Past President’s Office | Dr. Richard Alway

Richard M. Alway O.C., O.Ont.
Richard M. Alway O.C., O.Ont.

Richard M. Alway O.C., O.Ont.

Richard M. Alway was born and received his early education in Hamilton, Ontario. He was a gold medalist in philosophy at St Michael’s College and graduated from the University of Toronto summa cum laude in 1962. He has two graduate degrees in Modern History from the University of Toronto.

A long time Warden of Hart House at the University of Toronto, he presently serves as the first lay President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Michael’s College, Toronto, a position he has held since 1990. In 1996 he was appointed Chair of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

In the past Dr. Alway has served on a number of national cultural boards and advisory committees. A member of the Board of Trustees of the National Museums of Canada from 1979 to 1986, he was Chairman of the National Gallery of Canada, of the National programs Committee of the National Museums, and at one point Acting Chairman of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as a member of the Board of the National Postal Museum and the Canadian Opera Company.

In 1986 he was appointed by Order in Council as Acting Director of the National Gallery of Canada on leave from the University of Toronto. He remained in this position during the construction phase of the new gallery building in Ottawa. While at the National Gallery he was also appointed Chairman and C.E.O. of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, the province’s lead agency for architectural, archaeological, and natural heritage, a post he held for the maximum allowable 2 three-year terms.

In addition to the foregoing Dr. Alway was a broadcast commentator on Canada’s largest radio station, CFRB, for ten years between 1976 and 1986, and acted as publisher of The Catholic Register, Canada’s largest Catholic newspaper for two years at the request of Cardinal Emmett Carter, following the sudden death of Father Sean O’Sullivan. Dr. Alway was co-founder of St Basil’s Hostel for homeless youth, founding Chairman of the Cathedral Council of St Michael’s Cathedral, and has taken a leading role in various initiatives to promote further understanding and cooperation between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in Canada .

As well as being President of St Michael’s at the University of Toronto, Dr Alway is currently Chairman of the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation. Dr. Alway is also a collector of historic Canadian art and has donated works from his collection to a number of Ontario Galleries. He specializes in the work of Canadian women artists of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Dr Alway has served on a number of boards of voluntary associations including the Canadian Educational Standards Institute, and currently is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and Vice-Chair of the Board and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. He is also a member of the Board of W. F. Morneau Services Inc., a human resources consulting firm with offices in Canada and the U.S..

Dr. Alway was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1989 in recognition of his work in educational, cultural and ecumenical affairs. He was promoted within the Order in 1998 and currently holds the rank of Officer of the Order of Canada. The official citation refers to Dr. Alway’s “enthusiastic leadership in educational, cultural and ecumenical affairs…. His record of public service during challenging times inspires Canadians to become involved in shaping the future of our country.” He was also appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2001. Dr. Alway was awarded the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa in 1989. He has received various other honours including being appointed Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta, Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and Knight Grand Cross with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the highest recognition that can be awarded to a Catholic layperson. Dr. Alway is one of only two Toronto residents to be extended this honour in the past century.