Over the years, A. John Ellis has given his time and energy to SFU in numerous ways. He was Convocation Founder, member of the first Senate and a 1992 honorary degree recipient.
Today, at age 96, he continues to offer his wisdom to the university through initiatives such as envision>SFU, but his major focus is on supporting students in the Beedie School of Business. The A. John Ellis Graduate Endowment was initally established in 1995 with a $2,500 gift made in his honour to celebrate his 80th birthday. Since then, his donations together with other grants has created a fund, which provides scholarships to five students each year.
"Education is vital for our students and the future of our great country as well," says Dr. Elllis. "The Canadian banking system is the best in the world. Why? - Because we have trained people who can develop and understand sensible regulations."
And Dr. Ellis knows banking. After serving with distinction in the Canadian Forces from 1940 to 1945, he rejoined the Bank of Montreal, and retired in 1975 as Vice-Chairman of the Board while continuing to serve as Director until 1986 - an appointment he held for thirteen years. He is now an Honourary Director of the Bank of Montreal. Dr. Ellis has also served as a Director or Chairman of 36 companies.
From international banking to international relations, Dr. Ellis is also known for his leadership in promoting Pacific Rim trading opportunities. As Canadian Chairman and Director of the Pacific Basin Economic Council, as a founding Director and now Honorary Director of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and as Chairman and Director of the Canada Development Corporation, he has been an exemplary agent for change in east-west business and cultural relations.
A strong proponent of free enterprise and the Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce movement, Dr. Ellis first became an active member in 1934 which culminated in his becoming President/Chair of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in 1972. During his tenure in office, he and his wife visited every Canadian Province and the NW Territories as well as many international locations on speech-making tours. The CCofC has a membership of some 125,000 and is still very active and well regarded by business and governments. On retirement, he was made a "Governor of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce" - a lifetime appointment. His association with the movement and Chairmanship resulted in his becoming actively involved with many business and cultural activities outside of banking.
His achievements were recognized in 1983 by his appointment to the Order of Canada. In 1989, Japan paid him tribute by naming him to The Order of the Rising Sun, one of the country's highest decorations.