OUR FOUNDER – DR. RONALD CALHOUN, O.M.C
By making a profound difference in the lives of countless people coast to coast, and contributing to life in Canada, Ronald Calhoun is recognized as a notable citizen in the Canadian Who’s Who. Through his extensive and tireless leadership in supporting and coordinating cross-country charitable fundraisers, including Steve Fonyo’s Journey for Lives for Cancer Research, Ken McColm’s Incredible Journey for Diabetes Research, Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope for Cancer Research (a name coined by Ron) and Jesse’s Journey for Gene and Cell Therapy Research, Calhoun is also hailed as a volunteer extraordinaire.
Throughout his stellar volunteer life Calhoun has served on numerous boards and in many capacities including, Ontario and National Fundraising Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society, National Vice-Chair of the Cancer’s Society Public Issues Committee, Ontario Fundraising Chair of The Canadian Diabetes Association, National Chair of the Foundation for Gene and Cell Therapy (Jesse’s Journey), National Board and founding member for the ALS Society of Canada, Ontario Vice President of the London-Middlesex Canadian Mental Health Association, Finance Chairman of the Fifth World Conference on Smoking and Health, Chair of Western’s Gordon J. Morgenson Trust in Physiology, community member of the U.W.O Senate and a member of the U.W.O Non-Human Research Ethics Board.
During his vast work career, Calhoun also earned a strong reputation for loving his work so much that he put off retirement until June 2011. As an active member of the administrative team at Diesel Division General Motors (GM), Calhoun enjoyed tremendous corporate support of his extensive volunteer endeavors through the years. Calhoun left his mark on the corporate world by establishing the Employers Advocacy Council in Ontario in 1985, for which he served as Chair for a number of years.
Following his retirement from GM in 1987, Calhoun was approached by The University Of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto to co-create and serve as Executive Director for an organization he titled Partners In Research (PIR). More than 24 years later this national Canadian Charity continues to thrive in its mandate to educate the lay public particularly young people, about the history, importance, accomplishments and promise of the health research and more recently expanded to include, the natural sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Among his additional achievements, Calhoun is founder of PIR’s Virtual Researcher On Call (VROC), a national interactive video-conferencing educational program enabling students in the classroom to virtually interact directly with researchers from a host of Canadian Universities in real time. He was also very involved in establishing The Scientific Journey. This free annual event has brought hundreds of local high school students and members of London community to the Western Campus to hear lectures about innovative research projects taking place at the university.
Throughout his life, Calhoun has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including, The Operation Lifestyle Award, National Health and Welfare (People of Canada 1978), the General Motors of Canada Gold Award (1980), Humanitarian Award (People of Ontario, 1987), Honourary Life Membership in the Canadian Cancer Society (1987), the Air Canada Heart of Gold Award (1988), the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship (OMC 1996), the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award (2008), Doctor’s of Law honoris causa Degree from Western University in June 2011, inaugural recipient of the Ronald G. Calhoun Science Ambassador Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).
To quote Dr. Douglas Jones of Western University, “Ronald George Calhoun is a national treasure; an exemplary citizen for our times. He has achieved a record of service to our community that is without parallel.”