John Elliott of Midhurst has been awarded an Honourary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree by Georgian College’s Board of Governors.
The honourary degree is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to society, achieved noted accomplishments in a particular field of study or applied education, or enhanced or promoted the college’s image and reputation in Ontario or elsewhere.
Elliott, a Midhurst resident, spent his career in hands-on occupations – first as a tradesman and then as a business owner. Applied learning was his specialty and he and his wife Margaret viewed Georgian College as the perfect partner for enabling future generations to obtain an education that leads to meaningful and fulfilling careers.
Born in Toronto and educated at Upper Canada College, Elliott worked for several years learning his trade in the construction industry and related services. In 1960, he started his own ready-mix concrete business. Ten years later, he purchased The Sarjeant Co. Ltd, growing the firm from two plants in Barrie and Orillia to more than 12 locations providing concrete, fuel and aggregates across Ontario.
As Chairman of The Sarjeant Company, Elliott’s ties to Georgian College date back to more than a decade. He recalled meeting with Georgian College President and CEO Brian Tamblyn years ago to discuss training needs in the construction industry, such as quality control testing for concrete. Elliott was impressed with Georgian’s enthusiasm for researching new programs and courses with the goal of making recruitment in his industry easier.
When Georgian began to plan the Centre for Health and Wellness at the Barrie Campus – the largest academic building project in the college’s history – Elliott saw the opportunity to make a difference to the future well-being of his community. He and Margaret contributed a $1-million leadership gift to the centre.
“Georgian College is honoured to recognize John for the incredible contributions to his sector and community. His business and philanthropic support have literally helped to build communities on a regional level and beyond,” said Tamblyn.
The 172,000-square-foot centre, which opened in the fall of 2011, features six community-accessible health clinics and multiple simulation labs, where students receive hands-on training in their health care discipline. Fifteen full-time health and wellness programs are offered in the new centre, as well as numerous Part-time Studies courses. Georgian will be able to double its full-time health and wellness student enrolment to 3,000 from 1,500.