JR and Carol Shaw
JR Shaw, Executive Chair of Shaw Communications Inc., is a visionary and business leader who has contributed significantly to the communications, business and social landscape of Canada.
When the original Shaw Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors in 1982 to Graceland students, all Gracelanders and the people of our region, JR and his wife Carol, and the Shaw family, helped shape the physical and social landscape, and the future, of Graceland University. With the Homecoming dedication of the new Shaw Center, JR, from our Class of 1956, and Carol, once again are transforming and redefining Graceland’s future as a strong liberal arts institution poised to offer all of our students opportunities for experiences of a lifetime in music and theatre performance, and so much more. With their remarkable $16 million gift, the largest in Graceland history, JR and Carol have set in motion ripples of excellence that will be felt far into our future, positioning Graceland as a leader among distinguished fine arts universities.
JR spent his early childhood on a small farm in Ontario with few modern amenities. His father Francis and mother Lottie, namesakes of the Shaw Center, by example, raised a young man who early on learned about work-ethic, confidence and vision. He built this empire, piece by piece – with family – and has become one of the most influential men in Canada. He graciously has chosen Graceland as one of the many institutions of higher education he supports. JR and Carol have four children and 12 grandchildren, many of whom have attended, are attending or will be attending Graceland.
Beginning with farming and flour milling, JR’s father led the business on to trucking, Ready-mix cement, construction, drive-in-theatres, pipeline contracting and a pipe-coating business. JR was a pioneer in developing the Canadian cable television industry. In 1966 he founded Capital Cable, which, under his leadership, evolved into Shaw Communications Inc. Today, this national corporation is one of the largest, most successful and diversified communication companies in Canada, and one of the largest and most successful, family-owned business conglomerates, including broadband cable TV, High-Speed Internet, Home Digital Phone, telecommunication services, satellite direct-to-home TV, national conventional broadcasting and 18 specialty networks such as HGTV, Food Network, History Television and Showcase, most spanning Canada.
Because of his ‘get it done’ mindset, JR has been a sought-after and distinguished member of many private sector boards, including Shaw Communication Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., and ShawCor Ltd., where he served as both Board member and Chair. He has also served on the Boards of Melcor Developments Ltd., Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., and many other companies.
In recognition of his many accomplishments, JR has received numerous prestigious awards.
We are honored to call JR and Carol members of the Graceland family. Our students and all Gracelanders will benefit from your generosity for generations to come and remember experiences at the Shaw Center for the rest of their lives.