Gary J. Drummond was totally surprised when he was told he would receive an honorary degree from the University of Regina, though he notes that he "seemed to be on the radar", having received an Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, in recognition of his career as a business leader.
As an eight or nine-year-old, Drummond recalls, when people asked him what he wanted to be he told them – a lawyer. He was a good student, he says, and especially good at math, which served him well when he went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the U of R in 1971. He followed that academic accomplishment with a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Although his intentions didn’t include a law career, he did practice commercial law for 18 years.
I thought I might be good in business, and my post-secondary education did indeed give me an entree into a lot of different things,” Drummond says. Those different things included being the lead shareholder in a variety of ventures, including real estate, farming, an ethanol plant, brew pubs and tap houses, a string of oil and gas companies, an electricity and natural gas marketing company, a smart meter supplier, a security firm, and an upscale hotel in Kelowna.
Drummond was a sports fanatic from a young age, and still is. He played hockey with the Regina Pat Blues of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He practised with the WHL’s Regina Pats, but fell short of his dream to play in the NHL. Later, he was a founding partner of an investment group that purchased and operated the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League, serving as the team’s president of hockey operations for four years, a job that he thoroughly enjoyed. He was also a founding partner of a group working to establish the Atlantic Schooners franchise in the Canadian Football League.
Drummond credits the success that he’s had to what he learned in university, particularly about focusing, prioritizing, and building long-term relationships. A post-secondary education does not guarantee health or happiness, he says, but it is a foundational building block to a creative and successful career, and, generally, a better life.
It is much more difficult without a post-secondary education to achieve that level of success, and so I feel that the grads receiving their degrees from the U of R are very fortunate, and will have opportunities open up to them, as they did for me. Having a university in a community certainly opens up paths for individuals, and contributes to the overall well-being of the community.”
Drummond received his Honorary Degree in Laws on October 20.