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Seven honorary degrees being conferred during Spring Convocation

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation at Queen’s University. This spring, seven recipients will be honoured during the ceremonies. All recipients were selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients this year include:

Shelagh Rogers (Artsci’77) – Ceremony 4, May 24, 4 pm

Shelagh RogersShelagh Rogers is an award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist and the 11th chancellor of the University of Victoria.  She is the host and producer of CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter. Rogers began in broadcasting at CFRC, the campus radio station of Queen’s University, while she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History. In 1980, she joined CBC Radio, where she worked on a variety of shows including The Arts Tonight, Basic Black, and Morningside alongside Peter Gzowski. In 2011, Rogers was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for promoting Canadian culture and for her advocacy work in the fields of mental health, adult literacy, and reconciliation. She was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2011, and continues to champion reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  She is the co-editor of Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential School (2012), Reconciliation and the Way Forward (2014) and Speaking My Truth: A Journey to Reconciliation (2018). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the inaugural Margaret Trudeau Award for Mental Health Advocacy.

Terence Dickinson – Ceremony 6, June 3, 2:30 pm

Terence Dickinson became interested in astronomy at age five when he saw a brilliant meteor one evening from the front lawn of the family home. A prolific science writer specializing in astronomy, more than one million copies of his 15 astronomy books are in print in several languages. His book NightWatch is widely regarded as the essential guidebook for beginning stargazers, and Hubble’s Universe is promoted at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, as recommended reading for the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1974, he moved to Wisconsin to become editor of Astronomy magazine and returned to Canada in 1976 to the Ontario Science Centre, in Toronto. The following year, he moved to eastern Ontario and became a full-time astronomy writer and editor. He then began a series of CBC radio interviews with host David Suzuki that continued periodically into the 1990s. In 1994, he became editor of SkyNews, Canada’s national astronomy magazine. In 1995, he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to public understanding of astronomy.

George Cope – Ceremony 9, June 4, 4 pm

As President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, George Cope has led the nation’s largest communications company with a strategy of unparalleled investment and innovation in broadband networks and wireless, TV, internet and media growth services. A 2018 Canadian Business Hall of Fame inductee and Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year in 2015, Cope has earned a reputation as a strategic leader in Canadian communications and as a builder of high-performance teams in public-company chief executive roles over the past 30 years. Cope also led the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, the largest-ever corporate commitment to Canadian mental health and now one of the country’s most prominent community investment campaigns. He was Chair of United Way Toronto’s record-breaking 2013 campaign, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work on Bell Let’s Talk. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014.

Deborah Turnbull (Artsci’75) – Ceremony 11, June 5, 2:30 pm

Deborah Turnbull graduated from Queen’s with a Bachelor (Honours) degree in biology.  While at Queen’s she was a member of the swim team as well as the university’s first women’s water polo team. She also worked as a part-time librarian at the Queen’s Biology Library and as a research assistant to the late Allan Keast at the Queen’s University Biology Station.  Turnbull went on to earn a Master’s Degree in oceanography from McGill. She later graduated from the Executive Development Program at the University of Calgary and is a Certified International Trade Professional. Turnbull served as a member of the Queen’s University Council (1990-2002) and has organized events for her graduation class. For her more than 40 years of distinguished voluntary and professional service, she received the 2018 Queen’s Alumni Toronto Branch Award. Over her career, Turnbull has worked with the International Development Research Centre, Agrodev Canada, and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and taught international development studies courses at the University of Toronto. She is or has been on the board or chaired many non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Richard Evans – Ceremony 12, June 6, 10 am

Sir Richard John Evans obtained his doctorate from Jesus and St Antony’s College, Oxford, in 1973, before embarking on an academic career. He was Professor of European History at the University of East Anglia, England, and subsequently Professor of History, Vice-Master and Acting Master at Birkbeck, London University’s college for adult, part-time students. In 1998 he became Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. He was appointed Regius Professor of History in 2008, retiring in 2014. From 2010 to 2017 he was President of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is currently Provost of Gresham College in the City of London, which has been offering free lectures for the general public since 1597. He is Deputy Chair of the Spoliation Advisory Panel, a non-departmental public body advising the UK government on claims for the return of cultural objects looted during the Nazi era. Sir Richard is the author of more than 20 books. His three-volume history of Nazi Germany (The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power, and The Third Reich at War) has been translated into 15 languages.

Fiona Sampson (Artsci'85, Law'93) – Ceremony 13, June 6, 1 pm

A human rights lawyer with a PhD in women’s equality law, Fiona Sampson has dedicated her 20-plus year career to seeking justice for society’s disadvantaged: disabled persons, refugees, Indigenous persons, and victims of violence.  A two-time graduate of Queen’s University – Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws – Sampson founded the equality effect, an NGO that uses international human rights law to make girls/women’s rights real. As CEO, she led her team to the landmark 160 Girls High Court victory in Kenya. As one of the last thalidomide victims born in Canada, she has an affinity with other disadvantaged persons that inspires her human rights work. Sampson recently completed a seven-year term as a Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.  An experienced litigation lawyer, she has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada representing various women’s NGOs in equality rights cases.  She has published widely relating to women’s and girls’ equality and has received many awards and much recognition for her human rights work. In 2015 she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Gerald Sutton (Com’48) – Ceremony 16, June 11, 2:30 pm

Gerald Sutton arrived in Canada from England in 1941 and settled in Chatham, Ont. Two years later he joined the RCAF at the age of 17 and would be commissioned as a pilot. Following his service he enrolled in the Commerce program Queen’s University, graduating in 1948. A year later he graduated from the Master of Commerce program. Working in the head office of the Bank of Montreal he would become Assistant Economic Adviser but left in 1958 to be Director of Research at Nesbitt, Thompson And Company Limited, now BMO Nesbitt Burns. In 1961 he organized Canada’s first venture capital company, Canadian Enterprise Development Corporation Limited (CED). He was appointed General Manager in 1964 and subsequently President of CED. Throughout his career, Sutton was also a pioneer in organizing and supporting not-for-profit organizations to improve the quality of life for developmentally handicapped people. Sutton and his wife Margaret, also a graduate of Queen’s, are enthusiastic supporters of Queen’s and have established a number of bursaries, awards and scholarships. Two rooms in Goodes Hall bear their names.

Starting Thursday, May 23 and finishing Wednesday, June 12, a total of 18 ceremonies are being held for Spring Convocation. The first 14 will held at Grant Hall while the final four will be hosted at the Athletics and Recreation Centre Main Gym.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony. The full schedule of the ceremonies is available online.

More information about Convocation at Queen's is available on the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

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