Lynton “Red” Wilson, B.A., M.A., LL.D; Chairman, The Wilson Foundation; Chancellor Emeritus, McMaster University; and Chancellor, Order of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. His support for the establishment of this leadership award is informed by his career in business, public service, and philanthropy.

Lynton Wilson's Profile Picture

Lynton “Red” Wilson

Founder of The Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

Lynton “Red” Wilson ’62 ’95 (honorary) has long been one of McMaster’s most active and high profile volunteers. He has served on the University’s Board of Governors, chaired the Changing Tomorrow Today Campaign, served on the campaign cabinet executive for The Campaign for McMaster University and served two terms as the University’s chancellor.

He is also one of McMaster’s most generous and diversely interested philanthropists. He created bursaries for student-athletes and gave one of the largest gifts to the Athletics & Recreation Centre and Stadium campaign. His gift of $3.5 million established the Wilson Institute in Canadian History and the L.R. Wilson Chair in Canadian History. He also helped establish the L.R. Wilson/Bell Canada Chair in Data Communications. In 2007, he announced a gift of $10 million in support of a new facility for Humanities and Social Sciences. The resulting L.R. Wilson Hall is home to many Socrates Project events – a Liberal Arts initiative, to which Dr. Wilson contributed $2 million.

Over the course of five decades, Dr. Wilson established storied careers in both public service and the private sector. His career began in the Canadian public service as a foreign service officer with the federal Department of Trade and Commerce, included appointments at the Canadian embassies in Austria and Japan, within the Ministry of State, Science and Technology and as deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism. In the private sector, he was president and CEO of Redpath Industries followed by his appointment as president and chief executive officer, then chairman, of BCE Inc. He has served as a director on more than 50 corporate boards.

Dr. Wilson served on the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service from 2006-2010 and chaired the Government of Canada’s Competition Policy Review from 2007-2008. He also chaired the federal government’s Team Canada Inc. Advisory Board and was a member of ITAC during the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement negotiations. In 1999, he co-founded the Historica Foundation of Canada, which is dedicated to improving Canadians’ appreciation for our compelling history.

He is an officer of the Order of Canada, Chancellor of the Order of the Business Hall of Fame, was awarded the Public Policy Forum’s Distinguished Service to Canada Award and is the 2014 recipient of the Vanier Medal, honouring his contributions to the public service in Canada. He has received honorary degrees from seven Canadian universities, including McMaster.

Dr. Wilson, a leader who excels in driving change, innovation and growth, is an exemplary role model for young Canadians.

Sean Van Koughnett is the Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) & Dean of Students at McMaster. His leadership philosophy has been molded through his experience as a high performance athlete and a career dedicated to improving the student experience in higher education.

Sean Van Koughnett's Profile Picture

Sean Van Koughnett

Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

Sean arrived at McMaster in 2013, having established a track record of excellence, leadership and innovation in his varied pursuits. A competitive basketball player in his student years, Sean won silver at the World University (FISU) games in 1993, was one of the final cuts from the 2000 Canadian Olympic team, and served as five-time co-captain and MVP of the University of Waterloo Warriors basketball team. Turning his leadership to higher education, he founded Velocity, a program for student entrepreneurs, which now houses North America’s largest free startup incubator. He then launched the University of Waterloo’s Student Success Office and became its inaugural director.

As AVP (Students and Learning) & Dean of Students at McMaster, Sean fosters an engaging, challenging and supportive experience for our students. He has contributed to strategies to meet increasing student need in Athletics & Recreation, Housing/Residence Life, the Registrar’s Office, Student Accessibility Services, Student Conduct & Community Standards, the Student Success Centre, and the Student Wellness Centre. As a collaborative leader who excels at developing people, Sean is a key mentor and role model for the Wilson Leaders.

Liz Koblyk's Profile Picture

Liz Koblyk

Associate Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

Liz is a proud Mac grad (’98 and ’05) whose career has centred on developing people, whether as an educator, career advisor, writer or manager. She brings to her work her own experiences as the recipient of transformative award programs, including the Rotary Ambassadorial Award and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant. Through her work with thousands of clients in non-profit, college and university settings, she has seen how support and mentorship help people achieve their potential. Benefiting from informal mentorship herself, she developed award-winning alumni career programming at McMaster, established staff career advising at the University of Waterloo, and became Assistant Director of the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Career Action, where she led her team through a significant reorganization. She has also been a regular contributor to the University Affairs Careers Café blog since 2010.

“McMaster has always developed great leaders, and it is a privilege to cultivate the potential of our next generation. I look forward to working with our Wilson Leaders, and to providing them with the guidance and experiences that will challenge and inspire them.”
— Sean Van Koughnett, Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

“My post-graduation career decision was the direct result of mentoring advice from two of my McMaster professors. It’s a pleasure to support dedicated mentorship and leadership opportunities for a new generation of exceptional McMaster students who are ready to forge their own paths.”
— Lynton "Red" Wilson

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