J.S. Woodsworth was a clergyman, social reformer, member of parliament, and founder of the Canadian Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and a remarkable Canadian. Early in his career he broke from the conventional role of the clergy and devoted himself to action in the world around issues of social justice, peace, and equality. His contribution to Canada continues today not only in the form of public benefits such as pensions and unemployment insurance, but more importantly in Canadian political traditions based on equity, social obligation, and civic responsibility.
An endowment fund in the name of J.S. Woodsworth was established in 1984 as part of the Humanities Department and the Institute for the Humanities to:
- support educational and community development efforts by individuals and groups within communities;
- offer undergraduate courses that centre on social justice, community development and civic responsibility;
- fund the J.S. Woodsworth Chair position in the Department of Humanities;
- initiate in-depth and long-term research into social and cultural issues that are of central concern to the Woodsworth Program;
- build strong ties with the community through scheduled series of symposia, workshops and conferences funded by the Endowment;
- address directly the place of a humanistic, liberal arts education in the 21st century university and in the 21st century world of work.
The purpose of the J.S. Woodsworth Endowment is to provide for a full-time teaching position in the department of Humanities and when feasible, fund other positions and community activities in order to recognize the contributions of J.S. Woodsworth to Canada. The holder of the Woodsworth Chair will combine teaching and research with active engagement in issues concerning the wider community, local and national, as well as international.
The holder of the Woodsworth Chair works with the Director of the Institute for the Humanities and other faculty to further public understanding of the mandate.