Emeritus Arthur Irving. “We cannot think of anyone more deserving than Ray Ivany to receive the Arthur L. Irving Medal of Commitment. Commitment means remaining loyal to what you set out to accomplish and Ray has done that and much more during his time as President of Acadia University. We are grateful for all he has done for Acadia, Nova Scotia and for all of us. We know Ray will continue to do great work because of who he is. We thank him again and we wish him the very best of good health and happiness."
Ivany was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of Acadia University in April 2009. He came to Acadia with more than 25 years of post-secondary leadership experience, including two terms as President and CEO of Nova Scotia Community College, where he was responsible for leading that organization through a period of dramatic change that has placed it among Canada’s most widely respected college systems. Through his work on numerous provincial and national boards, commissions and foundations, he is widely recognized as a thought-leader in public policy aimed at improving the lives of Canadians through education and through effective economic development and environmental priorities. Beyond Acadia, his chairmanship of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy in 2012 led to the release of a seminal blueprint for the Province’s future economic prosperity. The report, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians, symbolized Ray’s belief in the power of plain language and was written deliberately to serve as a wake-up call to decision-makers and to inspire attitudinal change within both government, the private sector, and the public at large.
“Members of the Acadia community recognize that Acadia is better today because of Ray’s efforts,” said John Rogers, Chair of Acadia’s Board of Governors. “He has brought distinction to Acadia through his individual efforts and by motivating others to apply their creativity and inventiveness. Ray has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Acadia, its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Chancellor Emeritus Irving and his wife Sandra are tireless ambassadors for Acadia and facilitating student success is their principal focus. Ray shares the Irvings’ passion for helping students and his devotion to Acadia makes him a worthy recipient of the Arthur L. Irving Medal of Commitment.”
During Ivany’s eight-year term at the helm of Acadia, he registered numerous noteworthy accomplishments. Undergraduate enrolment increased by 20 per cent between 2009 and 2016 and Acadia has been included in the list of top 50 research universities in Canada for the past three years. Over the past five years, Acadia has doubled the number and value of research contracts compared to the previous five-year period and since 2013 has undertaken $6.5 million in capital construction directly as a result of fundraising from private donors. In September 2016, the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia announced $22.25 million in support of the renewal of Acadia’s science complex. When completed in 2018, this will significantly expand the University’s teaching, research and commercialization capacity. In November 2016, Ivany joined his Presidential colleagues to launch the Maple League of Universities, a collaboration between Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and Saint Francis Xavier universities focused on carving out a distinct place in Canada’s post-secondary sector for high-quality, high-engagement undergraduate universities.
For his work, Ivany has earned a range of accolades. He was named the 2015 Person of the Year by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce (he won the same award in 2003 when at NSCC) and in March 2016, Canada’s Public Policy Forum honoured him for his “inspirational work in improving government, business and civil society in our country.” In November 2016 he was named Canada’s Most Admired Broader Public Sector CEO by Waterstone and at the recent Acadia Alumni Gala he was granted the rare title of Honorary Alumnus by the Associated Alumni of Acadia University.
“There are no better friends of Acadia than Arthur and Sandra Irving and their family,” said Ivany. “Their personal commitment to Acadia and its students is without equal and they inspire others to share their enthusiasm for this remarkable University. There really are no words suitable to express my deepest gratitude to Arthur, Sandra and Sarah for everything they have done for Acadia and for their personal support during my time as President and Vice-Chancellor. I am humbled to receive the Arthur L. Irving Medal of Commitment – to have my name attached to an award in Arthur’s name is a profound honour.”