Memorial University has announced the names of the individuals whom it will present with honorary doctorates at the 2013 spring convocation ceremonies. Memorial will present degrees honoris causa to seven accomplished people during nine ceremonies to be held in St. John's and Corner Brook this year.
Spring convocation will also see the ceremonial installation of Memorial’s seventh chancellor, Dr. Susan Dyer Knight. The installation will take place at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Tuesday, May 28. Read an indepth interview with Dr. Knight in the most recent issue of Luminus
Honorary degrees will be awarded to theatre director Barbara Barrett, music teacher and community volunteer Gary Graham, former Memorial chancellor Gen. Rick Hillier, humanitarian Susan Patten, Cancer Society volunteer Margot Reid, businessman and philanthropist Joseph Rotman and former chair of Memorial’s Board of Regents Robert Simmonds. (Biographies of all honorees follow.)
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, 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 10, at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook, and from Tuesday, May 28, to Friday, May 31, at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's.
For his exceptional contribution to music on Newfoundland’s west coast, Gary Graham will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 10, in Corner Brook.
Music teacher, organist and choir director, Mr. Graham has been a force in the musical, cultural and artistic life of Corner Brook since arriving on the west coast in 1966.
As a music teacher at Herdman Collegiate and a director in a series of western Newfoundland choirs, Mr. Graham has influenced generations of musicians and singers.
The organizations that have benefitted from his time include the local
AIDS committee, the Status of Women Anti-Violence Walk, the Cancer Society’s Tree of Memories, the Radio Telethon in aid of Western Memorial Regional Hospital Foundation, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Corner Brook Rotary Club and the Gros Morne Summer Music Festival.
For his efforts and guidance, Mr. Graham was recognized by the province in 2004 as one of the first recipients of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2009 the provincial government named the theatre of the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre as the Gary Graham Theatre.
Mr. Graham holds a bachelor of music and bachelor of arts from Acadia University, located near his hometown of Avonport, N.S. He also holds a postgraduate degree in musical theatre from McGill University in Montreal, Que.
For his dedicated and passionate leadership as chair of Memorial’s Board of Regents for four years, Robert Simmonds will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 29, in St. John’s.
A St. John’s native and one of the province’s leading criminal lawyers, Mr. Simmonds graduated from Memorial with a bachelor of commerce in 1976 and was awarded the University Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. He received his law degree from Dalhousie in 1979 and, after practising with a number of firms, and serving as Crown prosecutor with the Department of Justice, in 1997 founded his own firm, Simmonds Kennedy, for the practice of criminal law, principally.
Named one of the best criminal lawyers in Canada several times, Mr. Simmonds was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2001 and has served on the Advisory Committee on Federal Judicial Appointments.
Mr. Simmonds has also been awarded several community-based awards, including the Humanitarian Service Award from the John Howard Society whose goal it is to understand and respond to problems of crime and the criminal justice system.
He served as chair of Memorial University’s governing Board of Regents from 2008-12, and oversaw the hiring of President Gary Kachanoski.
General Rick Hillier (Ret’d)
For his achievements as a soldier and his contributions to Memorial University, General Rick Hillier will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 29.
Born in Campbellton, Newfoundland and Labrador, Gen. Hillier joined the Canadian Forces in 1973 and graduated from Memorial University with a bachelor of science degree in 1975. After completing his officer training, he joined his first regiment, the 8th Hussars in Petawawa, Ont. Subsequently, he served with, and later commanded, the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Germany and Canada.
Throughout his career, Gen. Hillier has commanded troops from the platoon to multinational formation level within Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1998 Gen. Hillier was appointed as the first Canadian Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, U.S. Army in Fort Hood, Texas, and in 2000 took command of NATO’s Stabilization Force’s Multinational Division (Southwest) in Bosnia. In May 2003 he was appointed as commander of the army and subsequently, in October 2003, he was selected as the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Gen. Hillier was promoted to general and assumed duties as the chief of the defence staff in 2005 and retired from the Canadian Forces in July 2008.
He was named chancellor of Memorial University in 2008 and chaired the university’s Dare To fundraising campaign. The campaign, the largest in Memorial’s history, exceeded its target goal of $50 million by more than $12 million.
Gen. Hillier holds an honorary degree from the University of Calgary and in 2011 was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
He now focuses on leadership development and contributing to his community and country through honorary appointments and charitable endeavours to support a variety of causes, mostly centered around soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, special forces troopers, veterans and their families.
A successful businessman who has brought his expertise to the service of research institutes on a national level, Joseph Rotman will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Thursday,
This native of Toronto, Ont., launched his business career in 1962 and has been involved in establishing a number of private and public companies active in oil trading, petroleum distribution, oil and gas exploration, merchant banking, real estate and venture capital.
He received his BA from the University of Western Ontario in 1957 and his M.Comm. from the University of Toronto in 1960. During 1960-61 he studied at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in the PhD program.
Today Mr. Rotman is chairman of Roy-L Capital Corporation, a private family investment company.
Mr. Rotman was a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research governing council, the board and executive committee of the Canada Gairdner International Awards for outstanding achievement in biomedical research worldwide, and co-led a major review of the state of brain research in Ontario, which led to the creation of the Ontario Brain Institute.
In 2008 Mr. Rotman was appointed to a five-year term as chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. On July 1, 2012, he was appointed as chancellor of Western University for a four-year term.
Mr. Rotman and his wife Sandra have made a long-term commitment to promote the development of internationally renowned Canadian institutions in the arts, education and health care through active involvement and financial assistance.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals honoured the couple with its 2009 Outstanding Philanthropists Award.
Mr. Rotman was awarded an honorary LLD from the University of Toronto in 1994. He was appointed officer of the Order of Canada in 1995. He was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame as a companion in May 2009, and awarded an honorary LLD from Western University in June 2009.
Businessperson, philanthropist and community leader Susan Patten will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Thursday, May 30.
Born in St. John’s and a graduate of King’s Hall, Compton, Que., Ms. Patten is chair of the board of the A. Harvey Group of Companies, which includes A. Harvey & Co. Ltd., Browning Harvey and Harvey’s Oil. While chairing the boards of this giant of Newfoundland and Labrador industry, Ms. Patten has also long been involved in her community.
She has served at the provincial, national and international levels of the Girl Guides, as provincial commissioner and also treasurer of the national and international Girl Guide organizations.
Among her many leadership roles in the community, she chaired the Canadian Mental Health Foundation, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in 2005, the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal.
Among her many accolades, Ms. Patten was named a life member of the Girl Guides of Canada in 1992, received an honorary degree from Mount St.
Vincent University in 1997, was inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004, was awarded the Red Cross NL Humanitarian Award in 2006 and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2006.
She was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame in 2007.
Margot Grant Reid
In recognition of a lifetime of service to charities and her community, Margot Reid will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 31.
Born in St. John's, N.L., Ms. Reid attended Dalhousie University and the Royal Victoria Hospital School of Nursing. She came to Newfoundland in 1951 as the wife of a local businessman and immediately became involved with the Canadian Cancer Society, taking part in all aspects of the fight against cancer, from door-to-door fundraising to organizing the first Daffodil Campaign in 1970. From 1982-84 she was president of the Newfoundland Division of the Canadian Cancer Society and also served on the national board of directors.
She has also served with more than 20 volunteer boards, including long service on the board of the Janeway Child Health Centre (1964-73) and on the Newfoundland Medical Board (1976-88).
Ms. Reid was named Jaycee Citizen of the Year in 1973, YM-YWCA Woman of Distinction in 1988 and a member of the Order of Canada in 2001.
For her significant contribution to the provincial theatre scene, Barbara Barrett will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 31.
Born in Yorkshire, England, Ms. Barrett came to Newfoundland as a war bride in 1946. During the Second World War, she had served as an air raid warden and was awarded the Defence of Britain Medal.
She studied drama at Bishop Otter College, Chichester, England, and holds a certificate in theatre direction from York University, Toronto, Ont.
She has been a force in theatre and community life during the past 60 years in Corner Brook, Stephenville, Gander and St John’s.
As a director, adjudicator and drama teacher, she is recognized as a leading authority by professionals and amateurs and has participated in the production of more than 1,000 theatrical performances
Ms. Barrett is also the author of a book titled Theatre – My Other Love Affair.
Her role in the Girl Guide movement has been no less important. Ms. Barrett has served as captain of the first Air Ranger Company in the province, area commissioner for Western Newfoundland and provincial ranger adviser.
A longtime volunteer with the Association of New Canadians, Ms. Barrett has presided at more than 20 citizenship ceremonies, and has administered the Oath of Citizenship (in both official languages) to more than 300 new Canadian citizens.
For her work in theatre and the community, she was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1996 and a member of the Order Of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007.
Her other awards include the YM-YWCA’s Woman of Distinction, the Girl Guide Order of Merit, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
In April 2003 she was named an honorary life member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society.