Carleton turned Jacques Shore onto academics and he’s been grateful for it ever since.
That’s why, when he was invited 11 years ago to become a member of the Board of Governors, it was a no-brainer.
He says it was his positive experience during his qualifying year at Carleton back in 1973 that changed his academic life forever and made him appreciate the importance of education.
“I have to say that year (the Q-year) was an outstanding year for me where I really tasted what it was to learn,” says Shore, who is completing a 27-month term as board chairman on June 30.
“I had a debt to pay to Carleton and it was one that was a ‘happy’ debt. I felt there was a debt of gratitude in that the university did something for me. ”
Shore says it’s been a “privilege” to serve and when he talks about Carleton, his pride in the university is obvious.
“It has always been my sense that Carleton, much more so than other universities in this country, has played an important role in Canada, in the context of the development of public policy in which we address issues of national-international importance,” says Shore, a prominent lawyer and author of children’s books.
“So when I participated in the deliberations of this board and the activities of the university, there is an important part of me that truly believes that I, too, am engaged in some of this country’s nation-building exercises.”
He also credits his fellow board members, especially President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, with teaching him the ropes and providing strong guidance and leadership along the way.
“I’m not going to say there aren’t some days tougher than others … but through thick or thin we have been able to rely on outstanding leadership in this university,” he says.
“The tough issue is one of our budget. The administration has a significant responsibility to fulfill its mandate in providing students with a good student experience; at the same time, to be mindful of how much money is available to be able to provide the services that are required.”
Asked to name a highlight, Shore is hard-pressed to narrow it down to just one, but points to the launch in 2002 of the Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, housed within the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and the new master’s degree in Infrastructure Protection and International Security which begins in September.
“For me, it was one of my own personal favourites to have seen that development (CCISS) in a post-9-11 world because we just don’t have enough of that Canadian perspective for leaders and government to appreciate where we may be able to add value,” says Shore, who is also chair of NPSIA’s Distinguished Council of Advisors.
After more than a decade on the university’s Board of Governors, what’s next for Jacques Shore?
“I am going to step back. It’s only fair to do that. I have been chair 27 months … it’s absolutely critical for a new chair and a new vice-chair to be able to put their character, their personality into the way in which they address issues with the board. I’ve had my chance … and I have to say what a special opportunity this has been for me for 11 years.”
Going forward, the university’s budget will always be a challenge, he predicts, as well as the ever-changing world of technology.
“This institution is recognizing it needs to raise more money, that it has to go out to the private sector, it has to play a bigger role in making sure that our community understands that it must play a meaningful role because we really are the ones who are working towards setting the path for the next generation,” he says.
“The other thing that I think will be a big challenge for the university is new technology … We have to be ahead of the game, we have to think about new ways to motivate students to learn, new teaching tools, and determine how we can use new technologies to really be relevant.”
And what’s his advice for incoming chair Gisele Samson-Verreault?
“Ask a lot of questions. Make yourself comfortable in the relationship with the president and your fellow members of the board. Work as a team in reaching decisions and rely on your good instincts.”
When he’s asked how he’d like to be remembered, Shore doesn’t hesitate.
“As someone who cared, and cared deeply.”