Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX announces Dr. John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility

December 13th, 2016
L-r, StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald, Schwartz School Dean Dr. Tim Hynes, Dr. John T. Sears, and Adrienne and John Peacock

Dr. John T. Sears is a name synonymous with StFX for over 50 years, and now it’s one that is part of the very fabric of the university itself.

A large crowd gathered Dec. 13, 2016 to celebrate as StFX announced the Dr. John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility, a new academic chair honoring the achievements of a distinguished alumnus, admired professor, respected administrator, community leader and mentor to many.

The new chair will enhance StFX’s teaching and research capacity in the field of corporate social responsibility, which examines how businesses and institutions contribute to the well-being of their communities at large.

The chair is made possible through the generous donation of $3 million from John and Adrienne Peacock, both members of the StFX Class of 1963. Mr. Peacock was a student of Dr. Sears.

The gift is one of the single largest donations in the history of StFX.

“In our mind, we’re not giving, but giving back,” Mr. Peacock said.

For him and his wife, who met on the StFX campus, their time at university was much more than a learning experience. It was a living experience that helped shape their lives for the better, he says.

“When I think of my learning experience, there is one clear standout professor who made a great impression on me, that was Johnny Sears,” he said. “I feel a special bond, which makes this occasion very significant and special.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity on behalf of Adrienne and myself to add our words of congratulations."


During the event, speaker after speaker remarked on the impact Dr. John Sears has had on StFX.

A 1952 graduate, he returned to his alma mater as a business professor. He would later serve terms as both dean of arts and dean of science and two appointments as academic vice-president. In 2002, StFX awarded Dr. Sears an honorary degree.  

“He’s a StFX man, through and through,” said son Mark Sears, who brought thanks on behalf of the family. “He’s put a lot into StFX over the years and it’s nice to see him recognized here today.”

Today’s gift honours a man whose legacy at StFX is great, and it will create opportunity for many students yet to come, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said as he added his congratulations and thanks to Dr. Sears for all he has done for StFX.

“This is a significant gift not only from a financial standpoint, but the fact you have looked to the past and the people who have made our university,” Dr. MacDonald said.

“It is not every day we have the good fortune to name an endowed chair of studies,” Gerald Schwartz School of Business Dean Dr. Tim Hynes said, noting the last one was in 1982.  “So you can see it’s a truly memorable occasion.”

In detailing Dr. Sears’ many accomplishments, Dr. Hynes said that not only did he serve StFX well, he gave back tremendously to the Antigonish community and was sought after regionally and nationally to share his expertise.

“What a wonderful day it is. Today is about history and one of those times in your life you get the opportunity to pay tribute to another person who has made a meaningful, a significant impact,” added StFX Academic Vice-President and Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley, who was master of ceremonies.

Father Sid Mifflin offered the invocation. Today is a day for celebration and of academic significance, he said, “but more than that it is about honoring a man who has been instrumental in the growth of the university.”

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