The John D. Stevenson Award is the Association Council's most prestigious distinction for exceptional volunteer service to Upper Canada College. This year's recipient is Russell Higgins '81. Honouree Higgins was chair of UCC’s Board of Governors from 2016–2020.
“Ever since he ran a booth at A-Day almost 20 years ago, he has touched every part of school life through his unparalleled volunteerism and uncommon good nature,” wrote nominator Rodger Wright ’70. “Everyone who has worked with him on many endeavours would attest to his wisdom and his patience.”
The time he dedicates to UCC comes in addition to his busy position as a principal of MacPherson Builders Limited, a builder of subdivisions throughout southern Ontario.
An integral contributor to the life and future vision of the College and parent to Simon '16, Higgins chaired the Norval Long Range Planning Committee, the Property Committee and the Principal’s Search Committee, which selected Sam McKinney as the school’s 19th principal. Prior to his appointment leading the Board of Governors, Higgins was a member of the Association Council and chair of the Council of 1829.
He has tirelessly lent his talents as chair of the A-Day Committee and a member of the UCC Foundation's Board of Directors. He has also participated in a number of subcommittees including Advancement, Old Boy Annual Giving and, most recently, Campus Master Planning. Additionally, he's a charter member of Our Third Century legacy giving society, and a generous supporter of the school’s financial assistance program.
Classmate Peter Dotsikas noted, "I have seen the great work Russ has done over the years for UCC. He has given so much of his time and energy. Most importantly, he’s maintained his unique sense of humour."