David C. Smith Award

Honouring an individual who has made significant contributions to higher education

The David C. Smith Award is presented annually to an individual who has significantly advanced higher education and research. It is named for the late David C. Smith, who contributed to both scholarship and public policy on higher education. Each year’s recipient is invited to deliver a lecture on a subject related to the theme of the award. Past award winners include: Dr. Martha Piper, former president of the University of British Columbia; the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada; and Rob Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto. COU administers the selection process and organizes an annual dinner to celebrate the winner.


2016 David C. Smith Award Winner: Bonnie M. Patterson, Former President of the Council of Ontario Universities

Read the speech by Bonnie M. Patterson > 


2016 David C. Smith Award


2015 David C. Smith Award Winner: Alastair Summerlee, Former President of the University of Guelph


2015 David C. Smith Award gala


 2014 David C. Smith Award Winner: Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire

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2014 David C. Smith Award Dinner


2013 David C. Smith Award Winner: Dalton McGuinty, Former Premier of Ontario

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2013 David C. Smith Award Dinner


2012 David C. Smith Award Winner: Chaviva Hošek, CIFAR President Emeritus

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2011 David C. Smith Award Winner: Dr. Peter George, former President of McMaster University

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2010 David C. Smith Award Winner: Don Drummond, Economics Advisor at TD Financial

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2009 David C. Smith Award Winner: Dr. Martha Piper, former President of University of British Columbia

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2009 David C. Smith Award Dinner


2008 David C. Smith Award Winner: Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada


2008 David C. Smith Award Dinner


2007 David C. Smith Award Winner: Dr. Paul Axelrod, Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Education at York University

Read the speech by Dr. Paul Axelrod >

2007 David Smith Award