Lakehead University hosting Convocation on May 25 and 26

Lakehead University

Thunder Bay – Lakehead University’s annual Convocation returns to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium in 2023 to celebrate the milestone achievements of its graduates at three ceremonies on Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26.

Up to 1,500 graduates are expected to attend Lakehead’s convocation ceremonies. In addition to celebrating its graduates, Lakehead will honour four exceptional people at convocation.

Each ceremony will be followed by a reception for grads and their supporters next to Lake Tamblyn on the Thunder Bay campus.

“Our 58th Convocation is about celebrating and acknowledging the exceptional achievements and potential of our graduates,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor.

“The most recent years are likely the most challenging any Lakehead graduate has had to face and overcome, and we could not be prouder of each of them.

“Our Lakehead community is also looking forward to acknowledging the life’s work of this year’s honorary degree recipients and Fellow of the University — people who have each made vital contributions to our University, society, and communities,” she added.

The Hon. Marion Buller, the CBC’s Bob McDonald, and filmmaker Stephen Low will each be conferred an honorary degree for their extraordinary achievements and remarkable service.

Vonnie Cheng will be named a Fellow of the University for her unique contribution to the growth, development, welfare, and well-being of the University.

Honorary Degree Recipients  

Hon. Marion R. Buller, C.M.

Marion Buller is a member of the Mistawasis Nehiyawak, a Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan.  Marion was the initial First Nations woman to be appointed as a judge in British Columbia.  While a Provincial Court Judge, Marion established the initial First Nations Court in BC and built the foundation for BC’s first Indigenous Family Court.

After presiding in the BC Provincial Court for 22 years, Marion was appointed as the Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Since the completion of the National Inquiry, Marion has returned to the practice of law. She is currently the Chancellor of the University of Victoria.

Marion will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws at 9 am on Thursday, May 25.

Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald has been bringing science to the public for more than 40 years. In addition to hosting Quirks & Quarks, the award-winning science program heard by 800,000 people each week, Bob is also science correspondent for CBC TV’s The National and host of the children’s series Heads Up.

He has written and hosted numerous television documentaries and more than 100 educational videos in Canada and the US. As a writer, he has authored six bestselling science books including the 2022 Canadian bestseller, The Future is Now: Solving the Climate Crisis with Current Technology.

Bob is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science at 2 pm on Thursday, May 25.

Stephen Low

 Stephen Low is recognized by audiences and peers as one of the world’s foremost large format filmmakers.

His creative vision, storytelling ability and commitment to cinematic innovation have yielded an extraordinary body of work enjoyed by audiences of all ages. He has written, directed and produced more than 20 IMAX films and TV projects over the past 40 years, relentlessly following his curiosity wherever it took him.

His filmography encompasses a remarkable diversity of subjects and themes from science, surfing and shipwrecks to trains, planes and racing cars, from deep sea exploration to drama and history.

He earned a BA in Political Science from Lakehead University. Stephen will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters at 9 am on Friday, May 26.


Vonnie Cheng

Committed, energetic, passionate, friendly, helpful … these are the qualities that drew people to Vonnie as a dedicated Lakehead University alumna and as a trusted advisor at Sun Life Financial.

Before Sun Life, Vonnie worked at the University (1974-1997) and graduated with BSc Mathematics (1980), BA English (1982), HBA English (1992) and Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (1992).

Vonnie was the inaugural recipient of the Alumni Legacy Award in 2011. Some examples of her long history of service to the community include serving as the President, Port Arthur Rotary (2016-17), on the Lakehead University Board of Governors (2008-2010), and as the President of the Lakehead University Alumni Association (2005-2006).

Vonnie will be named Fellow at 2 pm on Thursday, May 25.

Convocation Schedule

Ceremony 1: Thursday, May 25 at 9 am

  • Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Natural Resources Management

Ceremony 2: Thursday, May 25 at 2 pm

  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies

Ceremony 3: Friday, May 26 at 9 am

  • Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
  • Faculty of Business Administration

For each ceremony, graduates will begin their procession onto the stage 10 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. Celebratory activities and photo opportunities await on campus after each ceremony – everyone is welcome.

For more information, visit

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