Stories from the Annual Fund: Jim Prentice ’49


Jim Prentice ’49 still remembers the freedom he experienced on the water as a youth. His life-long passion for boating and the outdoors is a gift he inherited from his father. Wanting to honour this legacy led Jim to reconnect with SMUS in 2010 — a century after his father became the second pupil at the newly formed St. Michael’s School.

James Douglas Prentice — or Douglas — went on to become a naval officer and served in both world wars, earning several decorations. Jim Prentice followed in his father’s footsteps to St. Michael’s School, where he was a student from 1938-41, but later chose physics research and teaching instead of the navy for his career. That path took Jim to McGill and the University of Glasgow for his education, and finally to the University of Toronto, where he taught for more than 30 years. Toronto was also where Jim met his wife, Alison, who added canoeing to Jim’s wilderness passions.

For Douglas and Jim, love of the outdoors was a connection that endured until Douglas’ death in 1979. Since then, Jim has cultivated that interest through projects like the Oak and Orca Bioregional School in Victoria, which he helped found a decade ago to give children the opportunity to connect to nature through wilderness skills, outings and bicycle trips to Victoria’s natural areas.

When Jim reconnected with SMUS in 2010, he made a gift to the annual fund that established an endowment to help SMUS students in financial need afford the costs of the Outdoor Leadership program. Jim hopes that he can help other young men and women experience the outdoors as a place of enrichment and self-discovery.

And for SMUS generations to come, Jim’s outdoor leadership fund will stand as a touching tribute to an incredible gift passed down from parent to child.


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