Lorne Davies, LL.D., June 3, 2014
Lorne Davies
O.B.C.; B.Ed.(Western Washington State); M.Sc.(Oregon)

Lorne Davies counseled Terry Fox before and after his valiant run. For the past 40 years, Lorne Davies has championed sports in Canada and influenced thousands of young athletes - some famous, some not - but all nevertheless enriched by the impact of Mr. Davies’s commitment to them and their sports. A former football player and coach, Mr. Davies has long been a pioneer, leader, motivator, teacher and tireless volunteer worthy of recognition, and the University of Manitoba is proud to celebrate and honour him.

Mr. Davies counseled Terry Fox, a student athlete at Simon Fraser University, before and after his Marathon of Hope. Mr. Davies helped develop the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program and is now its executive director, providing support to outstanding young Canadians, encouraging them to pursue humanitarian work while studying in a Canadian college or university. The program has produced more than 75 medical doctors, 50 teachers, hundreds of other professionals in a wide variety of fields and seven recipients of the prestigious Rhodes scholarship. Mr. Davies also raised funds and organized to have a bronze statue of Terry Fox, worth $75,000, displayed on the Simon Fraser University campus to honour the Canadian hero.

For half a century Mr. Davies has been committed to community service, lending his voice to various causes that foster young athletic talent, including the B.C. Special Olympics and the Provincial Drugs in Sport Task Force. In 2000, he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia for his lifetime of achievement. Mr. Davies’s dedication to transforming sports in Canada has spanned decades and helped inspire generation after generation of Canadians. Just like the athletes whose lives he has touched, Mr. Davies shows us what is possible when we dare to go further and pursue our personal best.

As director of athletics and recreation at Simon Fraser University - a position he held for three decades, from 1965 to 1995 - Mr. Davies created the current gold standard for athletic programs and award funding in Canada. The groundbreaking program he established in his first year there has since been adopted by most universities and colleges across Canada. Mr. Davies’s forward-thinking produced the first university athletic endowment fund and the first university athletic awards program in Canada—all during a time when athletic scholarships were being openly shunned. His awards program sparked a change nationwide that has helped post-secondary institutions, including the University of Manitoba, keep Canadian athletes from leaving for more lucrative opportunities south of the border. Mr. Davies’s model also aimed to put male and female athletes on equal footing. In the 1960s, women in sport didn’t have as many teams or receive the same level of coaching, funding or equipment. When Mr. Davies built his varsity program he leveled the playing field: nine of the 18 teams were female and everyone would receive top coaching, equipment and equal scholarships.

Indeed, Mr. Davies changed the athletic landscape in Canada. But he also directly helped to shape our country’s young athletes. He coached 30 seasons of football at various levels, from high school to professional. Mr. Davies was assistant coach at Western Washington State University, the University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia; was head coach of the Vancouver Blue Bombers junior team, a special assistant with the BC Lions when they won the 1964 Grey Cup, and the first coach at Simon Fraser University. He earned an education degree and Master of Science before joining Simon Fraser University where, under his leadership, their coaches produced the most players in the Canadian Football League, wrestlers on the Canadian Olympic team, swimmers on the Canadian national team, basketball players on the Canadian national team, and track and field athletes on the Canadian national team. Mr. Davies has helped develop numerous Olympic athletes and provided guidance on sport, career and life to athletic and humanitarian heroes like Karen Magnusson, Debbie Brill, Dave Cutler, Jay Triano, Wayne Holm, Lui Passaglia and Terry Fox.

The University of Manitoba is proud to award an Honorary Doctor of Laws to Mr. Lorne Davies for all the work he has done to inspire those who inspire us through sport.
Lorne Davies

Lorne Davies