Morris Belkin, LL.D (Hon) (1916-1987)

Morris Belkin was the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Belkin Inc.  Middle child of Henry and Anna (Karacik) Belkin both of whom were Russian emigrants.  Henry and Anna met in Calgary having arrived independently from Russia with very little but hope for a better life during a time of active Russian pogroms between 1905 and 1910.  Morris grew up in Elbow Park, Calgary with his older sister Alice and younger Sister Lillian where he attended public school.

When he graduated high school in early 1930’s the depression was in full swing and his father suffered a major financial setback and his young meat business failed.  Morris no longer able to get financial support from his parents set his sights on Vancouver and the chance to have a university education as Calgary did not have a university yet!

Morris tended a carload of live cattle for a “free ride” to Vancouver and sought employment to support himself while enrolling at the University of British Columbia in a B.A. program focused on English literature.  He joined the Ubyssey student newspaper where he assumed responsibility for producing/printing the newspaper.  His career began in earnest while still a student when he raised $150 cash and assumed debts to acquire the failed printing plant which had been printing the Ubyssey to ensure the student paper got produced and which became a longstanding successful business called College Printers Ltd.

Morris built the business into Canada’s largest paperboard packaging company and was a pioneer and leader in establishing the use of recycled paper in leading quality consumer packaging for the food and beverage industries creating the largest recycle fibre based consumer packaging company in Canada, which he sold in 1987 for $235 million.

Morris was very active in the community having served on the Boards of Childrens Hospital, Vancouver Symphony, Jewish Community Centre (President), Combined Jewish Appeal (Chairman).  As a Philanthropist and civic leader, Morris’ philosophy was to support as many British Columbia initiatives as possible, including hospitals, universities, the arts and numerous charitable needs such as Variety Club and the United Way. He was recognized as Israel Bonds Man of the Year (1975), Honorary Doctorate Simon Fraser University (1983), with the David Ben Gurion Award in 1987 from State of Israel Bonds and many other awards and honours.  Morris Belkin also served on the Board of Directors of the B.C. Development Corporation and the Asia Pacific Foundation.  He welcomed winning The American Marketing Association “Marketing Man of The Year”.  Morris loved the coast of British Columbia and spent many of his happiest hours on the water with his Wife Helen exploring the province’s marine beauty.