Gordon Durnan

Gordon Durnan portrait

Doctor of Letters

(honoris causa) DLitt

Born in Kitchener-Waterloo, Mr. Gordon H. Durnan grew up in a family with a passion for community service. In 1977, Mr. Durnan began his career in healthcare philanthropy as the first managing Director of the newly formed York Central Hospital Foundation in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He joined the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) and for a few years, he served as the only Canadian director on each organization’s Board. He also became one of the first Canadians to receive the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation from AFP, and the first to receive the Fellow (FAHP) designation from AHP.

After ten years with York Central, Gord and his family relocated to Muskoka, where he began his new position as the Managing Director of the South Muskoka Foundation until his retirement in 2005. In his active retirement, Gord has served on multiple boards, including the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and the Board of Community Foundations of Canada. He served as the Founder and Vice-Chair of the Muskoka Community Foundation, Director of the Cottage Country Family Health Team and most recently, served as the Chair of the Board of Governor’s at Nipissing University from 2017-2018.

Throughout his full and rich professional career, Mr. Durnan has been honoured with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the AHP’s Si Seymour Award. In 1996, he was named Fundraising Executive of the Year by AFP. Gord currently lives in Gravenhurst with his family and when he’s not volunteering, he is enjoying himself on the golf course.

A Conversation with Gordon Durnan, Honorary Doctorate Recipient