Friend of Education - 2007

Norman Eric Webster and Alice Patterson (Pat) Webster

Norman Eric Webster

As President of the R. Howard Webster Foundation, a respected journalist and volunteer, Norman Webster has been a constant advocate and supporter of education at many levels. The R.H. Webster Foundation reports annual gifts and grants of almost $5 million to charities across Canada.

Born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Norman Webster grew up in Sherbrooke, Quebec and is a graduate of Bishop’s University. He attended St. John’s College at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar before beginning a distinguished career in journalism. He is a former editor-in-chief of both the Globe and Mail and The Montreal Gazette. Mr. Webster has won two National Newspaper Awards - the first for coverage of China’s “ping pong diplomacy”, while a correspondent in Beijing for the Globe and Mail; the second award for editorial writing. Other postings with the Globe were in London, Quebec, Ottawa and Queen’s Park. He also spent a year in Winnipeg at the Free Press. Since 1990, Mr. Webster has written a weekly column for the Montreal Gazette.

His direct community involvement includes terms on the boards of Green College at the University of British Columbia, the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, McGill University Health Centre Foundation, Bishop’s University, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Michener Awards Foundation, and the Asia Pacific Foundation. Norman Webster served as chancellor of UPEI from 1996 to 2004 and was elevated to Chancellor Emeritus in 2006. He was a member of the UPEI Building a Legacy Campaign cabinet and is a Member of the Order of Canada.


Alice Patterson Webster

Ms Webster is a pioneer in bilingual education, as the founding President of Canadian Parents for French, an organization dedicated to promoting and creating French second-language opportunities for young Canadians across the country. A native of West Virginia, Pat Webster became aware of the advantages of bilingualism upon her marriage and arrival in Canada. When a group of concerned parents from across Canada launched CPF in 1977, she was elected its first president.

Ms Webster has been a member of the Ontario government’s French Language Services Commission and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Society of Education Visits and Exchanges in Canada (SEVEC). Most recently, she is one of the key organizers and builders of the popular multi-lingual Montreal literary festival, Metropolis Bleu / Blue Metropolis. She has served on the Boards of The Toronto French School and York University. She has volunteered for The Piggery Theatre and The Stratford Festival, served as Chair of the Board at Bishop’s College School (BCS) and chaired a very successful capital campaign. Pat Webster has been an active fundraiser for causes about which she feels passionate, and has raised millions in aid of education and the Arts.

In 1998, Canadian Heritage recognized Ms. Webster for her exemplary promotion of linguistic duality. For her extensive work in establishing CPF, she was awarded the Ordre national de mérite (National Order of Merit) by the French Embassy in Ottawa in October 2003 and an Honorary Doctorate from Laurentian University. In 2006, she was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from the University of PEI and delivered the convocation address.

Individually, Norman Webster and Pat Webster are worthy recipients of the Wellington West Clearsight Friend of Education Award. Together, they are an outstanding team who personify true friends of education.