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Memorial University will hold convocation ceremonies in St. John’s on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Arts and Culture Centre. More than 900 students will receive their degrees at three sessions of convocation. Sessions begin at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. At the 10 a.m., session retired general Rick Hillier will be officially installed as Memorial’s sixth chancellor.
The titular head of the university and Memorial’s highest-ranking volunteer position, the chancellor is a member of Memorial’s Board of Regents and its Senate, and serves as the presiding officer of convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees.
Along with the chancellor’s installation, honorary degrees will be awarded to publisher Clyde Rose and naval reserve leader Robert Blakely.
Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university’s academic governing body, after careful examination of the grounds for their nomination.
The honorary doctorate is designed to recognize extraordinary contribution to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement. 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. Also at fall convocation, several professors will be honoured with the designation professor emeritus/emerita: Dr. James Greenlee, Arts, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College; Dr. Peter Booth, Department of Mathematics; Dr. Carolyn Harley, Department of Psychology; Dr. Andy den Otter, Department of History; Dr. Thakor Patel, Department of Biology; and Dr. Robert Sexty, Faculty of Business Administration.
To be eligible for the title professor emeritus/emerita, a person must have served at least 10 years as a regular full-time faculty member at Memorial and must have held the rank of professor upon retirement. The prime criterion for nomination is sustained, outstanding scholarly work and/or service to the university.
Gen. Rick Hillier (retired)
Gen. Hillier graduated from Memorial University in 1975 with a bachelor of science degree and has become one of its best known graduates. His wife, Joyce, also graduated from Memorial.
Born in Campbellton, Notre Dame Bay, Gen. Hillier had a distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces spanning more than three decades and culminating with his appointment as chief of defence staff. Widely considered a “soldier’s soldier,” he helped raise the profile of the Canadian Forces while publicly campaigning to enhance Canada’s military capability.
He retired from the Armed Forces in July 2008, whereupon he accepted appointment by the provincial government as chancellor of Memorial University.
Clyde Rose was born on Fox Island off the southwestern coast of Newfoundland. His forbearers were fishermen involved mainly in the salt fish trade.
During the Second World War, his family moved to Burgeo where the frozen fresh fish industry was prospering. He attended school in Burgeo and, after graduation, he enrolled as a student at Memorial University, where he later taught as an assistant professor in the Department of English.
While a student at Memorial, he became a diving officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. He also taught school in various places including Spaniard’s Bay and Corner Brook, NL, and Montreal, Que.
While teaching in Montreal, he was awarded a Canada Council Scholarship to represent the Canadian Teacher’s Federation as a lecturer with the Commonwealth Institute in London, England. For a year he travelled extensively in England, Scotland and Wales, addressing students in various educational institutions.
In 1973, while still at Memorial, he founded, along with his colleagues,
Newfoundland’s first commercial publishing house: Breakwater Books Limited. To date, Breakwater has published well over 600 titles, most of which focus on the history, folklore and literature of Newfoundland and Labrador. Breakwater also made significant forays into the curricula of our country’s school system,
publishing major textbooks and resources in areas such as language arts, social
studies, religious studies, and environmental studies. Mr. Rose was also a co-founder of the Atlantic Publisher’s Association, of which he became
president, and he also served as president of the national body of the Association of Canadian Publishers. He is the editor of several books and the author of a popular volume of poetry entitled Christ in the Pizza Place.
Clyde Rose will receive a doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m., session of convocation on Friday, Oct. 17.
Robert Blakely was born and raised in Edmonton, Alta. Mr. Blakely joined the Canadian Forces (Naval Reserve) in 1969 and has risen through the ranks to command various HMC ships at sea and ashore. He also led the team that developed the Distance Learning Command and Staff Program used for senior Canadian and allied officers. In 2004 he was promoted to commodore and appointed commander of Canada’s naval reserve, serving in this post until December 2007.
Mr. Blakely earned a law degree from the University of Alberta and was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1978. He was also credentialed as a certified human resources professional by the Human Resources Institute of Alberta.
A journeyperson plumber and steam and gas fitter, Mr. Blakely worked at his trade through university. As a member of the Edmonton-based law firm Blakely and Dushenski his expertise in labour relations, practicing on the employee side, is widely recognized. He has appeared successfully before most of the labour relations boards in Canada, at all levels of courts, up to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Blakely’s advocacy is rooted in the belief that a strong construction industry – an industry that creates 12 per cent of Canada’s GDP – is critical to Canada’s ongoing social and economic prosperity. On the public policy front, he engages federal politicians, construction owners and contractors to address issues of importance to the organized construction industry that also benefit a broad cross-section of Canadians.
His high-priority issues-of-the-day include: promoting apprenticeship opportunities for youth and Aboriginals; the industry’s strategic human resource challenges; and meeting the recruitment and retention issues that face construction in light of both demographics and growth.
Mr. Blakely is active in a number of national organizations serving, for example, as the labour co-chair of the Construction Sector Council, as a member of the Canadian Labour Business Centre, the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre, ABC Literacy Canada and the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation of Canada.
Robert Blakely will receive a doctor of laws degree at the 7:30 p.m. session of convocation on Friday, Oct. 17.
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