Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

David Patchell-Evans, BA'77, LLD'12

Western News | June 22, 2012

David Patchell Evans
Founder and CEO, GoodLife Fitness Centres Inc.

Just two weeks into his freshman year at Western, David Patchell-Evans was in a serious motorcycle accident, after which he spent six months in rehab at the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic, while still attending classes. During that time, his interest in rehabilitation and fitness grew.

Patchell-Evans trained as an elite rower, ultimately winning five Canadian Rowing Championships. He started up a successful snowplowing business to put himself through school and later, in 1979, bought his first fitness club, which he turned into GoodLife Fitness, now 300 clubs strong, with 10,000 staff and over 750,000 members.

Patchell-Evans later became chairman of IHRSA, the largest health and fitness organization in the world, representing 71 countries, as well as an international speaker covering all continents except Africa and Antarctica. He received an Entrepreneur of the Year Special Citation from the USA. His first book, Living The Good Life, has sold more than 1.2 million copies and is currently being translated into Russian. His second book is also an international best seller.

In addition to GoodLife, he is part owner of fitness clubs in Australia and Africa, and owner of a spa in Australia with Hugh Jackman.

Patchell-Evans also gives to 140 charitable causes each year. In 1988, he founded the GoodLife Kids Foundation which has a mission is to inspire kids to get active, giving grants to physical activity-based programs across the country to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity.

He also established the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group at Western – in his daughter’s name – and personally raised over $4 million directly for the program.

In 2007, Patchell-Evans received the Canadian Medical Association’s Medal of Honour for his personal contribution to the advancement of medical research in Canada.

In 2012, Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), upon Patchell-Evans in recognition of his longstanding and passionate commitment to health and fitness and his contributions to autism research. Patchell-Evans told the graduates what they know today, what they’ve learned at Western, will open doors in the future they don’t even know exist.

“You have huge opportunities because you have a whole bunch of knowledge other people don’t have, or they’re not aware of how to use yet. Take a risk; believe in yourself. I didn’t learn anything different after I left school that changed the lives of so many people. I picked it up here and put it to practice,” he said.

Patchell-Evans added that the graduates, as future advocates of health in their respective fields, should remember to care also for themselves.

“You are the role models and examples. To look after everyone else out there, you need to (look after) yourself.”

Read the complete story: Western News

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