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Six Distinguished Canadians to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trent University’s 2007 Convocation Ceremonies


Well-known CBC Radio Personality Stuart McLean among List of those to be Honoured at Spring Convocation Ceremonies

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, Peterborough

On behalf of Senate, the President of Trent University announced today the outstanding individuals who will receive honorary degrees at convocation ceremonies on May 30, 31 and June 1, 2007.

“For another year, the Committee on University Honours has been successful at identifying a group of highly accomplished individuals,” said President Bonnie Patterson. “From philanthropy and business to media and forensics, each recipient is a leader in his or her own field. Collectively, our recipients of honorary degrees represent excellence in a range of disciplines, reinforcing to our graduates the importance of an interdisciplinary perspective on global issues.”

To accommodate the increase in the number of graduates, there will be a fifth convocation ceremony this spring. For the first time, Trent University’s 2007 convocation ceremonies will be held over a three-day period with two ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday, May 30, two ceremonies scheduled for Thursday, May 31, and one scheduled for the morning of June 1.

The following individuals will be presented with an honorary degree at this year’s ceremonies:

May 30, 2007 – Morning Ceremony:

Ron Fourney
Dr. Ron Fourney is an international leader in DNA forensic science and is responsible for many of the early advancements in this area. He is a founding member of the RCMP DNA program and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of forensic DNA typing for Canada. Currently, he is the officer in charge of Canada’s National DNA Data Bank and maintains an active involvement with forensic science research and development as the head of the National Services and Research Branch for the RCMP’s Forensic Laboratory Services. Dr. Fourney is a member of the editorial boards for The Journal of BioTechniques and The Journal of Forensic Sciences. He has an academic cross-appointment as adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Carleton University. A significant contributor to the development of the Trent-Fleming Forensic Science program, Dr. Fourney has also participated on the program’s Advisory Committee since its inception.

May 30, 2007 – Afternoon Ceremony:

Rosemary Speirs
Dr. Rosemary Speirs is a retired journalist who wrote nationally syndicated political columns for The Toronto Star. She has also been a feature writer and commentator, specializing in Canadian politics at the provincial and federal levels, including environmental policy. She is the author of Out of the Blue, a history of Ontario politics, and currently is an active volunteer focusing on the equality of women and the protection of the environment. President of the Board of Directors of Ontario Nature, one of Canada’s largest and most respected environmental organizations, she is also co-founder and chair of Equal Voice, a national advocacy group for the election of more women to political office, and founder of The Women’s Political ConneXion. In addition, Ms. Speirs is also a life member of the Pickering Naturalists and Friends of Second Marsh, and sits on the advisory council to the Altona Forest Stewardship Council. In October, 2004 Ms. Speirs received a Governor-General's award for advancing the cause of Canadian women in honour of her work as chair of Equal Voice. She is also a recipient of the Toronto YMCA’s Women of Distinction Award.

May 31, 2007 – Morning Ceremony:

Jim Balsillie
Mr. Jim Balsillie is the co-CEO of Research in Motion (RIM) a Canadian-based wireless device company, best known as the developer of the BlackBerry handheld communication device. In 2002, Mr. Balsillie announced a major endowment gift to establish The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a world-class global research institute focused on the restructuring of international governance. As a leading philanthropist, he is also a founding donor of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, a patron for the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, and principal benefactor for the Balsillie Collection of Roy Studio Images in his native Peterborough. Widely recognized for his commitment to the community and innovation in business leadership, Mr. Balsillie earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Harvard University. He is also a Chartered Accountant and was elected as a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.

May 31, 2007 – Afternoon Ceremony:

Stuart McLean
Mr. Stuart McLean is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humourist, and host of the CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe. His book, The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, was a Canadian bestseller and a finalist in the 1990 City of Toronto Book Awards.
Mr. McLean is also the author of Welcome Home: Travels in Small Town Canada, which was chosen by the Canadian Authors' Association as the best non-fiction book of 1993, and the Canadian best-sellers Stories from the Vinyl Cafe, Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged, Vinyl Cafe Diaries, and Secrets From the Vinyl Café. In addition, Mr. McLean is professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto and former director of the broadcast division of the School of Journalism. In 1993 Trent University named him the first Rooke Fellow for Teaching, Writing and Research.

June 1, 2007 – Morning Ceremony:

Margaret and Wallace McCain
The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain has played a major role in many early child development policy and program initiatives in Canada. In 1994, she was appointed the first woman Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. Mrs. McCain was instrumental in the establishment of Beatrice House, an integrated program piloting an enriched Early Childhood Development Centre and transitional housing opportunity for single mothers and their young children. She is also a founding member of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation in New Brunswick. Mrs. McCain has received the Order of Canada, the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Award for Work in the Field of Family Violence, the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award, the Centre for Excellence for Early Child Development Award, and the 100 Most Powerful Canadian Women Award. In October 1994, she was invested as a Dame of Grace in the Most Venerable Order of Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Today, Mrs. McCain supports many organizations including the Canadian Women’s Foundation, LEAF, TVO and the National Ballet School.
Mr. G. Wallace F. McCain is one of Atlantic Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. As co-founder of McCain Foods Limited, Mr. McCain built a small frozen french fries business into an internationally successful frozen food empire. Currently, he is the vice-chairman and director of other associated companies within the McCain Foods Group as well as the chairman of the Board of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Mr. McCain is also a director of the St. Michael's Hospital Board and Brascan Corporation. He is co-chair, National Ballet School Financial Campaign and a member of the National Advisory Council for Mount Allison University. Mr. McCain has received numerous distinctions and honours during his career, including: Officer of the Order of Canada, 1995; Gary Wright Humanitarian Award from Friends of We Care Inc., 1992; Canadian Business Hall of Fame, 1993; New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame, 1997; B'nai Brith Award of Merit, 1999; Order of New Brunswick, 2003; and Canadian International Executive of the Year, 2003.

For a complete list of honorary degree recipients throughout Trent University’s history, please visit http://www.trentu.ca/administration/senate_hongrademinent.php.


For more information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x5371