Since its founding in 1930, St. George’s School has benefitted from the selfless efforts of extraordinary individuals who have helped to build the great School that exists today. To ensure that these men and women are appropriately acknowledged, the Builders of St. George’s School Recognition Program has been created to formally recognize those volunteers, faculty and staff members, and donors who have made truly extraordinary, transformational contributions over time to the building of the School. The Builders designation represents the highest award the School will confer in recognition of extraordinary support. Reflecting a genuine love of the School, this support may involve either personal effort ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ and/or financial support.
The nomination process
A call for nominations is extended to the St. George’s community each year. The nominees are reviewed and selected by a committee that includes the Headmaster. Please contact Nancy Kudryk in the Headmaster’s Office or Dave Fitzpatrickin the Advancement Office with any questions.
Early ‘owner’ of St. George’s School; Vice Principal (1932-39); Headmaster (1963-71); Author (Saints: The Story of St. George’s School for Boys Vancouver, The Dukes, and The Woodwards); and Georgian Parent (Roger Brown ’86)
Along with his brother, John Harker, Douglas was responsible for the survival of the School in its early days and a major influence on school culture, enacting many of the traditions we know today. He promoted a student-centred educational philosophy and was a firm believer in sports and the arts as part of a well-rounded education. In 1936, he established the Old Boys Association so “…that wherever they wander they will always be able to hear of the activities of their School and whenever they want it, they will have an opportunity of reviving old friendships and old memories.” In 1939, when World War II broke out, he resigned from the School, enlisted, and served with the British Columbia Regiment (D.C.O.R.) where he attained the rank of Major and was wounded in action. Following the war, he worked as Training and Personnel Director for Woodward’s, a large Vancouver company.
In 1963, when his brother, John, retired, Douglas returned as St. George’s third Headmaster, bringing a business-like structure to its operations (but keeping the tradition of dogs). Under his leadership, the School flourished—within six years, the new Senior School was built on Topside, more playing fields were purchased from the Jesuits, and a swimming pool and a student centre were added. Both the Junior and Senior Schools began to look outward to the world as speakers visited and boys went on exchanges to other schools and sports tours. While presiding over the sea of changes that characterized the ’60s, he was adamant about school culture:
“One thing will not, and must not change, and that is the spirit of the school. We must not grow too big to be concerned over every boy who attends it, or too serious to laugh at the many funny things which happen, and which doubtless will continue to happen.”
In 1971, Douglas and his wife, Betty, retired to Pender Island where they spent many happy years with family and friends until his death in 1994.
Junior School Principal (1989-2000); Executive Director (2000-01); and Georgian Parent (James ’01)
Stephen Hutchison was at the helm of the Junior School through a transformational decade. Under his watch, the newly acquired junior campus – formerly the Convent of the Sacred Heart – underwent major changes, including a seismic upgrade to the convent building and the addition of a second gym, the creation of playing fields, and the building of new boarding facilities—Harker Hall Residences. Mr. Hutchison was instrumental in ensuring the disruption was viewed as a fun interlude in the boys’ lives and that important St. George’s traditions were maintained while embracing innovations that the new spaces allowed. He also initiated a long-term relationship with the alumnae of the Convent, encouraging them to hold their annual reunions at the School.
Under his leadership, the Junior School became a kinder, more compassionate place, full of laughter, with the needs of boys placed firmly at the forefront of all decision making. His guidance and support of his staff and their initiatives led to major successes in academics, athletics, and arts. Parents responded to his message of the importance of developing character and of striving to be a well-rounded person, which resulted in an increase in applicants at all grade levels. A natural fundraiser with the ability to build strong relationships, his final position with the School was as Executive Director, combining all of his best attributes to further the mission of the School.
Faculty Member (1979-2006); Head of Art (1980-2006;) First Recipient of the Robinson Distinguished Service Award (2000); and Georgian Parent (Nicholas ’01)
Passion. The word defines Nan Oliver’s approach to art and the enthusiasm she brought to 27 years of teaching at the Senior School. Initially hired as a long-term substitute teacher, the following year she became Head of Art and began to build the world-class program the School is known for today. Under her direction, the department expanded and embraced new technologies and digital art. She instituted ArtsWeek—now one of the School’s most anticipated annual traditions that culminates with the prestigious Rigg Scholarship Awards Ceremony—to expose all students to art and to encourage them to find and share their own passion. Nan launched Portfolio Day when, based on the quality of the work produced by Saints’ artists, one of the major art schools asked to visit the school to evaluate student portfolios. This event has now expanded to include more schools and more students, and, as a result, some Grade 12 students receive immediate offers of admission. Other highlights of her career include several Art Tours to Europe.
Since her retirement in 2006, Nan has continued to explore art, studying at the Slade School of Art and the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design. Along with her husband, Simon, she spent a year in Zanzibar where she used Art to teach English, and today Nan continues teaching art as communication to primary students in the Downtown East Side.
Current Parent (Theodore ’21) Georgian Parent (Spencer ’06, Nathaniel ’07 & Caleb ‘11); President of the St. George’s School Auxiliary 2004-2005; Head Convenor 2010; Board Member 2004-2005 and 2009-2015; Board Chair 2012-2015; Member of the Campaign Steering Committee 2014-ongoing; Current SGPA Volunteer; Major donor over 26 years.
Mrs. Lesley Bentley is honoured for her outstanding and long-serving engagement with St. George’s School. The first female Board Chair in the history of the School, she has extensive additional connections through her husband Michael, Class of 1980, and father-in-law Peter, Class of 1947.
Lesley has a background in journalism, having worked for CBC Radio One as a researcher and producer. She is an active member of the broader charitable sector, and has served on the Boards of the Vancouver Museum, Kerrisdale Soccer, the Artizo Institute & Foundation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and as a Trustee for St. John’s Anglican Church. Lesley is a graduate of Crofton House, UBC, and BCIT, and brings enormous energy and dedication to everything she does in her community. Her active volunteer leadership roles in the St. George’s School Auxiliary and the current Parents Association, as well as her years of service on the Society Board, give her an unprecedented depth of understanding and appreciation for the School’s Mission and Vision.
Her volunteer leadership roles at the School include stints as President of the Auxiliary, Head Convenor, and Society Board Member. Lesley has been deeply involved in the tradition that is the Annual School Fair; most recently she has been the inspiration behind the highly successful Fair Marketplace. Mrs. Bentley also had a key role in helping to develop the School’s Strategic Plan and the Campus Master Plan to guide the School’s future facilities planning. One key area where Lesley has shown extraordinary leadership and energy in is the ONE Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the School. Her vision and guidance while Board Chair helped to launch the campaign, and her ongoing and very active engagement in the running of the campaign is a key part of its outstanding successes to date.
Georgian Parent (Chapman ’08); Board Member 2001-2010; Member of the Advancement Committee 2005-2006; Major donor since 1991. Uncle to other Georgians (Kendrick Li ’96 & Christian Chan ’00)
Universally acknowledged within the St. George’s community as a humble and kind man, those who knew him on the Board would also characterize Tom as thoughtful, intelligent, respectful, and always well-prepared and well-informed on the strategic and governance issues the Board would address. He is a very effective communicator, and always willing to make time for the School during his many years of engagement. Tom served under three separate Board Chairs: Rob Ellis, Peter Armstrong ’72 and Rob Cruickshank, all of whom speak very highly of him and his contributions to St. George’s School. During the time of enormous growth from Hong Kong and mainland China within Vancouver, Tom was particularly valuable in assisting Admissions with navigating the selection of students and families who would help sustain our own growth and diversity.
Tom and his wife, Bonita, are now primarily retired and devote much of their energy to international philanthropy through their family organizations, including the Chan Foundation of Canada and the Chan Better World Foundation. The family had been based in Vancouver since 1987 and are well known for their extraordinary community generosity, particularly in the areas of the Arts, Education, and Healthcare. Tom and his brother Caleb are recognized for their many accomplishments both at the School and, of course, in the wider community. They have been transformational in their leadership and giving to St. George’s School, and many decades of students past, current, and future will have benefited from their philanthropic support.
De facto ‘momma’ to generations of Boarders; Honourary Georgian; Robinson Distinguished Service Award recipient; retired Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Provincial award winner from the Registered Nurses Association of B.C. for ‘Excellence in Nursing Practice’ during her tenure at St. George’s School
First hired in 1973 as the School Nurse, Mrs. Norma Parker cared for day students and boarders alike with hugs, laughter, and an innate understanding of boys. Growing her role to fulfill the need she saw, she is in large part responsible for the establishment of pastoral care as a cornerstone of a St. George’s education. Along with her husband, Bob, she lived in residence for over 30 years, where she lobbied on behalf of all ‘her’ boys with the fierceness of a mother bear. Few would dare contradict her when she took up a cause. A gifted storyteller, she presided over “the San,” providing boys with love and affection in their home away from home.
Her larger-than-life presence and distinctive laugh were fixtures on the playing fields where she tended to injuries of the body and the ego. She accompanied outdoor education trips, Boarding trips, Scout Camps, and cultural tours such as the Concert Band Tours to Europe, where she provided a calming presence for tour leaders beset with boys suffering flu bugs, broken limbs, and assorted ailments. Parents relied on her sound advice about their sons.
During her tenure, nursing care grew from a Band-Aid and a pat on the back to a dynamic Health Services Department dedicated to serving the whole boy, physically and emotionally. She taught boys everything from Wilderness First Aid to personal hygiene to how to talk to girls. There are countless boys “she loved and nursed and saved from bad family situations, accidents, disease, and the pressure of Saints” who regard her as truly a Saint.
Early ‘owner’ of St. George’s School; former Headmaster (1933-1962); parent of a Georgian (Christopher ‘57); founder of the ‘School for boys and dogs.’
Mr. Harker was the second Headmaster of St. George’s School, serving from 1933- 1962. British born and educated, he served as an Officer in the First World War, then the Diplomatic Service in The Hague and in Washington, DC, before a five-year span in the Far East. Eventually landing in Vancouver, he was recruited to St. George’s School at a turbulent time in its early history, subsequently successfully bringing financial stability, character education, academic standards, strong traditions, and growing enrollment in his wake. It is generally accepted that Mr. Harker saved St. George’s from financial ruin and discredit in the early part of his tenure as Headmaster. He involved his entire family in the business of serving St. George’s School, including his beloved wife, Marianita (“Naggers”).
He also shepherded the School through the trials of another World War and its severe impact on staffing, led the charge to acquire the land upon which the current Senior School now sits, and approved the formation of the invaluable Women’s Auxiliary in 1950, now the SGPA. He is remembered and celebrated for his extraordinary contributions to St. George’s over almost three decades, his unwavering sense of humour, and the legacy of “St. George’s School for Boys and Dogs”!
Mr. Harker died on August 14, 1975, and his memorial service was held at the School.
Past student (1938-1947) and Georgian; parent of a Georgian (Michael ’80); grandfather of 6 Georgians (Tyler Hislop ’01, Scott Hislop ’06, Spencer Bentley ‘06, Graydon Ball ’07, Nathaniel Bentley ‘07 , Caleb Bentley ‘11) and one current student (Theo Bentley Grade 5 ); past Trustee and Governor (1958-1971 and 1977-1981); donor to St. George’s for over 40 years.
We honour Peter with the Builder of St. George’s award for his almost six decades of support and leadership to the School. Mr. Bentley has served as a Director of St. George’s School and his involvement was crucial to the campaign that helped build a new Junior School classroom block at the old campus, as well as the acquisition of the current Senior School grounds. This campaign also, very crucially, addressed an inequity in faculty salaries which allowed us to become competitive in attracting the best teachers to Saints. Peter’s is truly a legacy family at St. George’s; between himself and his extended family there is over 90 years of attendance at this School, and still counting!
Peter Bentley was awarded the Order of Canada in 1983 for his contributions to finance, business and manufacturing; we believe him to be one of the first Old Boys to receive this prestigious recognition. He is a highly respected member of the wider Vancouver and BC community, and served as Chairman and CEO of Canfor for almost 25 years. He was the third Chancellor of the University of Northern BC, holds honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia, and has received the Distinguished Community Leader Award from Simon Fraser University. In addition to his leadership and generosity to this School, he has actively served on numerous other volunteer boards over his lifetime of community service.
Georgian Parent (Christopher ’09 and Brian ’11); Board member (2000-2009), Chair of the Education Committee; member of the Nominating & Governance, Bursary & Scholarship and Advancement Committees; New Parent canvasser (2001-2004); major donor to St. George’s for almost 20 years.
Mrs. Lam Lau is the mother of two Georgians, Christopher ’09 and Brian ’11, as well as a daughter, Jennifer. She is the daughter of David Lam, the 25th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and is married to Philip Lau. Doreen has a long history of service to St. George’s over many years, giving generously of her time and expertise as a Board member for nine years. Doreen and her family are major donors to the School over many years, most significantly supporting large capital initiatives and establishing the Global Perspectives and Voluntary Service Fund. Doreen also matched gifts to this fund, enabling it to grow significantly and engage many other donors.
The Global Perspectives and Voluntary Service Fund has transformed the way in which we have been able to move the Service Learning Program at St. George’s forward in a meaningful way. It is one of our most successful fund initiatives and has evolved quite quickly to support such wonderful programs as the ‘Each One Teach One’ student mentoring; the Grade 8 Reading Bear buddies program; and a variety of service trips globally in such places as Guatemala and Peru. The partnerships with needy organizations and schools locally and internationally involve our students in fundraising and volunteerism for the betterment of others, as well as raising awareness of world issues.
Junior Master, Games Master, Latin and Geography Teacher (1930–1936); Senior Master (1956-1960), responsible for Student Body (1945–1960)
One of the original members of St. George’s staff, Basil ‘Nip’ Parker was known as a scholar, academic, and natural leader who exhibited integrity, fairness, and great courage—qualities he shared with and nurtured in the boys during his time at St. George’s School. Headmaster Douglas Harker described him as having “…a red, cheerful face, a voice and a laugh which could be heard half a mile away and a gift for enthusiasm and for imparting it.” Over his nearly 30 years at Saints, Nip dedicated himself to the betterment of the students and the School, helping cement the culture and values that have helped build its worldwide reputation for excellence.
Nip Parker joined the St. George’s community in 1930, leaving only to complete his degree at Oxford and to captain the Seaforth Highlanders during WWII, where he lost a leg in a battle. In spite of this injury, he returned to Saints in 1945, taking on the responsibility of governing the student body, teaching Geography and Latin, coaching rugby, and founding the Georgian Rugby Society. He was School’s first Scoutmaster and first Cadet Corps Commander. Stories about his missing leg were legion, some true and some not. Many students remember Nip as having the closest and most rewarding relationships with the boys of any Master at the time and count him as one of the great role models in their life.
His life at St. George’s was one of devoted service to the School. With his sense of humour, familiar voice and presence, great personal courage and intense sense of justice, Nip had a profound, positive, and long-lasting influence on many generations of Georgians.
Georgian Parent (Geordie ‘89, Michael ‘90, and Drew ‘92); Board Member (1983-1994); Board Vice Chair (1988-1990); Board Chair (1990-1993); Director of St. George’s School Foundation (1993-2001); Honourary Director and Member for Life (1993 - ongoing); Honourary Old Boy
An esteemed figure in the St. George’s community and beyond, George Hungerford has created a lasting legacy at the School through his tireless efforts in building community. George was instrumental in a number of Capital Campaigns that shaped St. George’s, including the 1985 Capital Campaign for the reconstruction of the Senior School and the Excellence in Education campaign of the 1990s, and he served as Chair of the Planning Committee responsible for the seismic upgrade of the Junior School. As Board Chair, he redesigned the governance structure of the School and implemented a sustainable system of annual solicitation. George was a member of the Search Committee that brought us past Headmaster Nigel Toy. An Olympic Gold medalist for Rowing, George also supported the reinstitution of the Rowing Program and the School’s ongoing partnership with UBC Boathouse.
In addition to his contributions to St. George’s School, George has been recognized as an Officer of the Order of Canada, Queen’s Counsel, and with the Order of British Columbia, among many other honours.
With three sons graduating from St. George’s and one grandson now in attendance, his connection to the School and its wider community spans generations. St. George’s School is richer for the contributions he, with the support of his wife, Janie, have made to our community.
Past Director of Music and Bands (1989–2018); Robinson Distinguished Service Award Recipient; Recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award from Stanford University, the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award, and the Nobel Educator of Distinction from the National Society of High School Scholars; one of the first Canadian members of the Texas Bandmaster’s Association; numerable Concert Band Tours Organizer
A master teacher for more than 30 years, Marko is proud to have grown music education at St. George’s School. Under his leadership, the Band Program evolved from a group of interested boys meeting once a week at the Senior School to a fully-fledged program integrated into the school timetable, with every Junior School boy learning both brass and woodwind instruments, thus establishing a love and appreciation for the gifts of music: creativity, collaboration, and communication. During his tenure, he established the Conductor-in-Residence and Musicians-in-Residence programs, the Guest Soloist program, the Concerto Competition, and the Honour Wind Ensemble. Highlights of his career are the legendary Senior Concert Band Tours to Western Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, and the lasting relationship formed with the town band in Aichach, Germany, who have been the School’s musical partners for the past 25 years. However, his greatest joy was working with the boys to bring them the very best of the world of music, along with precision, discipline, dedication, as well as fun, joy, and laughter. He counts his years at St. George’s among the most joyful and rewarding experiences of his life.
Georgian Parent (Drew ’03 and Connor ’05), Former Member & Executive Member of the Board of Directors, Former Member & Executive Member of the Board of Trustees, Honourary Georgian (2015), Former Campaign Fundraiser, and Major Donor since 1994.
Without doubt, Mr. Ken Teskey holds one of the longest continuous service records for volunteer leadership at St. George’s School. It was only in 2015 that he stepped down from his Board role, the same year that he was also honoured by the Old Boys’ Association Board as an Honourary Georgian. We estimate that Ken has served with as many as nine Board Chairs, and he has served in a wide variety of ways, on multiple committees, including Human Resources, Advancement, Endowment, and New Parents; he was also actively involved in the Rowing parents group and the building of the JS Lecky Boathouse in conjunction with UBC. He is the CRO and Corporate Secretary with MCAP, a leading Canadian mortgage finance business.
Ken and Cindy actively supported their boys in their many athletic endeavours at the School, and both were engaged in the life of the School in general. They have supported all successive fundraising campaigns at St. George’s, most recently the ONE Campaign to build new facilities for future generations of students. He also is a major supporter of the Hamper Drive every year, which, through the efforts of the St. George’s community, brings much-needed holiday supplies to over 300 families in need.
Former Headmaster (1997-2010), Honourary Georgian (2012), Major donor since 1997.
The Nigel Toy Field was named to honour the 8th Headmaster of St. George’s School upon his retirement in 2010. A major fundraising initiative had previously been undertaken to similarly honour his commitment to and vision of building a boys’ school with a justified pride in its international reputation. This fundraising initiative established the Nigel R.L. Toy Scholars Fund to allow financial aid to be awarded to deserving students who otherwise could be unable to attend the School.
Mr. Toy has been described as visionary, dedicated, compassionate, charismatic, determined, principled, competitive, passionate, patient, humble and respected. This very impressive list of aspirational characteristics also explains how the School he left in 2010 was nationally and internationally acknowledged for its outstanding academic, athletic, and arts programs. His leadership proved crucial to the transformative changes that St. George’s experienced in his 13 years as Headmaster, and many hundreds of boys grew up with his ‘play hard, play fair’ approach to life and learning. He was and is a team player, and those staff and faculty who worked with him knew that they were appreciated and that their good work did not go unnoticed.
The facility renewals, the new programs, and the inherent sense of pride in School and self that marked his tenure were transformational. In his time he almost doubled the student population and established the critical mass of students necessary to build excellence. He attracted and hired outstanding faculty, and he raised the bar with respect to the expectations around student behaviour. He also established the Advancement Office, and played a key role in attracting the first-ever million dollar gift to the School. Mr. Toy remains closely connected to and supportive of the School since his retirement, and we are happy to be able to honour him as a Builder of St. George’s School.
Georgian Parent (Wai Chuk ’14), Major Gift fundraiser for the School, and Major Donor for 15 years, including the Chapel refurbishment at the Junior School in 2003.
We honour “SK” Leung as a Builder of St. George’s for his more than 15 years of commitment to the success of our School. Mr. Leung is a very successful businessman based in Shenzhen, China and who is an “Honourary Citizen” of that city. SK’s business interests include finance, real estate, telecommunications, electronics, and technology, as well as duty free stores in China. Mr. Leung is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Guangdong Province, China.
During the past 15 years Mr. Leung has shown great support and leadership to two Headmasters and at least four Board Chairs; his generous and kind support of the School’s many trips to Asia to connect with families and Georgians has been invaluable. Mr. Leung has served since 2012 as a member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council, guiding our strategies for recruitment and support for the School.
Of particular note in recent years has been his very passionate and continued engagement as a “Georgian Parent.” Despite his son having graduated from Saints in 2014, Mr. Leung and his wife, Rainbow Wong, continue to be highly engaged with the School, guiding new families, encouraging the support of other Georgian parents and alumni, even supporting the current Parents Association by twice funding the car for the Annual School Fair’s Raffle!
• Georgian • Headmaster (1971-1989) • Georgian Lifetime Achievement Award recipient 2009
Mr. Brown was a major force in building character and school spirit at St. George’s, as well as overseeing many transformational construction projects and the purchase of the Junior School building, all of which shape the School of today. He was renowned for the sign on his desk, which said: “Don’t wait to be a Great Man. Be a Great Boy.” Mr. Brown came out of retirement in 1995 to establish another independent school, Southridge School in Surrey, BC.
• Georgian • Parent of Georgians (Patrick ’00 and Andrew ’02) • Faculty member (1968-2007)
During his time as a student, Geof was noted for his athletic prowess and love of the outdoors. After joining the faculty, he shared those interests with his students and was fundamental in the growth of the Scouts, Rovers, and Venturers, and other service programs. He was a strong supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh Program, growing it to be the largest in Canada. He is the Founder of the School’s Annual Hamper Drive. For many St. George’s boys, Geof was and is the iconic teacher—always willing to lend an ear and always ready for fun! Mr. Stancombe retired in 2008.
• Georgian • Parent of a Georgian (Tristan ‘03) • Former Board Chair (2003-2008) • Foundation Trustee (2005-2007) • Member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council, and Major Contributor to St. George’s School for 30 years. Mr. Armstrong is known in Canada as an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and the founder and Chairman of the largest, privately-owned passenger rail service in North America. The Rocky Mountaineer has received multiple World Travel Awards, and is now considered to be one of Canada’s leading tourism providers. Peter sits on the Boards of many organizations in the tourism industry as well as educational institutions, private and public companies, and charities. His leadership and financial support of St. George’s School spans more than three decades, and he is a man known to all as kind, considerate, passionate about Saints, and always willing to assist when asked.
Georgian Parent (Timothy ’00, Douglas ’03); Honourary Old Boy; Board Member (1991-2003); Board Chair (1994-1996); Foundation Chair (1999-2001); Chair and Member of Building & Grounds Committee (1990 -2002). Major donor since 1991.
When his eldest son joined St. George’s School in 1989, Andrew went ‘all in’ to contribute to the building of St. George’s School. As president and founding partner of PCI, and with development projects around the city, his experience proved invaluable to the School during a period of expansion. Along with his wife, Joan, he was generous with his time and energy, putting his heart into everything he did for Saints.
His many realms of service to the School include stints as Foundation Chair and Board Chair and over a decade as a member of the Board of Directors. He served with the Nominating Committee and the Advancement Committee, and was involved with the Excellence in Education Campaign. However, it was as Chair of the Building and Grounds Committee he made his mark, formally serving from 1990 to 2002, and then remaining as advisor through 2010. Andrew oversaw the first master plan for the Senior and Junior Schools and then the seismic upgrade and rebuilding of the Junior School, the building of Harker Hall, new playing fields for the junior campus, the construction of the Headmaster’s Residence, two upgrades to the Senior School (including McLean Hall and the Chan Arts and Science Wing), and was instrumental in guiding the School through dealings with City Hall and the neighbours. He was also a member of the Search Committee that brought us past Headmaster Nigel Toy.
Georgian Parent (Spencer ’10); Foundation Chair (2005-2012), Board Member (2007-2012); Chair of Advancement Committee (2007-2010); Major donor since 2003.
A tireless volunteer and supporter of St. George’s School, Sam played a key leadership role at a definitive point in the School’s history. Already familiar with the world of Canadian independent schools, as a member of the School’s two Boards he emphasized the importance of thinking big and of striving to establish St. George’s as one of the country’s pre-eminent independent schools. In particular, as Chair of the Foundation Board, he focused his attention on the importance of the School’s Endowment, pursuing the audacious goal of building an Endowment large enough to cover the entire cost of the School’s Financial Aid Program.
Under Sam’s leadership, the operations of the St. George’s School Foundation were systematized and professionalized. He also worked hard to grow the Endowment from $3M to over $20M through a combination of adept financial management and ongoing fundraising. The retirement of Headmaster Nigel Toy in 2010 helped facilitate this process through the creation of an endowed fund in his name. For Sam, the overriding goal was build the Endowment so that financial aid could be provided to deserving boys who would otherwise be unable to attend the School. Sam’s loyalty and commitment is reflected in the fact that he still serves on the Foundation’s Investment Committee, even though he stepped down from his role as Chair of the Foundation more than five years ago.
Senior Master; Robinson Distinguished Service Award Recipient; past Director of Senior School, Head of Grade, and Head of Science; Outstanding Educator Awards from the University of Chicago and Stanford University; Soccer, Rugby, Field Hockey, and Golf Coach; Skydiving Aficionado and CSPA Master Course Facilitator; Photographer and World Traveller
Coming to Canada from England to pursue a PhD in X-ray crystallography at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Tony Mercer then went on to complete his teacher training before finding a life-long home at St. George’s School. Having served St. George’s for more than four decades, Tony has worked with six different Headmasters, and he has held many of the key positions in the School, including Director of the Senior School (now Principal), Head of Grade, and Department Head. As Director, he led the Senior School during a period of change and growth. Among his most significant accomplishments was his focus on improving the overall quality of the School’s academic program. Tony has seen his share of changes, but he has never lost his commitment to his students and their learning, nor his passion for teaching and learning.
The Senior School’s Senior Master since 2012, he truly is a master teacher who has inspired generations of Science students through his dynamic and innovative approach to teaching. As one of his former students noted, “What a journey it has been through Dr. Mercer’s teaching, from intellectual challenges along the way to continuous reminders about the importance of connecting knowledge to the real world. Dr. Mercer’s teaching sparked in me an intellectual passion for science that I can never thank him enough for.”
Highlights of Dr. Mercer’s tenure also include various school trips to locations like Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest, and the Galapagos Islands, as well as the annual CAIS Soccer Tournament and numerous golf tournaments. Many of our Old Boys remember his spectacular entry to the 1992 Fair – skydiving from a plane! This is Tony’s 42nd year at St. George’s, making him the longest serving faculty member in the School’s history.
Georgian Parent (Oliver '92 and Cyrus '02); Georgian Uncle (Jeffrey Shon '02, Christopher Shon '04, Matthew Shon '06, and Nicholas Shon '07); Past Society Board member (1992-95); Chairman of the Advancement Committee (1992-1995); Headmaster’s Search Committee (1996); Major Gift fundraiser for the School and Major Donor for more than 25 years.
We honour Jimmy Chee as a Builder of St. George’s School for his more than 25 years commitment to our community. He served as a Director of the School during a time of major fundraising, and was involved in a volunteer leadership role with the campaigns to support new facilities at the School in the 1980s. He and his wife Janet are proud parents of two Saints’ graduates, Oliver and Cyrus, and their nephews Jeffrey, Christopher, Matthew, and Nicholas also graduated from Saints. They also have one daughter, Ssonia, who serves as the President of the Jimmy Chee Foundation.
Jimmy’s outstanding history of giving and commitment is deeply ingrained. A close friend and another Georgian parent recently described him as ‘no ordinary Board Member.’ His efforts to spearhead fundraising helped ensure that the School had the resources to meet the requirements of earthquake remediation, which was an urgent need after the purchase of the convent. He served as Chair of the Advancement Committee between 1992 and 1995, and generously donated towards the new Science Wing at the Senior School during an early fundraising campaign in 1984. Mr. Chee was also a member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council, and served on the Search Committee that recommended the appointment of Headmaster Nigel Toy in 1996, and presided as Chair of the School’s first New Parents Dinner. Jimmy was an early advocate of building a dedicated residence for the Headmaster on campus, because he believed that providing housing for future Headmasters would enable the School to recruit the best candidates from around the world. This is a practice that has been widely adopted at many of the top independent boarding schools in the country.
Mr. Chee continues to maintain his close ties to the School and its extended community. He serves as an Elder at Lord’s Peace Chapel, and is the Founder of the Jimmy Chee Foundation, which supports worthy causes in the fields of education, medicine and religion. Jimmy and his family are committed to service, and are very generous with their time, talent, and treasure in giving back.
Georgian Parent (Jeffrey '92, Gregory '94, Joseph '00, James '07, Matthew '12); Chairman of the Board of Directors (2008-2013); Member of the Board of Directors (1999-2013); Past Trustee (2003-2013); Honourary Georgian (2013); Major Donor for more than 26 years.
Mr. Rob Cruickshank has been a highly active part of the story of St. George’s School since his first son, Jeffrey, joined us in 1988. His visionary, strong, and dedicated volunteer leadership has helped to drive many changes at this School, the benefits of which continue to be felt by students, staff and faculty, parents, and Georgians alike. Rob has volunteered at the School under six Headmasters (Brown, Parry, Atkinson, Lawrence, Toy & Matthews), was a memeber of the Search Committee that recommended Dr. Matthews to be our current Headmaster. He helped imagine and formalize our Strategic Plan 2011-2021, which set the stage for our Campus Master Planning process as well as the ensuing $40 million ONE Campaign.
During his time as a Trustee or Member of the Board of Directors, Rob served on a wide variety of committees, including Pensions & Benefits, Bursary & Scholarships, Strategic Planning, Advancement, Finance and, most significantly, served five years as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Cruickshank was made an Honourary Georgian by the Old Boys’ Association in 2013 and has gone on to serve as Chair of the Board of Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS).
Rob has always had a keen understanding of the need for philanthropic support and volunteer leadership for a world-class school such as ours, and has modelled this through the giving of his own extraordinary talent, time, and personal philanthropy. In more than 26 years of giving back, Rob and his family have supported a very wide variety of funds and campaigns, including Endowment, Scholarship, Capital, Annual and Memorial.
Student from 1935 and a Georgian since 1946; Father of a Georgian (Ronald '79); Grandfather of five Georgians (Scott Tindle '03, Arthur Maughan '94, Michael Maughan '98, Andrew Cliff '08 and William Cliff '11); Great Uncle of four Georgians (Malcolm Campbell '93 and Angus Campbell '99, Graham Lecky '97 and Alex Lecky '99); Past Trustee and Governor. Member of the Order of Canada (1986); Past Trustee and Member of the Board of Directors; Major Donor for almost 40 years.
Mr. Ronald Laird Cliff receives the Builder of St. George’s School Award for his astonishing 80 years of connection to the School, from young boy to successful businessman and major supporter of our community. Ron has served the broader community of Vancouver and British Columbia as a major philanthropist and volunteer leader for more than 60 consecutive years, and has been honoured by numerous local non-profit organizations for his long-standing and generous service. Tonight we are honoured to do the same in recognition of his deep commitment to the education of fine young men at our School. The Builder’s Award is preceded by the “Georgian Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2012. Ron is also one of our leading Georgian philanthropists.
The list of wider community organizations that Mr. Cliff has supported over the decades includes many other fine schools, leading arts organizations, hospitals, and the Vancouver Police Foundation, of which he was a Founder. He was named the Simon Fraser University Distinguished Community Leader of the Year in 2014.
Ron has been a donor to St. George’s School for almost 40 years, supporting many capital campaigns, including our current ONE Campaign. Other projects he has supported include the Academic Endowment Fund, the Performing Arts Fund, the John Harker Memorial Fund, the Malcolm Campbell Memorial Fund, the Headmaster’s Assistance Fund, and the Old Boys’ Scholarship & Bursary Fund. Like our other award recipients, Ron truly embodies the intention behind the Builders’ Award of recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary, transformational contributions to St. George’s School over time.
St. George’s School acknowledges that we are situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation.
Contributions to St. George's School are tax creditable as prescribed by Canadian law. St. George's School's Charitable Registration Number is: 11917-5511 RR0001.
St. George’s School
Junior Campus: 3851 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1T6 Senior Campus: 4175 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1V1 604-224-1304 ● email@example.com