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Trent Alumnus Receives Minister's Lifetime Achievement Award

Trent University alumnus Richard Johnston, will receive the inaugural Minister's Lifetime Achievement award at the annual Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario Achievement Awards Ceremony in Toronto today. Mr. Johnston was selected to receive the award for his continued commitment to the Ontario College system. 

Mr. Johnston, along with Dr. Richard Hook, vice president emeritus, Humber College, will be recognized for his exemplary leadership, and celebrated for his long-time contributions to post-secondary students and the system as a whole. The award was announced last month by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

"Thanks to dedicated leaders such as Richard Johnston and Dr. Richard Hook, our colleges have a proven track record in providing high-quality education and training that equips students to excel in our fast-changing world," Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Mary Anne Chambers stated in a news release. "I congratulate each of them on this honour, and thank them for promoting excellence within the college system in Ontario."

Mr. Johnston received a Bachelor of Arts History and English degree from Trent. Not only is Mr. Johnston a former Trent student, he went on to teach, lecture, and later become a member of the Board of Governors. 

"It is indeed an honour to congratulate Richard - a friend to Trent University on many fronts," said President Bonnie Patterson. "His contributions to Trent and the post-secondary system in Ontario are numerous. This award is well-deserved by an individual who continues to work to enhance the system for the students of tomorrow."

Mr. Johnston retired in 2004 as president of Centennial College. He is past chair of the Ontario Council of Regents (now known as the College Compensation and Appointments Council), where he led the implementation of a range of reforms and helped to establish two French colleges. He also served as president of the First Nations Technical Institute in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, was elected to the Ontario legislature from 1979 to 1990 and served as the critic for education, colleges and universities and skills development for three years. Mr. Johnston is currently a member of the Postsecondary Education Review Panel.

Today, Mr. Johnston operates a 215-acre farm in Prince Edward Country, which includes a pioneering vineyard and winery.

"The Alumni Association is extremely proud to learn of Richard's lifetime achievement award. He is a member of Trent's original class, and one of the first two students to register at the University," said Tony Storey, director, Alumni Affairs. "Richard was a respected contributor to university life in the founding years and was instrumental in helping establish the Commoner (a former student pub).

"He has been an engaged and supportive alumnus, and was awarded the Toronto Chapter Award of Merit in 1989. Richard also delivered the first ever Alumni Lecture, 'People, Power and Public Purpose' in that year."

Both Richard's parents, Rhoda and Robert, were employed at Trent in the early days, in the Registrar's and Physical Resources departments respectively.

Posted February 21, 2005

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