A Lifetime of Learning and Teaching Col. Bernard J. Finestone: A True Inspiration at 90

2010-2011 Issue 2

If there’s anyone who embodies our principle of “lifelong learning” better than Col. Finestone, we’ve yet to meet that person. Col. Finestone first enrolled at McGill as a Commerce student in 1937, almost three-quarters of a century ago. From the late 1950s till the early 1980s, he taught two General Insurance courses. Today, Col. Finestone’s an active member of our Advisory Board and regularly appears at McGill events. According to Dean Judith Potter, “Col. Finestone never misses an opportunity to support McGill and Continuing Studies. He is truly an inspiration.”

Just how passionate is he about learning? With the half-life of knowledge in some industries and professions diminishing to as little as two or three years, Col. Finestone is a major proponent of continuing education. “I find these major changes in our society fascinating, but there’s also a real need for people to keep their professional skills up to date with the latest technologies and best work methods. That’s why I’m very supportive of the tremendous opportunities that Continuing Studies offers,” says Finestone.

For business people considering taking continuing education courses, Finestone counsels: “If they’re committed to it, they will come out of Continuing Studies better than when they went in. That means that their life, their professional status and their service to the community will improve. The School of Continuing Studies is turning out thousands of smarter and better-prepared individuals into various industries and professions every single year. That’s a huge and highly worthwhile contribution.”

Col. Finestone has made many of his own extremely impressive contributions to both McGill and the wider community. On retiring from teaching, he endowed the Bernard J. Finestone Prize in General Insurance. To encourage and reward hard-working Commerce students, Finestone and his sons Brian and Paul donated the annual Finestone Economics Prize. Outside McGill, Col. Finestone has served his community and country through dozens of influential and often volunteer positions in the realms of health care, the military, commerce, and civic and religious affairs.

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