Retiring St. FX president receives praise from former PM and Canadian leaders

Published on April 16, 2014
Dr. Sean Riley, president of St. FX, Amanda Lang, and former prime minister Brian Mulroney pose for a photo during the St. Francis Xavier University national dinner in Toronto on Tuesday. SUBMITTED

TORONTO – National leaders in education, business, and the private sector came together Tuesday night with one common interest – the importance of leadership and the profound impact of a post-secondary education makes to the future of a nation.

“Dr. Sean Riley (president of St. Francis Xavier University) provided brilliant leadership to Canada’s institutions of higher learning,” said the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, a St. FX alumnus, at the St. Francis Xavier University national dinner at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

Why do people choose to go to St. FX, situated in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and not in Toronto or Montreal is because there are big opportunities, said Mulroney.

“I arrived and I knew it opened the door to a wide world.”

The tribute dinner that focused on the achievements of Dr. Riley to post-secondary education in Canada also focused on achievements of Canadian leaders from the past and present.

“Because of your commitment to education… and all your contributions we are in your debt my friend,” added Mulroney regarding Riley, one of the longest serving university presidents in Canada.

“I am forever grateful to my family, my friends, and the university. It’s the reason I’m smiling after 18 years,” said Riley.

Other guest speakers included the Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, as well as Rob Prichard, chairman of the board of BMO.

Over 400 senior business, government and community leaders to attend including:

Dr. Kent MacDonald – incoming President of St. FX and current president of Algonquin College

David Peterson – former Premier of Ontario

Colleen Johnston – CFO, TD Bank Group

Ellen Costello – former president and CEO of BMO Financial Corp and US Country Head

Sean Boyd – CEO and President of Agnico Eagle Mines

Conrad Black – author/journalist

Seamus O’Regan – journalist

Dr. Robert Francis – Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Medcan Health Services

Terrance Wolff – Past Chairman and CEO, Corpfinance International Ltd.

Kevin Morris – Partner, Torys LLP

Hon. Kathleen Casey – MLA for Charlottetown, PEI and Speaker of the legislative assembly

Ron Joyce – The Ron Joyce Foundation

John Tory – Candidate of Toronto mayoral race