Order of the Ancient Commoner Member, Dale Godsoe

The following remarks were delivered at the 2018 Alumni Annual Dinner on June 2, 2018 by Kim Kierans, BA(Hons)’83 and Andrew Black, 2004, about Dale Godsoe

Type “Dale Godsoe” (in quotation marks) into Google, and in 26 seconds more than eleven hundred references with her name pop up.

A quick exploration of those websites reveals what many of us already know: Dale has dedicated her life to making community a better place for all of us. She was recognized in 1995 with a Canada Volunteer Award and in 1998, with the Order of Canada. The list of her achievements is long and impressive. But let me list a few of the many committees, boards and foundations that Dale currently serves on: the Waterfront Development, Symphony Nova Scotia, Ka’nata, the Queen Elizabeth II, the National Arts Centre, Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, and of course, as Chair of our Board of Governors.

A deeper dive into these online posts and some common phrases start to jump out. They refer to Dale as a “feminist,” “committed to positive change,” a “loyal subscriber,” “generous donor,” and “tireless community leader.” What they don’t reveal is Dale’s magic, the way Dale in her quiet unassuming manner chairs a meeting and handles sticky situations. (Joke) Not that we at King’s know anything about this.

Those of us fortunate enough to enter into Dale’s orbit know that when it comes to mentoring and advocating for women, inclusivity, and diversity she is tireless.  And still, she finds time to feed her voracious reading habit, spend time with her daughters and grandchildren, and be a good friend to many of us.

Dale is one of Nova Scotia’s most accomplished people —ever— and especially in the charitable and public sectors. The list of her service over the years is endless: Member of the boards of the National Arts Centre, the National Ballet School, Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, YWCA Canada, the Women in Media Foundation and Imagine Canada, all on the national level, and often as board chair. Locally, there’s Symphony Nova Scotia, Halifax Metro United Way, and Halifax Urban Design Centre — all of which she chaired. And on the commercial side, she has served on the boards of Hambros Bank, Vision TV (chair), Viacom Canada, Halterm and Aliant.

But Dale’s heart and soul are with education:  school teacher, chair of the Halifax School Board, Chair of Mount Saint Vincent’s Board, and 10 years as Vice-President External at Dalhousie. And the crown: she brought all this wealth of experience to us at King’s.

Dale has made an indelible imprint on King’s since joining the Board of Governors as a co-opted member in 2007. In 2011 she was appointed to the executive, and Chair of the Fund Development Committee. She assumed the role of Board Chair in 2013. Her time as Chair has seen King’s take significant advances. Today King’s is more stable and more transparent, the community is more cohesive and the Board more diverse.

In addition to being intelligent and articulate, Dale cares deeply about King’s. She faithfully tends to her many responsibilities. Even at committee meetings she is active in volunteering to undertake work.

Dale’s wisdom is matched by her patience and a sincere desire to understand differing perspectives. This served the university extraordinarily well as King’s navigated challenging times. Dale’s presence has been calming.

We were pleased to nominate Dale Godsoe for the Order of the Ancient Commoner. She embodies the spirit of service and selfless contribution to the betterment of the university that is called for in the award.