Merit without accolades

By Brian Conacher

I went to Upper Canada College in Toronto for high school. The school’s coat of arms bore the Latin phrase, “Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat” which translates to “Let him bear the palm who has deserved it”. This was a living motto for me during and since I went to UCC. The privilege of attending a private school like UCC does not mean it’s an automatic entitlement to success. In addition to a responsibility for improving the greater good of society as a result of the opportunities afforded through this school experience, success must be earned and deserved, thus ‘merited’.

The dictionary defines “merit” in several ways. But they all include a reward, honour, praise or gratitude as recognition for some worthy or deserving deed(s). But the deed must be achieved prior to the recognition of merit. Too often in today’s complex and troubled society, some people seek the merit before the deed. As the UCC motto says, “Let him bear the palm who has deserved it”. And I would say, only to those who truly deserve it. In the perfect world, to me, real merit if from action without accolades; what you do when no one is watching.

Brian K. Conacher (UCC ’61) was a Member of the 1967 Stanley CupToronto Maple Leafs and the 1964 OlympicCanadian hockey team.He later joined the Indianapolis Racers and Edmonton Oilers as general manager. He was the manager of Maple Leaf Gardens until 1998. Conacher also held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

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