Our Highest Honour

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, former 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.

2016 Recipients

List of 4 items.

  • Mr. John Mackay

    Georgian Parent since 1995 (Michael ’04, Christopher ’06), Georgian Uncle (David ’08), Member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council (2006 – present)

    John and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of three children – two boys who graduated from Saints, and a daughter who attended Crofton House School. John has numerous philanthropic interests, and serves as a board member and/or primary supporter of many local and international initiatives in the fields of medicine/hospital support, social services, education, and religious and community service, including recently being a founding board member of Streetohome Foundation, an organization created through a private business/provincial/civic government partnership to address the issue of homelessness in the City of Vancouver.

    A humble man, John Mackay has been quietly active in the St. George’s School community supporting and contributing to the life of the School for more than 20 years. As a parent, John was both present and engaged at Saints, attending school functions and supporting his sons’ endeavours, particularly in the realm of athletics. For the faculty and administration, John and Rebecca’s steadfast relationship with the school epitomized a healthy home-to-school collaborative approach. Through trust, they “released their boys to the School” when called upon and served as a wonderful role model for other parents to follow.

    Through his generosity and support, John worked “behind the scenes” to help change the lives of many students; his contributions make it possible for boys who may not otherwise have been able to attend and experience the benefits of a St. George’s School education. John was also very supportive during his time as a current parent to former Headmaster, Nigel Toy. They shared a common goal of modelling good behaviour to the boys, particularly around humility and responsibility, and encouraging a pride in wearing the uniform of our School. He was and is a man greatly admired within the school community. Many programs and projects at St. George’s have benefited from the generous support of the Mackay family over the years, from athletics and facilities to the Saints’ Fair and the Hamper Drive. John was a leader in the creation of the very successful “Nigel R.L. Toy Scholars’ Fund,” an endowment fund that allows financial assistance to be given to new students who otherwise might not be able to attend the School.
  • Mr. Kenneth Teskey

    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.
  • Mr. Nigel Toy

    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.
  • Mr. Shek Kong Leung

    Georgian Parent (Wai Chuk ’14), Member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council, 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!

2015 Recipients

List of 3 items.

  • Mr. James (Jimmy) Chee

    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.
  • Mr. Rob Cruickshank

    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); Member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council (2006-2009); 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.
  • Mr. Ron Cliff ‘46

    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); Member of the Headmaster’s Advisory Council (2006-present); 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.

2014 Recipients

List of 3 items.

  • Mr. John Harker (Deceased)

    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.
  • Mr. Peter Bentley '47

    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.
  • Mrs. Doreen Lam Lau

    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.

2013 Recipients

List of 3 items.

  • Mr. Alan Brown ‘54 (Deceased)

    • 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.
  • Mr. Geof Stancombe ‘62

    • 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.
  • Mr. Peter Armstrong '72

    • 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.

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 Adrienne Davidson in the Advancement Office with any questions. 

Please note that the deadline for nominations is February 24, 2017. This year’s Builders’ Awards Dinner will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
Founded in 1930, St. George's School is a world-class boys' university preparatory school, offering a day program in Grades 1-12 and an Urban Boarding program in Grades 8-12. With 1150 students, 109 of whom are boarders from over 20 countries worldwide, St. George's School truly is Canada's World School for Boys.
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 | info@stgeorges.bc.ca