April 22, 2022

Starting position: UCalgary signs Jon Cornish, CFA, as 15th chancellor

Cornish’s social advocacy work and commitment to community make him ideal UCalgary champion
Jon Cornish
Jon Cornish is the Chancellor-Elect at the University of Calgary. Lorraine Hjalte for the University of Calgary

Four quarters, four years — all great opportunities to come together with a team and make a lasting impression. That’s the next play for Jon Cornish, CFA, who is best known for his accomplishments on the football field, but is about to start something new as UCalgary’s 15th chancellor this July.

“It is the greatest honour of my life,” said Cornish prior to the official announcement held at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning on April 22. “In serving the students, alumni, staff, volunteers and faculty of the university, and the city of Calgary, I will champion the values of safety, inclusivity and achievement, helping make our great university the best in Canada.”

Striving to be the best is something Cornish knows all too well. As a running back for the Calgary Stampeders, he was named the Top Canadian Player three years in a row, Most Outstanding Player, Canadian Top Athlete and he led his team to two Grey Cup Championships. For these and many other records set during his nine years at McMahon Stadium, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

Although Cornish has been recognized for his achievements, it’s something he puts his name behind as well — literally. The Jon Cornish Award is now presented annually to the most outstanding Canadian student athlete in NCAA Football.

It is Cornish’s passion for supporting others, for promoting inclusion and for building a better Calgary that made him an ideal candidate for this key volunteer leadership position at UCalgary.

Since retiring from the CFL, Cornish has continued to invest in Calgary — volunteering and supporting the community he proudly calls home.

Seeking to provide opportunities for BIPOC communities, he founded and is president of the Calgary Black Chambers which has, to date, provided more than $60,000 in scholarships to help university students and supported 300 high school students with skill training to aid in their careers.

He has been a champion for LGBTQ2S+ communities by encouraging sports organizations to ensure all athletes feel safe playing through the You Can Play Project.

When not helping clients with their financial goals as an investment adviser, he can be found MC'ing events at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, working directly with at-risk youth for Wood's Homes, or waving the flag to rally the fans at home games.

With such a strong commitment to the community, it’s easy to see why Cornish was selected as the next chancellor.

“He’s no stranger to our great campus community,” says President Ed McCauley. “His entrepreneurial spirit and drive to better our community will make him a strong ambassador for the university, our values and an inspiration for future alumni.”

Jon Cornish was voted Chancellor-Elect on April 21, and will officially take over the position on July1, 2022.