Chancellor's Community Recognition Award
Eric Charman is a true champion for the arts in the capital region. He believes passionately in the ability of art to inspire hope and comfort in people of all ages. He has dedicated his life to supporting the arts through fundraising and awareness events, regularly giving emerging artists valuable exposure and encouragement.
Charman attributes his passion for music and the arts to his experience as a child growing up in a series of orphanages, when the radio was his closest companion, and the music he heard his greatest comfort.
After immigrating to Canada from England in 1953, Charman pledged to do whatever he could to make a positive difference for his new community. After five years in financial services and 38 years in real estate, he combined his business acumen with a love of the arts, and Charman began to fundraise for the region’s artists, musicians and actors. He has organized hundreds of charity events and raised millions of dollars for local organizations – in many cases single-handedly managing events and procuring auction items.
Notable recipients of his fundraising efforts include the Victoria Art Gallery, the Victoria Symphony, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Kaleidoscope Children’s Theatre and Pacific Opera Victoria, among myriad others.
Charman’s accolades include an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Victoria in 1998, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003 and the Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, one of the 2008 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. He also holds the 2004 Generosity of Spirit Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the 1993 Edmund G. Bovey Award for leadership support of the arts from Business for the Arts, a national charitable association of business members who support the arts. He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, as well as a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.