Richard French believes students should focus on pursuing their career paths, not seeking awards or recognition. Photo: Zainab Al-Mehdar.
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Richard French recognized for work in business and the public sector

On Dec. 31, 2016, three University of Ottawa professors were appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada, his Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.

The Fulcrum spoke with Richard French of the U of O’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, who was nominated alongside Linda Cardinal, a professor in the School of Political Studies, and Benoit Pelletier of the Faculty of Law (civil law section).

According to French, he was recognized for his contributions to enhancing public institutions and for his efforts to bridge the gap between the public sector and the business world.

“I have been a politician, official, businessman, and an academic … and I would like to think I have made some positive contributions building a mutual understanding between those sectors,” said French.

Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System. It serves as  one of the country’s highest civilian honours, which recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation.

During his time at the U of O, French taught a master’s program in public and international affairs.

“I have been here at the university for nearly 10 years and I feel very fortunate,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful place. It has given me a fantastic opportunity at the end of my career to do the kind of things I am interested in.”

For students hoping to make an impact through their own studies and experiences, French believes that they should focus on working hard instead of worrying about things like awards or recognition.

“What’s important is to excel at what you want to do, to work as hard as you can, and to be as committed as you can, to the things that are important to you.”

“If you happen to get the Order of Canada afterwards that’s great, but that’s not the point. The point of life is to be as committed and hardworking and as fair minded towards others as you can be.”