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About Donald Gordon

Donald Gordon was born on December 11th, 1901, in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of John Gordon and Margaret L. (Watt) Gordon. He attended public schools in Scotland.

In 1914 the Gordon family emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto where Donald got a job in a box factory. Within a few months, the truant officer caught up with the young Gordon and he was sent to Manning Avenue School in Toronto. When he reached the legal school-leaving age of fourteen, he began work as a blacksmith's helper. During the next two years, he worked as an electrician's helper and a magazine delivery boy. In 1916 Gordon accepted a job at the bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto.

During the next seven years, Gordon continued to further his education. He went to night school for five years. Also he took commercial correspondence courses. He took extramural courses at Queen's University equivalent to a degree in Economics as a Fellow of the the Canadian Bankers' Association.

His work at the Bank of Nova Scotia included work in Head Office and InspectionStaff, 1920-1926, Assistant Chief Accountant, 1926-1930 and Assistant Manager, Toronto Branch, 1930-1935. For a short time during the early 1930's Gordon was involved in radio broadcasting "The Marmalade Hour", a breakfast-hour program of light skits, light commentary and short stories that was broadcast for eighteen months on Radio CKGW in Toronto.

In February 1935 Gordon was appointed Secretary of the Bank of Canada on its establishment. In 1938 he became Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. From November 1941 to April 1947 Gordon was Chairman of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. He was appointed Director of the Industrial Development Bank on its creation in 1944.

After his resignation from the Wartime Prices and Trade Board he returned to the Bank of Canada and the Foreign Exchange Control Board. In 1948 he was appointed Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

On January 1, 1950 Gordon became Chairman, President and Director of the Canadian National Railways, a position he held until 1966. He was also Director of Air Canada from 1950 until 1966. In 1967 he became President of British Newfoundland Corporation Limited (Brinco) and Chairman of Churchill Falls (Labrador) Limited, A Brinco subsidiary.

Donald Gordon's association with Queen's University extended over four decades. It began with his enrolment in the Courses in Banking -- correspondence courses given by the University in association with the Canadian Banker's Association in June 1922. In 1947 the University conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on him. In 1951, the Board of Trustees elected him to this Board. He was appointed to the Executive Committee in 1964 and was a member of the Finance Committee from May 1965 until his death. He was highly effective in helping to raise funds for Skelton-Clark Foundation and was indefatigable in his work of soliciting "special names" in the Capital Appeal of 1964. The University has honoured Mr. Gordon by naming a residence "Donald Gordon Hall" and also the "Donald Gordon Conference Centre".

Donald Gordon died in Montreal on May 2, 1969.

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