Honorary degree recipients

Honorary degrees have been awarded at UVic since its inaugural convocation in 1964. An honorary degree is the highest honour the university can bestow for distinguished achievement in scholarship, research, teaching, the creative arts and public service. See the full list of honorary degree recipients.

Senate confers honorary degrees based on the recommendations of a nine-member committee on honorary degrees and other forms of recognition. That committee, in turn, bases its selections on nominations invited from UVic faculty, staff, students and alumni.

After the Convocation ceremony, the honorary degree recipient's relationship continues with UVic. He or she becomes a member of convocation, and can participate in the governance of the university by electing a chancellor and four members of Senate. Honorary degree recipients are also encouraged to attend future Convocations and remain active alumni of the university.

Cindy Blackstock, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Tuesday, November 13 | 10 a.m.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, is a social activist, social justice pioneer and dedicated advocate for Indigenous children. Blackstock (PhD) has 30 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children's rights. Blackstock is a professor in McGill’s School of Social Work and an Adjunct Professor and Director of the First Nations Children's Action Research and Education Centre at the University of Alberta. Blackstock also serves as Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Blackstock’s work included proving that First Nations children on reserves receive far less funding for services compared to other children in Canada. Blackstock and her advocacy group battled for years to win a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering the federal government to equitably fund First Nations child welfare and implement Jordan's Principle, a child-first policy to ensure First Nations children can receive the public services they need when they need them. Over 111,000 services have been provided to children in need under Jordan's Principle since the ruling in 2016. 

Her promotion of culturally based equity for First Nations children and families and engaging children in reconciliation has been recognized by the Nobel Women's Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others. Blackstock is in demand as a public speaker and has written more than 60 publications. She serves as a Commissioner for the Pan American Health Organization Commission on Health Equity and Inequity.

Judith Guichon, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Tuesday, November 13 | 2:30 p.m.

Judith Guichon is a strong voice for sustainable farming and ranching in British Columbia. Before being appointed BC’s 29th Lieutenant Governor in 2012, she owned and operated Gerard Guichon Ranch Ltd. in the province’s Interior. Guichon's family had owned land in the Nicola Valley since 1878 and maintained a tradition of farming, ranching and related community service.

Guichon’s contributions include serving as president of the British Columbia Cattlemen's Association; as a member of the Provincial Force on Species at Risk; as a part of the Ranching Task Force of BC and the British Columbia Agri-Food Trade Advisory Council; as a member of the Fraser Basin Council of British Columbia; and as the director of the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC. She and her family have long promoted holistic management, an approach to farming that seeks to preserve ecosystems, maintain plant species, protect water quality and reduce use of fossil fuels.

Guichon received the Order of BC in 2012. In her role as Lieutenant Governor, Guichon developed priority programs reflecting her background of stewardship, including creating Stewards of the Future, which aims to reconnect high school students with the natural world.

Peter Moss, Honorary Doctor of Education (DEd)
Wednesday, November 14 | 10:00 a.m.

Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor at University College London, is renowned for his international work in early childhood education and the relationship between employment, care and gender, especially parental leave policies.

Moss coordinated the European Commission’s expert group on childcare and other measures to reconcile employment and family responsibilities. The group’s work resulted in more than 30 published reports and gained an international reputation for its breadth and quality.

In 2004, Moss co-founded the International Network on Leave Policies and Research, which today brings together experts from 40 countries with a shared interest in a policy area that has become a central issue in today’s welfare state.

Moss co-edited for a decade the book series Contesting Early Childhood, which provides an important platform for alternative voices and new ideas in the field of early childhood education. The series builds on previous work Moss had undertaken with UVic Prof. Alan Pence, including the seminal book: Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Moss has had a direct influence, through personal presentations and publications, on the curricula of the UVic School of Child and Youth Care, particularly its early years stream. His ideas also influenced the British Columbia Early Learning Framework, which guides the provision of early childhood services in the province and is recognized internationally for its emphasis on diversity.

Mitsuko Shirai, Honorary Doctor of Music (DMus)
Wednesday, November 14 | 2:30 p.m.

Mitsuko Shirai is regarded as one of the world's great interpreters of the German lied, a form of poetic art song that is set to classical music. She was born and raised in Japan and began her vocal studies there at the Musashino Music Academy in Tokyo. She received a grant to continue her training at the Hochschule der Künste in Stuttgart, Germany.

Shirai is one of the most frequently recorded lieder singers of modern times. She is distinguished not only by her many stellar concert performances and recordings, but also by her illustrious teaching career. For over 27 years she has been teaching at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, one of the top professional music institutions in Germany, where she has attracted major talent from around the globe. She has conducted numerous workshops in Germany, Austria, Finland, the United States and in Japan. Many of her students have become the bright lights of today's concert stages.

The mezzo-soprano has received many awards, medals and orders of merit for her extraordinary achievements. For example, her native Japan awarded her the “Shiju Hosho" (the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon), a distinction given to only five musicians over the past 50 years. In addition, she was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) in 2010.

Joseph Arvay, QC, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

June 11 | 2:30 pm

One of the country’s most influential lawyers, Joseph Arvay’s advocacy – often on behalf of deeply disadvantaged members of society – has shaped the meaning and impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Arvay was lead counsel representing, pro bono, Gloria Taylor in the case of Carter v. Canada, which led to the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that allows physician-assisted suicide in Canada.

He led the legal team that represented Insite, the medically supervised injecting facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, when it won a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision allowing it to remain open after years of federal government opposition.

Arvay’s other notable cases include his work as counsel in the case that struck down laws preventing same-sex marriage, and he represented an organization of sex trade workers in their successful attempt to overturn some of the criminal laws relating to prostitution.

His most recent accomplishment was in having the BC Supreme Court strike down Canada’s laws allowing solitary confinement in federal prisons where he again acted pro bono.

In a career that has been defined by his personal integrity, skill and humanity, Arvay has been consistently cited by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the most influential members of the profession for his commitment to civil rights and social justice. He has been an architect of change in Canadian society.

Amb. Nicholas Kuhanga, Honorary Doctor of Education (DEd)

June 15 | 10:00 am

Ambassador Nicholas Kuhanga is one of modern Africa’s leading educational pioneers, a political leader and diplomat.

As a young man Kuhanga was inspired by Julius Nyerere who, as the United Republic of Tanzania’s first president (from 1964-85) and a fellow teacher, identified the need for adult education in a country in which many had grown up during the colonial period without formal schooling.

Kuhanga joined the University of Dar es Salaam and was a leader in the implementation of a network of regional learning centres across the country that could be accessed by anyone without previous schooling. He was also elected to Nyerere’s government, serving as a member of parliament from 1965-80. He held the posts of minister of manpower development and minister of education, during which time a campaign was launched to provide schools for all Tanzanian youth.

In 1980, Kuhanga was named vice-chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam and oversaw a decade of program expansion. Kuhanga then became the founding vice-chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania and he was an advisor to more than a dozen universities in Tanzania and Africa.

He was named Tanzania’s ambassador to what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1991-95. He is the father of eight children, one of whom resides in Victoria.

Sandra Richardson, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

June 14 | 2:30 pm

As CEO of the Victoria Foundation, Sandra Richardson exemplifies the meaning of leadership in community and social development.

Since taking charge of the Victoria Foundation in 2001, Richardson has been instrumental in growing the foundation’s assets under administration from $20 million to $357 million. As a result, the foundation delivers approximately $1 million each month in grants to organizations that support community development in Victoria and B.C.

Since 2005, the Victoria Foundation has issued its annual Vital Signs report on the quality of life in Victoria. The report is now relied upon by local governments, community groups, and charitable funders when they determine priorities and make funding allocations. More than 50 other community groups in Canada and internationally have developed similar publications based on Vital Signs and Richardson’s initiative.

Other community programs developed under Richardson’s guidance include the Every Step Counts walking and running program for people who experience barriers related to housing or mental health, and the Smart and Caring physical literacy program for children.

The programs have led to quality of life improvements for more than 5,000 participants and the initiatives have been adopted in communities across Canada.  

Richardson has been a key advisor and committee member for university-community engagement efforts at UVic.

Robert Waisman, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

June 13 | 2:30 pm

Robert Waisman was one of the “Boys of Buchenwald” before he was freed from the World War II concentration camp, eventually emigrating to a new life in Canada where he built a successful career and dedicates himself to Holocaust education.

The youngest of six children, Waisman was born in 1931 in Skarszysko, Poland. At the age of 10, he was a slave labourer in a German munitions factory where a child’s hands were deemed useful in fixing jammed machinery.

Waisman was sent to Buchenwald where he remained until April 11, 1945, when it was liberated by U.S. soldiers. Of his family, only he and his sister Leah survived. After moving to a group home in France, Waisman came to Canada in 1949.

He continued his education, worked in accounting and later found success in business, first in Saskatoon and then Vancouver. He married, became the father of two, and is now a grandfather.

He also became a community leader, philanthropist, a president of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre for Remembrance and Education, and an educator who shares his experiences of hate, racism and indifference with thousands of students each year.

In recent years, he was inducted as an Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he met survivors of the residential schools and joined others in calling for the incorporation of the schools' history into the curriculum of BC schools.

David Flaherty, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Wednesday, November 15 | 10 a.m.

In 1993, David Flaherty was appointed as B.C.’s first information and privacy commissioner, serving for six years, writing some 320 orders under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, and putting the province on the map in terms of increased transparency and accountability of public institutions.

He has played a central role in the development of information and privacy law and policy at the national level and, internationally, he has been a crucial figure in discussions surrounding privacy and access to information.

In addition to his contributions to the development of privacy law, Flaherty is an influential legal scholar and patron of the arts.

Starting in 1980, he was at the forefront of a new focus on Canadian legal history (a field that until then had been mostly dominated by the history of English Common Law). In the next decade, a new generation of legal scholars pursued research in all areas and periods of Canadian law. Flaherty was at the centre of that transformation through his work as an historian and editor.

More recently, Flaherty has been a patron of the arts in Victoria through his philanthropy and volunteerism. He led a four-year fundraising campaign that established new rehearsal and office space for Pacific Opera Victoria. From 1999 to 2006 he was a UVic adjunct professor of political science.

Sheridan Scott, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Wednesday, November 15 | 2:30 p.m.

Sheridan Scott’s legal career has been characterized by her professionalism, leadership and technical mastery – skills that have influenced Canadian broadcasting, telecommunications and competition law.

After becoming the first UVic Law graduate to serve as Clerk to Chief Justice Bora Laskin of the Supreme Court of Canada, Scott joined the Canadian Radio and Television Commissioner (CRTC) where, from 1983 to 1992, she served as legal counsel and senior legal counsel. During that time, she was involved in major decisions about long distance competition in telecommunications, cable television rates and an overhaul of national broadcasting regulations.

She joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1993, serving as vice president of regulatory affairs and corporate development where she was involved in the CBC's decision to create its all news French language service. In 1994, she moved to the private sector when she was appointed Bell Canada’s chief regulatory officer, overseeing all activities involving the CRTC, the Copyright Board and the Competition Bureau.

In 2004, the federal government appointed Scott to be Commissioner of the Competition Bureau of Canada - the independent federal agency tasked with the enforcement of the Competition Act.  During her tenure, she was chosen to lead the International Competition Network, representing more than 100 competition agencies from around the world.

On completion of her term at the Bureau in 2009, she joined one of Canada’s top business law firms, Bennett Jones LLP, as a partner and co-chair of the firm’s competition and antitrust practice, advising clients on a complex communication law matters and competition-related public policy initiatives.  

Over the past 30 years, she has been on the board of directors of a number of arts and community organisations as well as professional associations. These include Opera Lyra Ottawa, Canadian Women in Communications, and most recently the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.  She is a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian New Media Special Recognition Award and the University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award and was named one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women.

Neil Sterritt, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Tuesday, November 14 | 2:30 p.m.

Neil Sterritt was a driving force behind what is arguably the most important court decision in the history of Indigenous land claims in Canada.

Sterritt was president of the Gitxsan-Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council when in 1984 he and a group of elders, frustrated by a lack of progress on land claims in meetings with Canadian first ministers, filed a statement of claim in the Smithers provincial court registry.

They turned to the courts to give substance to Aboriginal treaty rights and self-government based on their laws, traditions and governing structures. The subsequent trial lasted 374 days and Sterritt testified for 33 days. Among several precedents set at trial, hereditary chiefs and elders gave testimony in their own language about their culture and relationship to the land.

The case, Delgamuukwu vs. British Columbia, went to the Supreme Court of Canada which, in a 1997 ruling, confirmed the existence of Aboriginal title in B.C. It also ruled that when dealing with Crown land governments are obligated to consult with and may have to compensate First Nations whose rights are affected.

In the early 1980s, Sterritt and other Gitxsan leaders worked with former UVic President Howard Petch to form the successful and innovative First Nations teacher education program that was delivered in Hazelton and at the UVic Faculty of Education.

Barney Williams Jr., Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Tuesday, November 14 | 10 a.m.

Barney Williams Jr., is Nuu-chah-nulth and a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. A registered clinical counselor and a survivor of the residential school system, he was an invaluable contributor to the work of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

From 2008-15, he served as a member of the commission’s Indian residential school survivor committee and provided cultural and spiritual advice to the commissioners.

When he was five, he was removed from his home and taken to the Christie residential school in Tofino. Like many of the 150,000 children placed in residential schools, Williams Jr. was punished for speaking his own language and was severely abused.

He suffered post-traumatic stress (nightmares, flashbacks and depression), turned to alcohol and attempted suicide. But in 1966, and still in his early 20s, he began his recovery and has been sober since.

A registered clinical counsellor, he has provided training, healing and workshops for individuals and communities in the areas of mental health, crisis intervention and addictions. He assisted in the development of a counseling diploma program at Malaspina University College.

Williams Jr. served for 60 years as the traditional keeper of the beach for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. He is also an elder-in-residence at UVic and provides advice on the university’s role in reconciliation.

Murray Farmer, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
June 15 | 2:30 p.m.

Murray Farmer’s contributions to the quality of life in Victoria include his community and business leadership and extensive volunteer efforts. A member of UVic’s 1968 graduating class, he served as UVic chancellor from 2009 to 2014 prior to his six years on the board of governors. He was an early proponent of Ocean Networks Canada at UVic, and the NEPTUNE and VENUS ocean observatories.

Joy Kogawa, Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
June 12 | 2:30 p.m.

Joy Kogawa’s classic novel Obasan – a semi-autobiographical account of Japanese Canadians sent to internment camps at Slocan during World War II – is considered by the Literary Review of Canada to be among the most important books in Canadian literature. Obasan had a pivotal role in the redress movement that led to the official apology offered by the federal government in 1988.

Photo credit:Raymond Lum

Brian Lo, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
June 14 | 2:30 p.m.

Brian Lo’s 36-year career in the banking industry (mostly with CIBC’s Vancouver Chinatown and downtown branches) built bridges between the corporate sectors of B.C. and Asia. As a member of the board of governors from 1995 to 2001 he helped to strengthen UVic’s presence in Asia through fundraising and new partnerships with Asian educational institutions.

Christina Munck, Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)
June 15 | 10 a.m.
Christina Munck is a co-founder and vice-president of two conservation organizations that are making a significant impact on our understanding of the coastal environment through non-profit, community-based research. She and her husband, Eric Peterson, created and funded the Quadra Island-based Tula Foundation and the Hakai Institute. Their interests in sustainability and conservation extend to UVic where they are contributors of the Environmental Law Centre and the Environmental Law Centre Clinic, Canada’s first curricular concentration in environmental law and sustainability.
Paul Nicklen, Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)
June 16 | 10 a.m.

Nicklen’s stunning images, often featured in National Geographic, bring attention to the impact of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems. Nicklen, a UVic alumnus, is also co-founder of SeaLegacy, a group of photographers, filmmakers and media experts who use visual storytelling to bridge scientific data and human emotion. His Instagram account has more than three million followers.

Timothy Vernon, Honorary Doctor of Music (DMus)
June 13 | 2:30 p.m.

The founding artistic director of Pacific Opera Victoria, Timothy Vernon has earned the admiration of audiences by virtue of his artistic vision. Under Vernon, POV has become one of the city’s cultural treasures. The company is renowned for the quality of its (often challenging) productions and for bold programming that can range from Handel to contemporary works.

Lynn Conway, Honorary Doctor of Engineering (DEng) 
November 9 | 10 a.m.

Lynn Conway is a computer scientist and engineer who helped to pioneer modern information technology and is a leading advocate for transgender rights.

Conway did foundational research in computer architecture at IBM in the 1960s. The company fired her in 1968 as she underwent gender transition and she had to rebuild her career in “stealth” in a new name and identity.

A decade later she was teaching at MIT, co-authoring with Carver Mead the seminal engineering textbook, Introduction to VLSI Systems, innovating an Internet e-commerce system for rapid silicon-chip prototyping that led to today’s industrial models for microelectronics design and production, and receiving many high honors for that work.

Conway came out upon retirement in 1999 as emerita professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. A tireless voice for trans people, she was included in Time magazine’s 2014 list of 25 transgender people who have influenced American culture.

Darren Entwistle, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
November 9 | 2:30 p.m.

Darren Entwistle is a Canadian telecommunications leader whose entrepreneurial spirit is matched by his commitment to community involvement and corporate social responsibility.

Entwistle became president and CEO of TELUS in 2000, at the age of 37, and began the work of growing it into a global leader in data and wireless services. He helped TELUS navigate industry, regulatory and competitive challenges during the most turbulent period in Canadian telecommunications history.

TELUS has been named one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers and the company is recognized for its ability to nurture talent and engage its employees. Entwistle spearheaded the company’s development of a customized MBA program for its employees, developed and delivered in partnership with the Sardul S. Gill Graduate School, within the Gustavson School of Business at UVic.

The company has also been recognized internationally for its corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts.

As well, under Entwistle’s leadership, TELUS has embraced philanthropy and organizations that have benefited from the company’s (and Entwistle’s support) include the David Foster Foundation, Children’s Health Foundation in support of Jeneece Place, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s education programs.

Mike Harcourt, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
November 10 | 2:30 p.m.

Mike Harcourt, former premier of BC and mayor of Vancouver, is an effective advocate for sustainability and, largely due to personal circumstances, an advocate for people living with physical disabilities.

Harcourt served as Vancouver’s mayor for six years beginning in 1980, a period highlighted by his participation in planning Expo 86. Harcourt worked with the province to safeguard the city from debt while welcoming 22 million visitors to the world’s fair.

As premier, Harcourt’s legacy includes guiding the province toward new guidelines for forest management, the resolution of land-use conflicts, and a commitment to protecting 12 percent of the province’s land base.

Since leaving politics, Harcourt has intensified his interest in sustainability issues, holding a variety of leadership positions and co-authoring the urban development book, City Making in Paradise.

In 2002 he suffered a severe spinal cord injury. He worked through rehabilitation to regain 80 per cent function. He wrote about his experience (Plan B: One Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph). He is involved with the Rick Hansen Foundation, the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, and he has been a key leader in developing a guide to increase the involvement of people with disabilities in BC community life.

Simon Whitfield, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
November 10 | 10 a.m.

Simon Whitfield is a four-time Olympic triathlete who reached the pinnacle of his sport and continues to serve as an inspiring role model, particularly for young people.

Whitfield surprised the world when, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, he earned the first-ever gold medal in the triathlon with a thrilling final sprint to claim gold for Canada. Eight years later, at the Beijing games, he pulled off another unexpected performance, claiming a silver medal.

When Canadian athletes entered the stadium at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in London in 2012, it was Whitfield who was Canada’s flag bearer. It was an honour that recognized his remarkable athleticism but also his grace and commitment to fair play.

Since retiring from competition, and apart from being a devoted father and business owner, Whitfield has remained a powerful ambassador for sport and health. He works with KidSport and PowerToBe, organizations focusing on youth and healthy living programs. He frequently visits schools to talk to students about finding their passions and setting goals.

His community leadership extends to UVic, where he was a strong advocate for the new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA).

Dr. Richard Atleo, Honorary Doctor of Education (DEd)
June 15 | 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Richard Atleo is a hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation (also known by his Nuu-cha-nulth name Umeek) and an academic leader who has widely shared his wisdom and perspective on issues relating to the environment, education and Indigenous Peoples.

Atleo trained as an elementary school teacher and has been a champion of education, especially for Indigenous Peoples and regarding Indigenous communities. He helped to create the successful First Nations Studies Department at Vancouver Island University, where his son Shawn Atleo served as chancellor.

As co-chair (1993-95) of the B.C. government’s Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound, he contributed to five major reports that have served as models for bringing together science and traditional knowledge.

More recently, Atleo has held the positions of research liaison at the University of Manitoba, associate adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, board member of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources in Winnipeg, and senior advisor to Ecotrust Canada.

Clara Hughes, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
June 14 | 10 a.m.

Clara Hughes is one of Canada’s most decorated Olympic athletes whose diverse athletic achievements are rivalled by her community service efforts.

Hughes excelled in cycling and speed skating.  She won a pair of bronze medals for Canada at the 1996 Olympics and brought home four medals (gold, silver, two bronze) over the span of three winter Olympics. She is tied with Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most (six) Olympic medals.

While she has enjoyed almost unprecedented success in competing for her country on the Olympic stage, her ultimate goal has always been to motivate young people and inspire others through her actions.

Hughes is the national spokesperson for “Let’s Talk,” Bell Canada’s mental health awareness initiative. She has spoken of her own struggles with depression in order to help break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

Additionally, Hughes made significant personal contributions to the Right to Play programs for international humanitarian aid and she was Canada’s flag bearer at the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

William J. Mussell, Honorary Doctor of Education (DEd)
June 17 | 10 a.m.

One of Canada’s leading promoters of the health and wellness of Indigenous children, youth, families and communities, Bill Mussell is a member of the Skwah First Nation (Sto:lo) who has dedicated his life to addressing the impacts of colonization – especially the effects of residential schools – on the lives of Indigenous Peoples.

Mussell coined and promoted the concept of “warrior-caregiver” as a way to revitalize traditional roles of First Nations men so that positive contributions to family and community life are honoured and respected.

At the University of Victoria, Mussell has made substantial contributions to the Master of Education program in Indigenous Communities Counselling Psychology, part of his impact on the field of Indigenous mental health. Unique in Canada, the program reflects Mussell’s proven record of transformative educational leadership, which can be traced back to his input into the seminal 1972 paper “Indian Control of Indian Education.”

A scholar and a leader in consultation and policy development, Mussell’s multi-level contributions over the past 40 years have influenced generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, policy-makers, educators and human service practitioners.

Frank Parnell, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
June 17 | 2:30 p.m.

Frank Parnell is an outstanding advocate for economic self-reliance in B.C.’s north coast region, especially among Indigenous Peoples.

Parnell is a member of the Haida Nation and brings more than 35 years of executive management and economic development expertise to his position as President and CEO of TRICORP – the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation – a financial services company.

Parnell has led TRICORP since its inception in 1989, managing the entire corporate entity and determining its identity, systems, internal structure and operations. In that time, the Prince Rupert-based commercial lender has provided more than $28 million in financing to Indigenous entrepreneurs.

TRICORP also operates a skills training service that provides an integrated approach to Indigenous labour market programming focused on high-demand jobs. TRICORP and UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business have forged a strong bond and two programs have resulted from their collaboration: Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) and Northwest Certificate in Aboriginal Management (NW-CAMP).

Parnell has also had a longstanding community leadership role (since 1980) in the All Native Basketball Tournament.

Mary Simon, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)
June 15 | 10 a.m.

Mary Simon has devoted her life to achieving social justice for the Inuit and advocating for her peoples’ participation in the environmental, economic, and political decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Her work, at the national and international level, has included her role as a senior Inuit negotiator during talks leading to the recognition of Aboriginal rights in the Constitution Act of 1982. She later served as policy co-director for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

As ambassador to Denmark and ambassador of circumpolar affairs, she was instrumental in forming the eight-nation Arctic Council, including permanent Indigenous participation in the council’s diplomatic and policy solutions to issues facing the North.

During her term as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (the national body representing Inuit in Canada) she developed and led the national Inuit Education Strategy – work she continued through her role as former chair the National Committee on Inuit Education.