Feb. 4, 2015
The J.D. Eaton Award is one of four Alumni Tribute honours awarded each year, and this particular award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Memorial University. As chairman of the board of St. John’s, N.L.-based Crosbie Group Ltd., Robert Crosbie serves as a member of the board of directors of Emera N.L., ASCO Canada and Forent Energy. He is also the past chairman of the board of Marine Atlantic Inc. Since graduation in 1979, Mr. Crosbie has remained connected to his alma mater, giving back to the Faculty of Business Administration and the university in many ways. Contributor David Penney will spotlight each 2014 Alumni Tribute Award recipient in this and upcoming issues of the Gazette
You’ve remained connected to Memorial through committee work and volunteering, as well as supporting various scholarships and student success initiatives. Why is this important to you?
Robert: I’ve always volunteered a significant amount of time to organizations that will have a positive impact on the province. Memorial’s role and impact on moving Newfoundland and Labrador forward, both in terms of innovation and the talent we need to be successful, that can’t be stressed enough. Memorial’s business faculty has a great international reputation and its graduates are doing tremendous work with important organizations across Canada and much further afield. So, we’re constantly building new connections and seeing new opportunities for this province through those individuals who are the best ambassadors for Newfoundland and Labrador. One hopes that they will also bring some of that experience and learning back home.
Is it fair to say your interest in supporting students and scholarships is connected to this?
Robert: Absolutely. Student support and creating opportunities for young people – that’s where the success stories for the province get started. I also get a lot of personal satisfaction from seeing our young people grow and develop. To be a part of enabling potential in someone, and to witness that progress – either through mentoring or contributing to a scholarship, that’s very rewarding. It’s a strong motivator for me.
What do you think is most important for Memorial’s success?
Robert: Memorial needs to attract highly skilled educators and researchers, which it has been, and also build world-class facilities. We’ve seen a real focus on that infrastructure piece in recent years and I think that’s critical. In combination, all those things will help us attract as many top students as possible, from this province and around the world. We need that diversity of experience and opinion to push the boundaries. A key component in all this is the provincial government, that they continue to support and prioritize funding for the university. Progress at Memorial directly influences and advances so many other initiatives that benefit the people and communities in our province – it just makes sense.
How does it feel to be receiving the J.D. Eaton Award?
Robert: I was quite shocked when I found out. There are a lot of people out there who are working very hard on behalf of Memorial to ensure the university’s success. I never thought I was doing more than answering the call to assist as many more do. It feels humbling.