It may feel like winter, but another sure sign of spring is near.
Memorial University will hold spring convocation on May 9 in Corner Brook and May 27-30 in St. John’s.
Along with the hundreds of new graduates expected to cross the stage during convocation, Memorial University will also present six outstanding people with degrees honoris causa at spring ceremonies.
Honorary degrees will be awarded to broadcaster and author Michael Enright; social justice leader and community volunteer Jocelyn Greene; former Grenfell Mission intern and geriatric medicine leader Dr. John Gray; Autism Society founding member Joyce Hayward Churchill; businessperson, philanthropist and non-denominational school system activist Kathleen Pratt LeGrow; and heritage advocate and long-serving municipal politician Shannie Duff.
(Biographies of all honourees follow below.)
The honorary doctorate degree recognizes extraordinary contribution to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement.
Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university's academic governing body, after a very careful examination of the grounds for their nomination.
The awarding of honorary doctorates, an important feature of Memorial’s convocation ceremonies, serves to celebrate both the individual and the university, as well as to inspire graduates, their families and guests.
Memorial’s spring convocation ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 9, at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook, and from Tuesday, May 27, to Friday, May 30, at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's.
For his significant contribution to broadcasting in Canada and the literary scene in Newfoundland and Labrador, Michael Enright will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the session of convocation in Corner Brook on May 9.
Mr. Enright's celebrated journalistic career has spanned 50 years, during which he has held key positions in Canadian media. He has hosted many of CBC Radio's flagship programs: This Country in the Morning, As It Happens, This Morning and currently, The Sunday Edition. He was managing editor of CBC Radio news, and held editorial positions with publications such as Time and Quest magazines. At Maclean's, he oversaw the magazine's shift from a monthly to a weekly publication. He was a political writer for the Toronto Star and Washington correspondent for the Globe and Mail. He received a Southam Fellowship for Journalism in 1979, and studied Chinese history. He has been recognized as an advocate on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities.
An occasional resident of Salvage, Bonavista Bay, Mr. Enright has also become a regular contributor to Winterset in Summer, the literary festival in Eastport, N.L.
In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., and in 2012 an honorary degree from York University. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
For her remarkable record of public service and leadership, Shannie Duff will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Tuesday, May 27.
Born in St. John’s, Ms. Duff received an RN from the Royal Victoria Hospital School of Nursing in Montreal, Que., in 1957 and received a bachelor of arts (sociology) from Memorial University in 1975.
With a lifelong passion as a community volunteer and social activist, her volunteer activities involved a wide range of areas, including affordable housing, heritage conservation, the arts, urban planning, the environment and health care.
As a businessperson, Ms. Duff helped found Avalon Cable television and served as president from 1975-82.
However, she is best known as a municipal politician. First elected in 1977, she successfully contested eight municipal elections, including the race for mayor in 1990 and the deputy mayor’s contest in 2009.
She was also elected as the member of the House of Assembly for the district of St. John’s East in 1989.
Ms. Duff served on the boards of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador.
Among her many awards and accolades, Ms. Duff received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal, honorary life membership in the Newfoundland Historic Trust, the Heritage Canada Foundation National Award of Honour and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003 for outstanding community service.
For her exceptional contribution to community, Jocelyn Greene will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Tuesday, May 27.
Ms. Greene graduated from Memorial University with a bachelor of social work in 1975 and a master of social work in 1999. She has 30 years of experience working in the fields of corrections and mental health.
As executive director of Stella Burry Community Services, she has led the organization’s mission to build inclusive communities and provide leadership in the community for the development of supportive housing. During her tenure as executive director, the organization has grown to provide support and assistance to a diverse client base through a myriad of services that include Emmanuel House, a residential program for individuals who have experienced abuse, violence, addictions, psychiatric difficulties and/or who have come into conflict with the law; Naomi Centre, an emergency shelter for young women who require safe and supportive housing; and Carew Lodge, a supportive housing project which was nominated for a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation National Housing Award.
Ms. Greene is also a founding member of the Premier’s Council on Social Development.
In 1996 Ms. Greene was awarded the YMCA Canada Peace Medal for her work in the development of services in her community. In 2005 she received the Canadian Association of Social Workers’ Distinguished Service Award to acknowledge her significant contribution to the profession and in 2007 she was awarded Memorial University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Community Service.
For her long service and profound impact on her province and country, Kathy LeGrow will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 28.
A social worker by training, Ms. LeGrow attended Dalhousie University and Memorial University.
She also has a long and impressive history in business, as the director of INTRA LeGrow’s Travel for a decade and, since 1997, head of the K.A. Pratt Group.
However, it is in community service that Ms. LeGrow is perhaps best known. A long-time leader in the community and philanthropic organizations, she is the creator, chair and financier of the Jimmy Pratt Foundation, which supports research and program development and implementation to ensure that children at risk have the opportunity to live resilient lives.
She has served the boards of the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s, the St. John’s International Airport Authority and the Premier’s Council on Social Development, just to name a few.
But it was Ms. LeGrow’s passion for education that thrust her into the provincial and national spotlight. She has served school boards in various roles for years -- as chair of the Avalon East School Board, president of the Integrated Education Council and, as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association, she led the fight to reform the denominational education system.
Among her many accolades, Ms. LeGrow received the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association Leadership Award of Excellence in 2000, the Canadian Teacher’s Federation Public Education Advocacy Award in 2003 and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2005.
Dr. John Gray
In recognition of his dedication to medical education and service, Dr. John Gray will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Thursday, May 29.
Dr. Gray received his education in his hometown at the University of Nottingham, U.K., and at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, University of London, and University of Glasgow before arriving at the Grenfell Mission as a young intern where he served for the next 25 years.
Originally posted to Cartwright, Dr. Gray later moved to St. Anthony where he served as chief of medicine at the Curtis Memorial Hospital. He was appointed clinical associate professor of medicine at Memorial University following the opening of the medical school.
While in St. Anthony, Dr. Gray also initiated a residence project for seniors and today, the long-term and continuing care facility in St. Anthony bears his name.
The family left Newfoundland in 1981 when Dr. Gray joined the staff of Dalhousie University where he established the Division of Geriatric Medicine.
In Nova Scotia he was a founding member of the Alzheimer Society, and served on the boards of the Gerontology Association of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Geriatric Society, serving as vice-president. He was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1997.
For her long and effective service to the community, Joyce Churchill will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 30.
A registered nurse, Ms. Churchill received her education at Memorial University, St. Clare’s, the Grace and General Hospitals in St. John’s and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and spent much of her nursing career at St. Clare’s as a critical care nursing instructor.
Ms. Churchill’s volunteer accomplishments include serving the Avalon Consolidated School Board Trustee from 1989-96, the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador -- Professional Association from 1976-96 and the Town of Portugal Cove where she was elected mayor in 1985 and served a four-year term.
It was as a founding member in 1982 of the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador that she made perhaps her most significant volunteer contribution.
She served as society president from 1997-2010 and was one of the driving forces behind the provincial government’s decision to fund a provincial office for the Autism Society.
In 2005, after an extensive and time-consuming fundraising campaign led by Ms. Churchill, the Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism in 2005 opened, providing programs and services including employment programs, adult Asperger's social programs, music therapy and occupational therapy, just to name a few.
For her contributions, Ms. Churchill was honoured with the Rotary International’s highest award to a civilian, the Paul Harris Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 and was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2013.