Accession GA212 - James Downey fonds.

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James Downey fonds.

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  • Source of title proper: Title from content of the fonds.

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  • 1963-2003 (Creation)
    Downey, James, 1939-

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Physical description

ca. 4.8 m of textual records

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Name of creator

Biographical history

James Downey was born in Winterton, Newfoundland in 1939. A graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, he attended the University of London as a Rothermere Fellow and earned a PhD in English literature. At Carleton University, where he began his career, he held a series of academic and administrative posts including Vice-President Academic and President pro tempore .
From 1980-90 he was President of the University of New Brunswick. During that period he also served terms as President of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Chair of the Association of Atlantic Universities, and Chair of the Corporate-Higher Education Forum.
From 1990-93 he was Special Advisor to the Premier of New Brunswick; Special Advisor to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; and co-chair of the New Brunswick Commission on Excellence in Education, which published two reports that guided educational reform in that province.
James Downey was President of the University of Waterloo from 1993 to 1999. During his presidency of the University of Waterloo, he also served terms as Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities and Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. His publications include The Eighteenth Century Pulpit (Oxford University Press, 1969), Fearful Joy (McGill-Queen1s University Press, 1973), Schools For A New Century and To Live and Learn (reports of the New Brunswick Commission on Excellence in Education, 1992, 1993), and Innovation: Essays by Leading Canadian Researchers, edited with Lois Claxton (Key Porter Books, 2002).
After stepping down as president, he founded and directed at Waterloo Canada’s first centre for the study of co-operative education; led an annual seminar for new university presidents sponsored by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; and from 2007 to 2010 was founding president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
Among his awards are nine honorary degrees; the Symons Medal for outstanding service to higher education in the Commonwealth; and the David C. Smith Award for contributions to universities and public policy in Canada.
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Source: text from

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of material relating to activities and interests of James Downey from 1963 to 2004. The fonds contains biographical information, manuscripts and typescripts of his published works and speeches, "commonplace books," files relating to his various academic positions, files relating to consulting and advisory work on behalf of provincial governments. Includes appointment calendars, clippings, personal and professional correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts and typescripts, reports and research materials.

Also includes papers received from Florence Reid.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by James Downey in 2005.


The fonds is arranged in 10 series:
1. Appointment Calendars (File 1-30)
2. Consulting and Advisory Files (File 31-44)
3. James Downey's Memorabilia (File 45-71)
4. James Downey's Papers and Articles from Carleton University Years (File 72-85)
5. Miscellaneous Correspondence (File 86-175)
6. Notebooks (File 176-198)
7. Speeches and Speech Notes (File 199-261)
8. Works by James Downey : Manuscripts (File 262-266)
9. Works by James Downey : The Eighteenth Century Pulpit (File 267-274)
10. Writings and letters of Florence Reid (File 275-281)

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