foundation governance

Eulogy for Jim

Nathan Souza on behalf of the Sauvé Scholars
October 2007


Illustration by Gilli Stern

Dear Jim,

The Sauvé scholars shall always remember you. Many of the Sauvé Scholars could not come here today, but on their behalf, I feel that we are all here in spirit just as you are Jim.

We are still in shock about your passing, but we also marvel at what a full life you had.

We know that the success of the Sauvé program has really rested on the competency, good humor and boundless goodwill of both you and Nancy. You both opened up your home and hearts to us, making us feel welcome, nurtured and happy during our time in Montreal.

You were like a father to everyone in the program - you met our partners, went to our weddings, joined us in trips, rock climbing, dog sledding, canoeing, cross country skiing, you engaged in lively chats over cups of tea in the Sauvé kitchen, taught us to carve pumpkins, kept us fed, introduced us to people who shared our passions, celebrated our successes and gave advice and consolation when we faced difficulties. Not to mention the thousands of recommendation letters you also wrote for our many applications. You had a great sense of humor, a big heart, great character and you will be dearly missed always.

Jim, now we understand why you wanted to be at our weddings, why being present when we are sworn in as prime minister or some other grand event was of secondary importance to you. You valued our personal happiness and achievements, and how we acted as people, rather than simply our professional achievements and goals. This makes you even more special to us all and in particular to one family in Turkey.

Many people in life pride themselves on their stories, their adventures, and all the exciting things they do. But that wasn't you, Jim. You clearly did many important things in your life. You did them in a quiet and humble way that made you very special to us all. At the Sauvé program, we were surrounded by many wonderful, ambitious people and this in turn increased our own ambitions. If we had questions about those ambitions, there was usually someone around McGill that we could turn to for advice. But you did something much more important – you supported us by giving us pause, by reminding us that humility is a crucial value in whatever we pursue. You were, in this way, the ideal leader. In the words of Lao Tzu, you showed that "To lead the people, stand behind them." You were always there for us, leading us through your support, and reminding us how wonderful the world can be when we do our very best with great humility.

Jim, your impact was so strong on the Sauvé Scholars that you will live on in the many things we do now and in the future.

In closing, Jim, be assured that the Sauvé Foundation will flourish and your lessons and legacy will live on in perpetuity. It is in this spirit that we will honour you by publishing the book entitled: Sauvé Reflections, which will immortalize your lasting contributions to the Sauvé Foundation.

Thank you.
Nathan Souza
Sauvé Scholar 2006-2007

“Leaders must dream of changing the world.

They must have an inspired vision of the changes they want to make and be prepared to consecrate all
their energy to that purpose. A capacity to communicate their objectives is indispensable to sustain
the enthusiasm of their collaborators and their perseverance in action.”
— The Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, Opening Speech to the National Conference for Young Leaders, June 2-8, 1991