For their benevolent spirits and philanthropic generosity, Gordon and Jill Rawlinson will receive honorary degrees from the University of Regina. Both are honoured to be jointly recognized.

Gordon and Jill were both born and raised in Saskatchewan; Gordon in Prince Albert and Jill on a farm near Redvers. Jill received the Governor General’s Academic Medal in high school, and then graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Gordon graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Honours, Administration) from the University of Saskatchewan.

“My father’s mantra was, ‘The better you serve the community, the better your business will do,’” Gordon recalls. “It has proven to be very successful.”

Gordon grew up around CKBI radio in Prince Albert, the broadcasting company that his father E. A. Rawlinson founded in 1946. Gordon took over managing the company in 1969, and became the owner and CEO in 1974. He has developed and expanded the company – now Rawlco Radio – to include radio stations in Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary, all of which have been recognized for their emphasis on community service.

“My father’s mantra was, ‘The better you serve the community, the better your business will do,’” Gordon recalls. “It has proven to be very successful.”

That same emphasis on community is evident in the lengthy list of philanthropic activities supported by the couple in the areas of health care, education, the arts, and support for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and business leaders, primarily through the Lily Street Foundation, which Jill chairs.

“Growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan made me realize and appreciate the importance of a strong family and a strong community,” Jill says. “There was a huge interdependence; supporting one another is just what you did. That’s where our philanthropic commitment to Saskatchewan came from.”

The donations Jill and Gordon have made reflect their shared belief that they owe most of their success to spending their formative years in the province. Some examples include: $1.5 million to furnish and equip the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care at the Regina General Hospital; $1.5 million to promote business education to Indigenous students at the University of Saskatchewan; $230,000 to the University of Regina to support aspiring journalists and Indigenous entrepreneurs; $1 million to the Children’s Discovery Museum (now Nutrien Wonderhub) in Saskatoon; $1.45 million to the E. A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts in Prince Albert; and $300,000 to the Victoria Hospital Foundation, also in Prince Albert. Other donations include $1 million to the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford and $500,000 to help develop a multiplex in North Battleford.

“Growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan made me realize and appreciate the importance of a strong family and a strong community,” Jill says. “There was a huge interdependence; supporting one another is just what you did. That’s where our philanthropic commitment to Saskatchewan came from.”

Jill and Gordon also provided $875,000 to a fund assisting Saskatchewan musical artists to each produce a CD, giving the artists full ownership of their work. The couple are also major annual supporters of the Canadian Red Cross, and the United Way in Regina and Saskatoon, always focusing their donations on the programming these organizations deliver in Saskatchewan.

Gordon is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan.

The couple receives their honorary degree on June 7, 2019.