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Richard Martin Holden Alway (1939-) was born in Hamilton, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Toronto summa cum laude in 1962. He was awarded further graduate degrees from the University in 1965 and 1967.
From 1976-86 he also worked as senior news analyst and commentator for Canada’s largest radio station, CFRB in Toronto. At the request of Cardinal Emmett Carter, Alway was the published of the Catholic Register for two years after the unexpected death of Fr. Sean O’Sullivan. A supporter of Roman Catholic-Anglican cooperation, Alway was the official representative of Cardinal Carter in ongoing conversation with the Anglican Church of Canada (1980).
He was appointed the first lay President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St. Michael’s College in 1990, a position which he held for 18 years. Following his tenure at St. Michael’s, Alway served as the President of the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies from 2008-2022. A supporter of Catholic education, Alway served as the Ministry Supervisor of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (2009-2011). He is an honourary fellow of Trinity College.
In addition to his academic service, Alway is an active collector of Canadian art and has served on several arts-related boards and committees. He has served as chair of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and chair of the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation. Alway has also served as a member of the board of trustees of the National Museums of Canada from 1979 to 1986, and has served as chair of the National Gallery of Canada, as well as chair and CEO of the Ontario Heritage Foundation for two three-year terms.
He has also served on the boards of several non-arts associations, including the Canadian Educational Standards Institute, St. Michael's Hospital and the Belmont House Foundation. He has served as a member of the Millennium Planning Committee of the Archdiocese of Toronto and was a member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada. He helped found the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute and he served as vice-chair of its board and chair of its executive committee under Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic.
Alway was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1989 and was promoted to Officer in 1998, as well as a member of the Order of Ontario in 2001. In 1999 he was Appointed Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II. He had previously been appointed Knight of the Magistral Grace, Sovereign and Military Order of Malta (1990) and Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre (1994).