Friend of Education - 2014

The Friend of Education Award, supported by The Offord Group, recognizes outstanding service or commitment to post-secondary or independent school education by a volunteer, organization, foundation, corporation or publication. The recipient will have made a significant contribution in a leadership role to the cause of institutional advancement or education in Canada. This award is made possible by The Offord Group.

The Offord Group


2014 CCAE Friend of Education Award

Eric Newell

Eric Newell is a legendary corporate leader and innovator who has made lasting contributions to the economic health of Alberta and Canada, as well as the strength and diversity of the country's workforce. His reputation as a business leader who continually strives to strengthen partnerships between education and business is well known, and his commitment to corporate social responsibility is remarkable.

CCAE is proud to recognize Eric Newell with the 2014 CCAE Friend of Education Award, supported by The Offord Group.

Dr. Newell has worked extensively to encourage businesses to work with post-secondary institutions. His outstanding service has led to the development of scholarships and has strengthened the quality of education for numerous students. He has publicly stated - and actively demonstrated - that he and his wife, Kathy, have always supported scholarships and bursaries, and that they have chosen to invest in education by investing directly in young people.

Dr. Newell's long-standing association with the University of Alberta includes service as chair of the Board of Governors (1996-2002), before becoming the 18th Chancellor of the University (2004-08).  As Chancellor Emeritus, he continues to lend his expertise to the University of Alberta as a Special Advisor to the Provost.

Said O'Neil Outar, Vice-President, Advancement at the University of Alberta:
“Despite his many prestigious awards and recognitions, Dr. Newell is humble about his accomplishments, pointing to the strong teams he has been fortunate to assemble and work with. When asked to describe his formula for success, he shares a philosophy that, like the man himself, is intelligent, forward-looking and compassionate. He suggests that the role of a leader is to articulate a shared vision, help people realize they are part of a larger community and need to work as a team to achieve success.”

Eric Newell served Syncrude Canada Ltd. for 14 years as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (1989-2003) and for 9 years as Chairman (1994-2003). He also served as President from 1989 to 1997. In 2001, Dr. Newell's earned distinction as Alberta's most respected CEO. He retired from Syncrude in 2003.

During Dr. Newell's tenure at Syncrude, he was lauded for the role he played in the company's development of a strong sense of corporate social responsibility and for spearheading several innovative educational and community development initiatives. Due to his efforts, Syncrude also became Canada's largest industrial employer of Aboriginal people.

The honorary doctorates bestowed on Eric Newell by the University of Lethbridge, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, and Athabasca University reflect his tireless work for universities in Canada. Among his many other awards and recognitions are an Honorary Diploma from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT); Outstanding Business Leader Award from Wilfrid Laurier University; Mount Royal College Distinguished Citizen Award; Keyano College Distinguished Citizen Award; and Alberta School Boards Association President’s Award for Contributions to Education in Alberta.

As an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and inductee into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame, Eric Newell's significant commitments have been recognized throughout his career. In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of British Columbia. Most recently, Dr. Newell was honoured with the 2012 Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Sodexo.

Eric Newell holds a Master of Science in Management Studies (1968) from the University of Birmingham, England, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering (1967) from the University of British Columbia.

He is involved with numerous organizations, including Careers: The Next Generation Foundation, which he created in 1989. Since its inception, the Foundation has helped some 500,000 young Albertans from across the province develop career plans, and has given thousands more the opportunity to take on internship positions. He has also been actively involved in leadership roles with the Centre for Family Literacy and The Learning Partnership.