CIS 50th Anniversary Success Stories (Week 3): Shawn Graham
As part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, Canadian Interuniversity Sport presents the CIS 50th Anniversary Success Stories series. Each Thursday throughout the 2011-12 season, we will profile two alumni from CIS member institutions who have made outstanding contributions in areas such as sports, business, politics or in the community. Today we are profiling the University of New Brunswick’s Joyce Slipp and Shawn Graham.
Representing the Reds on the course and in the legislature
Shawn Graham traded in his UNB Varsity Red colours for Liberal red, eventually becoming Premier of New Brunswick
FREDERICTON - Running cross country and working as a student trainer at the University of New Brunswick helped prepare Shawn Graham, former Premier of the Province of New Brunswick, for health and wellness passion.
Shawn born in Rexton, New Brunswick, graduated from the Faculty of Kinesiology at UNB in 1991 with a Bachelor of Physical Education Degree and in May 2009, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from his alma mater. He also completed an education degree at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.
While attending UNB Shawn was a member of the 1990 Atlantic University Sport cross country championship team, and was the student trainer with cross country (1990), men’s volleyball (1989-1990), men’s soccer (1989) and wrestling team (1990-1991). He is also an alumnus of Harrison House and Neil House.
Following his graduation from UNB Shawn spent much of his career, before entering elected politics, working for the province’s civil service. He was raised in a political family, with his father Alan R. Graham being the longest serving member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. When his father resigned from the legislature in 1998, Shawn was elected to replace him in a by-election as a member of the Liberal Party.
He was elected leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party in 2002 and became Premier after his party captured a majority of seats in the 2006 election. After being elected, Graham initiated a number of sometimes controversial changes to provincial policy especially in the areas of health care, education, and energy. His party was defeated in the New Brunswick provincial election held September 27, 2010, and Graham resigned as Liberal leader on November 9, 2010 but continues to serve as the Member of Parliament for Kent County.
When Shawn was first elected to office, he took on the added responsibility of Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sport. As a former varsity athlete Shawn demonstrated his passion and concern about wellness by taking on this additional portfolio. When he was the leader of the opposition, before becoming Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn was already voicing his concern about the health and wellness of citizens of the province. Once elected, he continued to champion wellness.
Shawn continues his commitment to personal health and wellness and while he was a runner at UNB his favourite activity is downhill skiing.
His favourite quote is one that could make the world a much more pleasant place if we were all to take note: "If you want to make a difference in your life, make a difference in someone else's."