This lecture series, established in 1973, honours Donald Gow, the first director of the School of Public Administration. The Donald Gow Memorial Lecture brings a prominent figure in public affairs to Queen’s University each year to speak on a topic in Canadian public policy. It is intended to complement the basic direction of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, which encourages interdisciplinary analysis of public policy issues. The Gow Lecture is an integral part of the School's annual Policy Forum, held each spring.
Born in Calgary, Donald Gow received his BA (Political Science) at the University of Manitoba in 1940. He served with the Royal Canadian Signal Corps in Europe during the Second World War and was discharged with the rank of captain. Both before and after his war service overseas, Gow worked with the Civil Service Commission of Canada.
From 1953 to 1956, Gow was assistant chief of the Defence and Works Section of the Treasury Board in Ottawa. In 1957, he attended the Imperial Defence College in London and then went to the NATO offices in Paris. In 1960, he returned to the Treasury Board to become involved in the early stages of pay research and labour policy.
In 1965, he enrolled as a doctoral student in Political Studies at Queen’s University. Following his graduation in 1967, Dr. Gow became executive assistant to the principal at Queen’s University, and in 1970, the first director of what was then the School of Public Administration. Motivated by his public service and academic experience, he worked vigorously for the establishment and continual improvement of the Master of Public Administration program at Queen's until his sudden death in 1973.
Past lectures have been given by the Hon. Roy Romanow, former premier of Saskatchewan, Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Gordon Giffin, United States ambassador to Canada, the Hon. Gary Doer, premier of Manitoba, the Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, chair and chief executive officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, David Dodge, governor of the Bank of Canada, David Miller, mayor of Toronto, John Baird, minister of Foreign Affairs, and Hon. Bob Rae, former leader of the Liberal Party.