THUNDER BAY – New lives and new directions. As nine hundred students walked across the stage and claimed their hard-earned degrees, this weekend, as Lakehead University hosted its 2014 Convocation Ceremonies — the University’s 50th convocation — at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.
“Convocation is a time-honoured tradition for graduates of all ages, and schools of all levels, around the world,” said Chancellor Derek Burney, who urged graduates to become proud ambassadors for Lakehead University. “It celebrates the success of academic achievement, a major foundation for whatever they choose to do in life.”
Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson explained that Convocation is a time for graduates to be celebrated by faculty, family, and friends. “While we are extremely proud of what each of our graduates has achieved, we know that their potential is boundless and that they will enjoy many more triumphs in their lives,” said Dr. Stevenson.
“As we recognize the accomplishments of our students and honoured guests, today, we also look forward to next year, when we celebrate Lakehead University’s 50th anniversary and half a century of achievements,” added Dr. Stevenson.
This year, Lakehead will confer approximately 2,100 degrees to students at its Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses. In addition to lauding its graduating students, Lakehead’s Convocation is the annual occasion to confer honorary degrees and the title of Fellow of the University as it honours those who have contributed significantly to the University and our community.
Here are those who were conferred honorary degrees and the title of ‘Fellow of the University’ over the course of Lakehead University’s three Thunder Bay campus Convocation ceremonies, May 30 and 31.
Lakehead University grants an honorary degree to individuals who have accomplished extraordinary achievements and remarkable service and who support the values of advanced learning and the pursuit of knowledge.
Dr. Arnold Aberman has contributed to the advancement of medicine for more than 30 years, including the creation of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), a joint initiative between Lakehead University and Laurentian University.
He was instrumental in the planning and development of NOSM. He can take credit for many aspects of NOSM’s unique structure and governance.
As a co-director of the Intensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Aberman was instrumental in securing recognition for the field of critical care medicine as an independent discipline in Canada.
Dr. Aberman received an honorary Doctor of Science. On Friday, he addressed graduates and undergraduates from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.
Richard Wagamese is an internationally renowned, award-winning author, newspaper columnist and reporter who has worked in radio and television.
He is known for his many books including Indian Horse, which describes the life of an Ojibway man who, as a child, was taken from his family and his Northern Ontario home and put in the residential school system.
Wagamese’s writing has brought awareness to the horrors of the residential school system, to the discrimination that Native people have faced and the racism Native people have been subjected to.
He is an Ojibway man from Wabaseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario.
Wagamese received an honorary Doctor of Letters. On Saturday morning, he addressed graduates and undergraduates from the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Business Administration.
On Saturday afternoon, The Honourable Bob Rae and The Honourable Frank Iacobucci addressed graduates and undergraduates from the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Natural Resources Management, the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.
The Honourable Bob Rae is a senior partner at OKT – Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. He works with First Nations across Canada as legal counsel, advisor, negotiator, and arbitrator.
Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislature between 1978 and 2013. He served as Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995.
During his time in government, Rae completed a review of Ontario’s postsecondary school education for the Ontario Provincial Government that resulted in the 2005 report entitled Ontario: A Leader in Learning. This report led to significant policy and budgetary changes, including substantial increases to the base budgets of Ontario’s universities.
Rae acts as Advisor to the Matawa Chiefs Tribal Council respecting the potential development of the area in Northwestern Ontario known as The Ring of Fire.
The Honourable Frank Iacobucci is representing the Province of Ontario in its negotiations with the Chiefs of the Matawa Council on the Ring of Fire.
He is also doing an independent review of various matters for Chief Bill Blair of the Toronto Police Service relating to police encounters with mentally or emotionally disturbed persons.
Iacobucci retired from the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2004 and served as interim President of the University of Toronto from September 2004 until June 2005.
He was the Federal Government’s Representative in the negotiations leading to the settlement agreement in 2005 relating to Indian Residential Schools, which is the largest financial settlement in Canada. In February, 2013 he submitted his report after doing an independent review for the Ontario Government on First Nations Representation on Ontario juries.
Rae and Iacobucci each received an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Fellows of the University
The title ‘Fellow of the University’ recognizes people who have contributed to the growth, development, welfare and well-being of Lakehead University.
Jacqueline Dojack is always ready to apply her formidable energy to helping individuals and organizations flourish.
Dojack has supported Lakehead University over the years as it evolved into an innovative, nationally-recognized institution. From 1996 to 2008, she was on Lakehead’s Board of Governors and coordinated major fundraising campaigns.
As the Board of Governors Chair from 2004 to 2006, Dojack was involved in two historic milestones: the opening of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and the opening of Lakehead’s Orillia campus.
From 2007 to 2013, she was on NOSM’s Board of Directors and was part of a successful initiative to encourage doctors trained in the north to practise medicine in the north.
Dojack started as a teacher with the Lakehead Board of Education in 1968, progressing to vice-principal and then superintendent of education. She joined the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training’s northwestern branch in 1990, serving in senior positions until retiring in 1998.
Retirement offered Dojack the opportunity to found Dojack Associates Ltd., a consulting firm providing program reviews, strategic planning services and dispute resolution.
Dojack was conferred the title of Fellow of the University on Friday, May 30 at Lakehead’s 2 PM Convocation Ceremony.
Liz McWeeny and her husband Richard Buset are strong supporters of Lakehead University. They were involved in Lakehead’s Advanced Technology & Academic Centre building campaign and the establishment of the William H. Buset Centre for Music and Visual Arts, and have helped create bursaries for Lakehead University students.
For 35 years, McWeeny has also been a passionate advocate for refugee rights and protection.
She began volunteering with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay and Citizenship and Immigration Canada in 1979 to launch the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, resettling hundreds of refugees in Northwestern Ontario. She was the diocesan coordinator for Refugee Sponsorship until 2009.
From 1985 to 2002, McWeeny chaired the Thunder Bay Friends of Refugees, a multi-denominational group assisting refugees from Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.
She is a founding member of the D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Centre, and has held leadership positions with the national NGO-Government Committee on the Private Sponsorship of Refugees.
McWeeny and Buset recently directed their efforts toward poverty reduction by founding Compassionet Impact Development Canada, which supports home-building, micro-business loans, and education programs for the poor in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
McWeeny was conferred the title of Fellow of the University on Saturday, May 31 at the 9:30 am Convocation Ceremony held at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.
Lakehead University’s Orillia campus Convocation ceremonies with take place at Rotary Place in Orillia, Ontario, Saturday, June 7, 2014, beginning at 10:00 am.
For information about all of Lakehead’s 2014 Convocations ceremonies, please visit www.lakeheadu.ca/current-students/graduation.