John Hamm honoured to receive life achievement award


John Hamm says he’s honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce’s Advocate Life Achievement Award.

The retired medical doctor and former Nova Scotia premier received the award Wednesday night as part of the chamber’s annual business achievement awards gala at the deCoste Centre.

“I was totally surprised when I got the call, but I’m pleased with the work of the chamber’s support of business and the diversity of business we need in the county,” he said.

Hamm was born in New Glasgow and graduated from New Glasgow High School in 1955, earned a science degree from the University of King’s College in 1958 and his medical degree from Dalhousie University in 1963.

He practised family medicine in Pictou County for 32 years. His numerous other achievements in medicine include president of the Aberdeen Hospital Medical Staff and Pictou County Medical Society. He chaired the executive of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia and was president of the College of Family Physicians of Nova Scotia and president of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia.

He was also a member of the Medical Council of Canada and the Provincial Medical Board and chaired the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation.

Hamm received an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

“I was always pleased I had an opportunity to come back home to practise medicine that many of my colleagues didn’t have.”

Among his achievements outside medicine, Hamm achieved the rank of second lieutenant in the Canadian Army infantry, was president of the New Glasgow Rangers senior hockey team and warden of St. George’s Anglican Church in New Glasgow.

He was named an honorary colonel of the First Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders in 2014.
Hamm entered politics and represented Pictou Centre for the provincial Progressive  Conservative Party from 1993 to 2006. He became party leader in 1995 and served as premier from 1999 to 2006. He was named an honorary member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia in 2007.

“Medicine was planned – politics happened,” he said. “I grew up thinking I’d be a medical doctor, but it was an honour to serve the people of Pictou Centre.”

Other awards and recognitions bestowed upon Hamm include the Bob Walter Award at King’s in 1959 and the medical staff prize from the Victoria General Hospital in 1963. He received the Judge J. Elliott Hudson Distinguished Alumnus Award at King’s in 2006.
He received the New England-Canada Business Council’s annual leadership award in 2000, and the council’s life achievement award in 2009. He was also presented with an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College.

He received the Award of Excellence – French Language Service Champion in 2009.
He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

He was also named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010.

The award was presented at the chamber’s 25th Annual Business Achievement Awards held at the  deCoste Performing Arts Centre.

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