Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 11, 2004
Jean Forest receives Carr award
Former senator honoured with the first Kevin Carr Leadership Award
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Catholic community took time out Sept. 29 to honour Jean Forest for a remarkable life of service.
Some 170 people attended a Petroleum Club luncheon where Forest, a former senator and chancellor emeritus of the University of Alberta, received the first Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award in recognition of her contributions to post-secondary education, Catholic education, human rights and community building.
The Kevin Carr award was established by Newman Theological College to honour individuals whose outstanding Christian leadership reflects the values of the college and the qualities that Carr cherished and exhibited in his work as college president.
Father Jack Gallagher, the president of Newman, and Justice Cecilia Johnstone, the college's chancellor, presented the award to Forest.
Walk the Christian talk
"I'm deeply honoured but also deeply humbled to have been chosen as the first recipient of the Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award," Forest said, praising Carr for having led Newman "further and further" along the road of academic excellence and for having coached it into being a vibrant community that walks the Christian talk.
"It is because of this that I treasure so highly the honour that you have bestowed on me today; because it carries the name of a man for whom I have the highest regard and because it comes from the kind of faith community that's always in the cornerstone of my life."
Carr was the first layperson to serve as Newman College president. He served from 1993 to 2001.
During his tenure, the college introduced programs that enabled it to better serve students from across Western Canada, created youth and lay ministries programs, introduced electronic delivery programs, became accredited with the Association of Theological Schools of the U.S and Canada and completed a $4-million capital construction project, which included a new library and seminary residence.
At the luncheon, Carr thanked the college for seeing fit to confer an award in his name and said he was especially pleased that the first recipient was Forest.
"I can't think of a more deserving individual," he said. "Her remarkable journey is one that inspires us all."
Alvin Morris, a member of Newman's board of governors and the team that nominated Forest for the award, said Forest was a "natural choice" for the award because of her outstanding leadership in promoting Catholic education, human rights and Christian values and her remarkable record of community service over the years. Among other things, Forest served on committees of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was vice-chair of the board of governors of Newman College, and president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association.
Her contributions have not gone unrecognized. Forest has received more than 20 awards, medals and citations over the years.
She was appointed officer of the Order of Canada in 1987, received an honourary doctorate from the University of Waterloo in 1996 and was recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
A native of Manitoba, Forest and her husband Rocky moved to Alberta in 1947. For the next 50 years they lived in Edmonton and both took an active part in the community.
As a former teacher and mother of seven, Forest's interest in education led her to become a school trustee for Edmonton Catholic Schools, a position which she served for nine years, until 1977, three of those years as chair of the board.
In 1972, she was elected to the senate of the University of Alberta and shortly thereafter became a member of the university's board of governors.
After six years in these positions, she was elected chancellor of the university and served the four-year term, from 1978 to 1982.
She also served for a number of years as a chairperson of the senate of St. Stephen's College, a United Church college on the university campus.
Over the years, Forest was called to serve the province in a number of ways, including being appointed to Alberta's first Human Rights Commission in 1974 and the minister's advisory committee on the constitution in 1978.
She also served as a member of the Alberta Education's provincial appeals committee and in 1994, she was appointed a member of the Alberta human rights review panel.
"I can't think of a more deserving individual."
- Kevin Carr
Forest's record of service within the Church is equally impressive. For a number of years, she served as western representative of a number of committees set up by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, including committees dealing with issues such as catechetics, the family and the role of women in the Church.
She also served on the national pastoral committee for the papal visit to Canada and led the now-defunct Edmonton archdiocesan Council for Women.
In 1996, Forest was appointed to the Senate of Canada and served until her resignation in 1998. She resigned because of concerns for her husband's health. The couple retired to Victoria, where Forest is active in Church work and tutors immigrant children. She also serves as a consultant to the Island Catholic School Board.
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