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REF NO.: 215

SUBJECT: Memorial University names honorary degree recipients for 2004 spring convocation ceremonies

DATE: April 8

Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi leads an impressive array of people who will receive honorary degrees from Memorial University during convocation ceremonies next month. In order of presentation, this spring’s honorary graduands are Chief Misel Joe of the Conne River Indian Band: anthropologist Dr. Elmer Harp; choir leader Susan Dyer Knight; humanitarians Dr. Donald and Dr. Elizabeth Hillman; former nursing director Janet Story; Husky Energy president John Lau; Aung San Suu Kyi; and Dr. Bruce Aylward; co-ordinator of Global Polio Eradication Program.

In addition about 1,800 degrees will be awarded at eight sessions of convocation, starting with Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook on Friday, May 7 at 10 a.m. Convocation ceremonies in St. John’s will take place in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre from May 26-28. There will be three sessions of convocation on Wednesday, May 26 (10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.), and two sessions, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., on May 27 and May 28.

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Misel Joe

{Misel Joe}
Misel Joe
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Chief Misel Joe comes from a long line of saqamaws or chiefs in the Mi’kmaq territory. Chief Joe was educated in Mi’kmaq traditions and, after having left the reserve as a young man, he returned in 1973 and became involved in band government politics, first as a councillor and after the death of his uncle, Chief William Joe, he became traditional saqamaw and the Newfoundland district chief for the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.

Chief Joe is also the spiritual leader of his people and has presented lectures on native medicines and traditional healing practices at several international alternative medicine conferences and hosted the1996 and 2000 International Healing Conference at Conne River.

He is a member of the Atlantic Policy Congress, the First Nations Trust Fund, Newfoundland Museum Advisory Committee and the Aboriginal Capacity and Development Research Centre. He also holds a community seat at the United Nations (Human Rights).

Chief Joe will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College session of convocation to be held on Friday, May 7.


Elmer Harp

{Elmer Harp}
Elmer Harp
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Dr. Harp is a professor emeritus of anthropology at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and his career has included numerous expeditions to the Central and Eastern Canadian Arctic, and work in Alaska. It was 1949-1950 when he began his archaeological field research in the Eastern Subarctic where he surveyed the Strait of Belle Isle area and discovered and tested several Paleo-Eskimo sites on the west coast of Newfoundland and the Archaic Indian sites in southern Labrador. He found interior sites with assemblages of Arctic Small Tool Culture in 1955 while conducting a survey around the Coronation Gulf and Bathurst Inlet, N.W.T., and found evidence of five early occupations of the interior Barren Grounds in 1958 when he explored the lower and middle Thelon River west of Hudson Bay.

Dr. Harp spent time as a senior Fulbright Research Scholar in Copenhagen, at the Danish National Museum in 1959, after which he returned to Newfoundland and excavated in Port au Choix, Phillip’s Garden on Cape Riche. One of Dr. Harp’s latest works is a photographic memoir of outport Newfoundland and Labrador from 1949-1963, titled Lives and Landscapes. Dr. Harp will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree during the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 26.


Susan Dyer Knight

{Susan Dyer Knight}
Susan Dyer Knight
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Susan Dyer Knight is the founder and artistic director of the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir of St. John’s. She is also the founder and artistic co-director of Festival 500, an acclaimed biennial international choral festival inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.

Following her early musical studies with the Sisters of Mercy and Andreas Barban in St. John’s, she studied at the University of Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, where she serves on the summer faculty.

Ms. Dyer Knight holds a specialist diploma in the Orff-Schulwerk, a master of arts in music education and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of London, England.

An editor with Oxford University Press, Ms. Dyer Knight is active internationally as a guest conductor, adjudicator, lecturer, clinician, and advocate, and has served in executive positions with provincial and national music and educational organizations. She was recently awarded membership in the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement and was named Memorial University’s alumna of the year 2000.

Ms. Dyer Knight will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 26.

Donald and Elizabeth Hillman

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Elizabeth Hillman
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Donald Hillman
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Drs. Donald and Elizabeth Hillman are Canadian professors of pediatrics who received the Order of Canada in 1994 for their work in international child health and development. They served on the Faculty of Medicine of Memorial University from 1976 to 1989. At the Janeway Child Health Centre, Dr. Donald Hillman was physician in chief, and Dr. Elizabeth Hillman was director of ambulatory education.

Dr. Elizabeth Hillman is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and received her postgraduate training in MontrealChildren’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England, and Harvard University. She was the first female president of the Medical Council of Canada.

Dr. Donald Hillman, a graduate of McGill University, received his postgraduate training at the Montreal General Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and the Massachussets General Hospital in Boston, and completed his PhD in investigative medicine at McGill in 1961 where he was associate dean of postgraduate studies.

The Hillmans were married in 1955 and together they have directed CIDA-funded programs in Kenya and Uganda. They have also served as medical consultants in Kuwait, Zambia, Tanzania, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, South Africa and Bhutan and completed Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) projects in Kenya, India, Guyana, the Philippines and Pakistan, as well as working as senior medical officers for UNICEF in Uganda.

Donald and Elizabeth Hillman will receive honorary doctor of laws degrees at the 7:30 p.m. session of convocation on Wednesday, May 26.

Janet Story

Janet Story received her education from Memorial University College, the University of Toronto, Memorial University and McGill. After working as a supervisor-instructor at the General Hospital in St. John’s, Ms. Story was named director of nursing in 1963, a position she would hold for 20 years.

She also served two terms as president of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, another term as vice-president.

She also served on the Public Libraries Board, the St. John Ambulance Association, the board of directors of the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Canadian Heart Foundation and the Red Cross, just to name a few of her activities.

Since retiring in 1983, Ms. Story has served on the executive committee of the Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Archives Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland Historic Trust, and the Botanical Garden, again to name just a few of the groups she has supported. For her participation in the life of the province, Ms. Story was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002. Ms. Story will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Thursday, May 27.

John C. S. Lau

{John C. S. Lau}
John C. S. Lau
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John C. S. Lau was appointed CEO of Husky Oil (now Husky Energy) in 1993. As president and CEO, Mr. Lau is a member of Husky’s board of directors and is responsible for Husky’s corporate direction, strategic planning, and corporate policies. He earned a bachelor of economics and a bachelor of commerce from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Mr. Lau served on the board of governors of the University of Calgary for six years. He has been a board member of the Alberta Economic Development Authority and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

In 2003, Mr. Lau was instrumental in establishing the first endowed chair position at Memorial University. The Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research will focus on reservoir characterization, especially the utilization of seismic imaging techniques for reservoir management and will greatly enhance the petroleum reservoir team being built by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Earth Sciences.

Mr. Lau will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Thursday, May 27.


Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991.

Suu Kyi is the daughter of the late Burmese nationalist leader, General Aung San, whose resistance to British colonial rule culminated in Burma's independence in 1948. After attending school in the Burmese capital Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi lived in India, and then went to Britain where she received a BA at Oxford University.

Aung San Suu Kyi first came to prominence when she returned to Burma in August 1988 and became the leader of a burgeoning pro-democracy movement in the aftermath of the brutal repression of a pro-democratic uprising earlier that summer.

The movement quickly grew into a political party that went on to win an overwhelming majority 82 per cent in national elections in 1990, by which time she had already been under house arrest for a year. She has been under government enforced house arrest from 1989 to 1995, again from September 2000 to May 2002, and finally from May 2003 to present.

Suu Kyi has received numerous honorary degrees, including from Cambridge University, Glasgow University and American University in Washington.Aung San Suu Kyi will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree (in absentia) at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 28.

Bruce Aylward

Dr. Bruce Aylward’s work as the co-ordinator of the Global Polio Eradication Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) has helped to all but eliminate polio from the planet. The model of polio vaccination that he helped to develop is now being adapted by health agencies to deliver other forms of preventative medicine to remote and disadvantaged areas around the globe. Dr. Aylward said Memorial was hugely important to his career and he credits Dr. Ian Bowmer with getting him interested in infectious diseases.

Dr. Aylward is the first winner of the Memorial University Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement. Dr. Aylward will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Friday, May 28.

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