University of Calgary

University of Calgary celebrates life of Jim Palmer

UToday HomeAugust 30, 2013

Jim Palmer is installed as chancellor of the University of Calgary in 1986, a position he held until 1990. His acts of philanthropy on behalf of the university included chairing the Building on the Vision Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and initiating the JamJim Palmer is installed as chancellor of the University of Calgary in 1986, a position he held until 1990. His acts of philanthropy on behalf of the university included chairing the Building on the Vision Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and initiating the James S. and Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Public Policy. Photo by Jim PeacockAccolades are pouring in from across the country as the University of Calgary mourns the passing and celebrates the life of a great friend of the university community. James (Jim) S. Palmer died on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Palmer was the chair emeritus of the law firm Burnett, Duckworth and Palmer LLP, and had deep ties not only across our country, but also to the university in the city that he called home. He was chancellor of the University of Calgary from 1986 to 1990, and received an honorary degree in 1993 in acknowledgement of his service to our university and his inspirational life achievements.

“Jim was a one-of-a-kind blend of Canada, P.E.I., Calgary, business, law, politics and fun.  The university was so lucky to have him as a friend and patron,” says Jim Dinning, current chancellor of the University of Calgary.

Palmer also has a long history with the university as a significant philanthropist and donor, such as his service as chair of the Building on the Vision Campaign from 1990-1993. The Building on the Vision Campaign was the first national campaign of its type, exceeding its target of $40 million by raising a total $48 million.

“Jim and his wife Barbara have established a lasting legacy at the University of Calgary to benefit students, faculty members and the greater community in years to come,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president of the university.  “Many undergraduate and graduate students have received scholarships because of the Palmers’ generosity, and their commitment to higher education and their community will encourage and inspire generations to come.”

The James S. and Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Public Policy at the University of Calgary supports teaching and research initiatives to help Canada tackle complex issues in critical areas of law and public policy such as oil, gas, water and electricity.  The James S. Palmer Lecture Series brings eminent scholars of international stature to the city every two years to discuss important public issues.

“Jim Palmer was one of the heroes of our profession,” says Ian Holloway, dean of the Faculty of Law. “He represented the very best ideals of citizenship. He was among the finest lawyers of his generation, and even though he had his roots in the Maritimes, he embodied a spirit of entrepreneurialism that was pure Calgary. Whether one knew him well or not, every lawyer in Alberta today owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude. I don't think we'll ever see his like again.”

Among numerous other accolades, Palmer was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993 and inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2003.

His funeral service will be held at Christ Church Calgary, 3602 8th St. S.W. in Elbow Park on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 1:30 p.m.

Tributes to Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer did so much to improve Calgary and Canada, by Jack Mintz, director and Palmer Chair in Public Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

BD&P mourns loss of its founder, posted on website of Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer LLP Law Firm

Remembering Jim Palmer: An Inspirational Leader and Philanthropist, by Doug Black, former chair of the Board of Governors, University of Calgary

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