Our Namesake: Dr. Chester Alvin Ronning


Chester Ronning School is honoured to be named after Dr. Chester Alvin Ronning. 

Dr. Ronning was born in China in 1894, the second of seven children. His parents were missionaries and served in China for thirteen years.  Chester Ronning and his brothers and sisters grew up speaking Chinese.

Chester Ronning graduated from the University of Alberta in 1916 with a degree in Education.

In 1927, Dr. Ronning became principal of Camrose Lutheran College and was in this position for the next 15 years.  Chester Ronning was interested in painting and sculpting and also directed several choirs.  He had six children. 

During the Second World War, Dr. Ronning became head of the discrimination unit of Royal Canadian Air Force Intelligence.  When the war ended, he was asked to go to China to help Canada’s Ambassador.  He served as ambassador to China for six years.

Dr. Ronning was appointed Ambassador to Norway and Iceland and in 1956 he served in India as High Commissioner.  He also served as acting head of delegations to the Geneva Conferences on Korea in 1954, on Laos in 1961-1962, and as special envoy to Hanoi and Saigon in 1966, where he attempted to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War.

Dr. Chester Ronning has been awarded many honours including honorary degrees from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge, Waterloo, and Simon Fraser.  He was designated an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967 and became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1972.  Dr. Ronning was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1983.

Dr. Chester Alvin Ronning’s spirit of compassion, conflict resolution, and love for lifelong learning lives on in the community of Chester Ronning School.