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John Wilson (BSc '68)

Shaping future lives of service

“My father’s philosophy was if you have enough, give to others,” says Jennifer Tessier, reflecting on her father John Wilson’s (BSc ’68) gift to Laurier in his will. “He also felt that if you have a talent or skill, you should share it with others.”

Wilson, who passed away October 22, 2022 at the age of 83, was a life-long believer in education, as well as the power of giving. He started his career working as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Maple, Ontario. When the school closed a few years later, Wilson decided to go to university. He enrolled at Waterloo Lutheran University in 1962, and after studying in a few different areas, discovered a passion for Geography.

Unfortunately, Wilson wasn’t academically successful and had to leave Laurier – but not before he met his future wife, who he kept in touch with after he moved to Sudbury to continue teaching. In the summers, Wilson started working toward credits from Laurentian University; eventually he was able to transfer these credits to WLU, returning to the campus and graduating in 1968. After graduation, he resumed teaching and spent his entire career with the Waterloo Region District School Board, eventually becoming a principal. He was also an active youth mentor with the Kiwanis Club and supported and volunteered with several other organizations.

Wilson was both an annual and legacy donor to Laurier. Through a gift in his will, John established the Velma & Albert Wilson Memorial Award, an endowed award for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science (with a preference for students studying Geography) to honour his parents, who believed deeply in higher education and encouraged him in his educational goals.

“My father also wanted to encourage and support students who couldn’t otherwise afford to pursue higher education,” says Tessier. “He was a huge believer in higher education for everyone.”

The award also recognizes Wilson’s appreciation for Laurier – for the relationships he formed there, and for how much he enjoyed his experience. Wilson was a huge Golden Hawks Football fan when he was a student and continued to come to games or watch them on television until his passing.

Further reflecting on her father’s legacy, Tessier is “glad that my father chose to do this. His philosophy of giving shaped who I am.” With an endowed award, Wilson’s generous support will help shape the lives of many students for years to come.


If you are interested in making a bequest to Laurier, please contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving, Advancement and External Relations, 519-884-0710 ext. 3864 | (c) 519.498.4168 |

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