Three honorary degrees at spring 2024 convocation

A UVic convocation ceremony in the Farquhar Auditorium.

Three distinguished individuals from diverse fields will be awarded honorary degrees by UVic during its spring convocation ceremonies taking place from June 10 to 14. Margaret Lidkea, Eloise Spitzer and Dr. James Carley will receive honorary degrees from UVic on June 11, 12, and 13, respectively.

Over the course of 11 ceremonies across five days, more than 4300 degrees, diplomas, and certificates will be conferred under the leadership of Chancellor Marion Buller and President Kevin Hall.

Convocation signifies a significant milestone for graduates and honorees alike, as well as their families, fostering a spirit of celebration throughout the university community.

The ceremonies will be live-streamed and subsequently archived online for broader accessibility.

Dr. James Carley, Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Dr. James Carley, Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Dr. James Carley, Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Dr. James Carley, born and raised in Victoria, graduated from the University of Victoria with a BA in English in 1969. He is widely recognized as an exceptional scholar and historian, specializing in book history, manuscript culture, and medieval libraries.

Dr. Carley, a Fellow of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, holds the position of Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University, Toronto. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and an Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  Among his numerous accolades and accomplishments, he received the UK’s Bibliographical Society prestigious Gold Medal in 2019.

Dr. Carley was made the 708th Master of the Worshipful Company of Barbers of London in 2016-17, the first Canadian ever to occupy this position and is now an Honorary Assistant of the Court. He has served as a council member of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. His dedication to scholarship has been recognized on a national and international level, receiving both the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Pierre Chauveau Medal of the Royal Society of Canada for his outstanding contributions to humanities.

Margaret Lidkea, Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)

Margaret Lidkea, Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)

Margaret Lidkea, Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)

Margaret Lidkea, a champion of environmental stewardship, has devoted her life to fostering ecological awareness and restoration efforts, particularly in Victoria's Garry oak ecosystems. As a teacher, naturalist, and volunteer, she has positively impacted generations of children and youth.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of British Columbia in 1968 and a teaching certificate in 1973, Lidkea blended her passion for biology with her commitment to teaching. Early in her career, she served as a lab technician in Thompson, Manitoba, and later as a secondary school teacher in Delta, BC.

In 1988, she assumed the role of Program Naturalist at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary in Saanich, where she led outdoor programs for preschoolers, school children, youth and families. As a Girl Guide leader, Margaret started restoration in Uplands Park and Anderson Hill with Girl Guides in 1992. Upon retirement in 2009, she co-founded Friends of Uplands Park and dedicated herself to ecological restoration in Uplands Park, Oak Bay, and other natural areas.

Her outstanding contributions, including organizing over 170 restoration and education events and dedicating more than 1000 hours in 2019 alone, earned her recognition on the Municipality of Oak Bay's Wall of Fame in 2021.

Eloise Spitzer, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

Eloise Spitzer, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

Eloise Spitzer, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)

Eloise Spitzer’s remarkable ability to connect with people has left an enduring impact through her roles as a mentor, educator and public servant, encouraging deep community engagement and social justice. These qualities are at the heart of her transformative work.

Breaking barriers throughout her career, Spitzer has made history as the first woman to hold the position of Cabinet Secretary, Deputy Minister in the Premier’s office in both Yukon and BC, providing advice to Executive Councils and managing communications during constitutional change. She successfully litigated Canada’s first charter case, was a founding mother of LEAF and the first student at Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik (Legal Aid) in Nunavut.

Believing in the transformative power of education, Spitzer contributed significantly to UVic’s Akitsitaq Law Program in Nunavut. As co-op coordinator she notably increased Indigenous law student participation.

Spitzer has served in diverse ways including Legal Aid, private practice, public interest litigation, legal education, public service, development corporations and charitable boards. No matter where she serves, she has shown, it is possible to never lose sight of the needs and voices of those most vulnerable in society. In everything she does, she embodies her belief in creating a more equitable and compassionate society. 

Learn more about the class of 2024 and our three honorary degree recipients.

You can also show your support to the class of 2024 on social media using the hashtag #UVicGrad.




In this story

Keywords: convocation, alumni, award, law, history, science, environment

People: James Carley, Margaret Lidkea, Eloise Spitzer

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