It is with deep sadness that Victoria University announces the passing of Kenneth Douglas “Ken” Taylor, O.C., Vic 5T7. Ken was an admired and active member of the Victoria community and served as the University’s 12th chancellor from 1998–2004. He served on the Board of Regents and Victoria University’s Senate during this time and was awarded an honorary degree in 2007. A strong supporter and advocate of the Vic One program, he was on the program’s advisory board from 2003–2005. In recognition of Ken’s outstanding contribution as chancellor of Victoria University, in May 2004, Vic created the Kenneth and Patricia Taylor Distinguished Visitor in Foreign Affairs Endowment in Vic One’s Lester B. Pearson Stream.
Ken was a diplomat for the Canadian Foreign Service and held posts throughout the world, until his resignation in 1984. He was best known around the world, however, for the role he played as Canada’s ambassador to Iran during the U.S. hostage crisis of 1979. This sequence of events became known as “The Canadian Caper” and garnered global attention thanks to his intelligence and bravery.
After serving the Canadian Foreign Service with high distinction, he went on to success in the private sector. He served on numerous boards of directors in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. His knowledge of world issues and political risk was of immense value to the companies he served.
With honorary degrees from many universities, he was lauded on both sides of the border: he was named an officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.
He leaves behind his loving wife, Dr. Patricia Taylor, whom he met while pursuing his MBA at the University of California, Berkley.
In Ken’s farewell message as chancellor for the winter 2003/2004 issue of Vic Report, he wrote: “As a Victoria College graduate, I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve Victoria in this capacity. I was able to meet many Vic students, alumni, faculty and staff. What could be a more enriching and delightful experience?”