Venture Philanthropist to Give First Derry Lecture

Introducing University of Guelph students to people addressing world challenges and promoting engagement and global citizenship is the purpose of a new annual lecture series.

The series is named for former U of G Board of Governors chair Douglas Derry and his family.

The lectureship is intended to connect students and people working to make a difference in the world through interdisciplinary understanding, internationalism and service to society.

The inaugural Derry Lecture will be delivered by venture philanthropist Mick Jackson Feb. 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in War Memorial Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.

This lecture is part of the Derry first-year seminar symposium promoting interdisciplinary initiatives among students enrolled in Guelph’s first-year seminar program. Created in 2003, first-year seminars allow small groups of students to learn about challenging topics from some of Guelph’s top teachers.

Jackson’s talk is also part of the Universities Fighting World Hunger summit being held at Guelph this month.

“Mick Jackson is the perfect inaugural Derry Lecturer,” said Alastair Summerlee, U of G’s former president who is spearheading this year’s lecture and the hunger summit.

“He is a man with a wide variety of experiences in a number of different settings who epitomizes the aspirations that drive the first-year seminar program — learning by engagement in some of the major issues and problems that face the world.”

Jackson’s lecture, titled “How a Dollar Can Change the World,” will discuss how developing and established entrepreneurs can channel resources and help fight global challenges such as hunger and poverty.

He will also talk about how he became involved in social justice issues.

Jackson established the WildHearts Foundation, which launches companies and then uses their profits to benefit humanity. He manages microfinancing operations intended to improve lives of women in 46 countries.

He also runs leadership summits and initiatives for young people such as the Micro-Tyco program. This charitable initiative — currently part of a first-year commerce program at Guelph — encourages people to use a dollar to make as much money as they can by selling goods or services. The proceeds go to charity and to providing micro-loans to developing countries.

The Derry Lecture was supported by a gift from Douglas and Margaret Derry, long-time friends and supporters of U of G.

Douglas Derry has volunteered at U of G for nearly 20 years. He belonged to the University’s Board of Governors for 10 years and served as chair from 2004 to 2008. He also belonged to U of G’s Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2013. Now chair of Poplar Lane Holdings Ltd., he was formerly a senior partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

Margaret Derry is an adjunct U of G history professor, agricultural historian, author, artist and breeder of purebred cattle. Their children are both U of G alumni: Alison in environmental biology; and David in agronomy and land resource science.

In addition to the Derry lecture, Jackson will also be overseeing a “Pitch for Progress,” a competition designed to let students share their ideas for changing the world.

Held on Feb. 22, the event involves student pitching their ideas to a panel of judges and seeking leverage from others. There will be cash prizes of $$2,000 for first place and $500 for second place awarded.

The pitch competition is part of the hunger summit and is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. in Room 1800 of the Pathobiology Building.