Fanshawe College Remembers First President
The Fanshawe College community was deeply saddened to learn of the death of its founding President. Dr. James A. Colvin has died following a lengthy illness. Dr. Colvin was President from 1967 until 1979.
In learning of Dr. Colvin's death during graduation week at the London Campus, Fanshawe President, Howard Rundle said "the College has lost one of its fathers; a man who had a clear vision of what role Fanshawe should play in the lives of individuals and in the community. He knew there was a need for applied learning and he believed that each and every person could succeed if given the opportunity. Dr. Colvin would be proud to see that realized in the lives of over 5,000 people who graduated this week, and who joined the 110,000 alumni worldwide."
Dr. Colvin was a believer in the social role of the new community colleges when they were founded in the late 60s by the Ontario government. He predicted that they would revolutionize education with broad-based education and training for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. He forecast a system that would turn out "job-ready" graduates whose work would have a direct impact on the economy. Dr. Colvin wrote in 1967, "The community college is a major sociological breakthrough - an unconditional offer of tertiary education. There are virtually no limits to what it can do, the courses it can offer or the participation of its community."
In December 1966, the Board of Governors named Dr. James A. Colvin as the first President of the new Fanshawe College. A native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Dr. Colvin served as a fighter pilot in the Second World War. After graduating from the University of Toronto and earning a doctorate in History and Politics at the University of London, he entered the diplomatic service. He served in the Department of External Affairs and was a senior official, handling relations with the United States. When Dr. Colvin was hired to head up the College in its inaugural year, 720 full-time students registered. Today, the College has over 15,000 full-time students and over 35,000 part-time registrants annually.
Dr. Colvin's family has remained directly involved in the success and growth of Fanshawe. A large common area and atrium is named in his honour at the London Campus. The Dr. James A. Colvin Atrium is located in the southwest corner of the College, the original site of the first Fanshawe College building, and its predecessor, the Ontario Vocational Centre. Dr. Colvin's son, Crispin Colvin, is currently a member of the Fanshawe College Board of Governors.
Dr. Rundle expressed sympathy to Dr. Colvin's family and said, "Dr. Colvin's vision
was very clear. It is now reflected in the diplomas and degrees of our graduates."