Congratulations to Sir John Daniel for his appointment to the Order of Canada, ‘for his advancement of open learning and distance education in Canada and around the world.’ This is a well deserved honour, above all for Sir John, but it is also an important recognition of the importance of open and distance learning.
I first met a then young John Daniel in the early 1970s, when he was a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University in the United Kingdom, where I was doing research on the television and radio broadcasts the BBC were making for the Open University. Since then, our paths have often crossed. At one time (exactly 24 years ago) I was emigrating from England to Canada at precisely the same time as John Daniel was coming from Canada to the United Kingdom to become Vice Chancellor of the Open University. I think of this as a hockey trade – the U.K. got a brilliant centre, and Canada got a grinder along the boards. (Yeah, well both are needed on a winning team).
Sir John has held senior academic positions at Télé-université, Québec, Athabasca University, and Concordia University, and was President of Laurentian University before becoming VC of the Open University. Later he became Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, and followed this by becoming President of the Commonwealth of Learning. He is now semi-retired but still based in Vancouver, BC, doing the occasional consultancy and many keynotes.
He now has national honours from three countries: L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, France; a knighthood from the United Kingdom; and the Order of Canada. Careful pinning on all those medals, John!