Jon Thompson   2001 UNB Service Award Recipient

Jon Thompson has distinguished himself through extraordinary service to his Department, the University and the profession at large.

Throughout his three terms as Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics he has provided strong leadership through some very difficult times. As a result, the Department has substantially increased its research commitment and has attracted a number of outstanding young members to its faculty ranks. Over the years, there are few Departmental, Faculty or University committees which have not benefited from Jon's dedication, energy, enthusiasm and wisdom.

Jon's most visible service contribution has been his long and productive involvement with AUNBT and his contribution to establishing the very positive labour relations climate that prevails at UNB. He has been a member of every AUNBT negotiating team since certification in the late1970s through which he has had a strong impact on the content of the Collective Agreement. He has also been a member of both the AUNBT Grievance Committee and the AUNBT Executive during that same lengthy period except for brief breaks when he was on leave. This service included three years as Vice President, two years as President and ten years as Chair of the Grievance Committee. In these roles, he made major contributions to the administration of the Collective Agreement and was always in the forefront of leadership. No one else has made a greater contribution to establishing and maintaining the interest based model of labour relations at UNB which is so widely admired across Canada by both union and administration representatives.

But Jon's record extends well beyond the borders of UNB. He has also devoted himself to service of the profession at large through his long and active involvement in the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. His dedication to the cause of academic freedom has led him to strong contributions particularly to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of CAUT of which he was a member for several years and which he served in an outstanding way as Chair. In that capacity he was able to negotiate solutions to a number of difficult cases, restoring full protection for academic freedom in cases where it had been infringed. He is one of a select few who has been awarded the very prestigious Milner Award of CAUT for service to the defence and promotion of academic freedom in Canada. He has also been awarded the FNBFA Nicole Raymond Award for outstanding service to the profession by a New Brunswick professor. One of the outcomes of this distinguished record of service and the high regard in which his contribution is held is Jon's appointment to some very high profile Boards of Enquiry. He was a member of the Arthurs Commission into Academic and Scientific Integrity which investigated the underlying contributing circumstances behind the tragic Fabrikant Case at Concordia University. He is currently chairing a Board of Enquiry into the Olivieri case at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children.

These types of enquiries require people of extraordinary tenacity, ethical standards, wisdom and tact which is a great tribute to Jon. They inevitably also lead to ground breaking recommendations about how universities can avoid such problems in the future, which further enhance and expand the protection of academic freedom and fair process within Canadian universities, and provide a great service to the profession at large. In that regard, Jon co-authored with Professor Arthurs the definitive Canadian work on "Integrity in Scholarship" which made lasting contributions to Canadian academic standards.

Finally, Jon has also served the broader mathematics community through his work as a Council Member and Member of the Board of Directors of the Fields Institute, and through many contributions to curriculum and teacher preparation. His term on the Fields Institute Board was the critical time during which the Institute struggled with implementing its vision of establishing a permanent home and becoming one of the pre-eminent mathematics "think tanks".

No one has contributed more in the past 25 years to making UNB the institution it is today. Similarly, there no one other than Dr. Don Savage who has contributed more to the promotion and defense of Academic Freedom in Canada during that time period. In my opinion, Jon's service to UNB and to the professoriate of Canada sets the Gold Standard. He richly deserves recognition for these outstanding contributions.


Presented by Allan Sharp, Dean of Science
February 16, 2001