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Kathleen Taylor standing at the convocation podium in Durham speaking in the microphone to the graduates sitting in front of her


Honorary Degree Recipients

Convocation ceremonies are public events that are recorded in various ways including webcast, video and photography. The ceremonies will be live streamed on trentu.ca during Convocation and will be available to view after Convocation for the benefit of friends and family who are unable to attend in person. These images and recordings may be used for official purposes, such as promoting Trent University. If you have any questions, please contact joannesokolow@trentu.ca.

Governor Stephen Poloz – Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Stephen S. Poloz is the current governor of the Bank of Canada. He is also chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – serving as chair of its Audit Committee and Consultative Council for the Americas.

Born in Oshawa, Ontario, Mr. Poloz was appointed to the position as governor of the Bank of Canada for a 7-year term, effective June 3, 2013. A trained economist, a skilled researcher, and respected educator in Canada and around the world, his career has garnered global distinction.

“He believes economic policy can make a difference in people’s lives. Mr. Poloz exemplifies not only the transformative power of education, but also its potential to strengthen the public good. These are values close to the heart of the Trent community, which would be burnished in honouring Mr. Poloz with an Honorary Degree.”– nominator, anonymous

Since joining the Bank of Canada in 1981 Mr. Poloz steadily rose through the organization over 14 years, becoming chief of the Bank’s Research Department.  He subsequently served as a managing editor of the International Bank Credit Analyst, the flagship publication of BCA Research, a provider of global macro research.

In 1999 he became vice-president and chief economist at Export Development Canada (EDC). He then served as senior vice-president, Financing. He ascended to the position of EDC President and CEO in 2011 where he remained before returning to the Bank of Canada as its ninth Governor.

Mr. Poloz graduated from Queen’s University in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He subsequently earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.

Taking his knowledge and extensive economic experience abroad, he frequented the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and Tokyo’s Economic Planning Agency as a visiting scholar. In Canada he taught Economics at the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University and the Queen’s School of Business.

Mr. Poloz is a Certified International Trade Professional and a graduate of Columbia University’s Senior Executive Program. He is a past president of the Ottawa Economics Association, and is a current member of the Lawrence Centre Advisory Council. He also serves as chair of the Nominating Committee for the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

Mr. Poloz lives in Ottawa with his wife, Valerie. He has two children and is a grandfather.

In acknowledgment of the esteemed accolade from Trent University, Mr. Poloz stated, “I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition from Trent University – an institution founded on the ideals of debate, critique, exploring differences, finding common ground and creating new ways to move forward together. These are principles I have tried to embody in my own career in public service, and in the institutions I have led. Having grown up in the Oshawa-Durham area, where Trent has been educating students since 1974, makes this honour particularly special for me.”

Fiona Sampson smiling at the camera, wearing a blue business suite, against a white wallFiona Sampson '87 - Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – 2:00 p.m.

Fiona Sampson ‘87 is a human rights lawyer and global advocate for women and children. Her work seeking justice for vulnerable members of society including First Nations, disabled persons, refugees, and victims of violence, has taken her to the Supreme Court of Canada and around the globe.

Ms. Sampson is a graduate of what is now Trent’s Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies M.A. program. During her graduate studies Ms. Sampson volunteered with Indigenous groups in Ontario to support different legal actions, including land claims, and early residential school claims. Throughout this time she was welcomed into Indigenous communities, and encouraged by elders to work with children and youth on reserve.

After earning a Ph.D. in women’s equality law and graduating from law school, Ms. Sampson became director of litigation at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. She has also worked as a legal consultant with many groups including the Ontario Native Council on Justice, the DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada, Education Wife Assault, and the Ethiopian Muslim Relief and Development Association.

Currently, Ms. Sampson is the CEO and founder of the equality effect, a Toronto-based charity, which uses international human rights law, and a network of partners, to make girls’ and women’s rights real. The equality effect has been internationally recognized for projects including their landmark victory in the “160 Girls” case in Kenya. Ms. Sampson and the equality effect have received the Lewis Perinbam Award and the Clifford Chance Access to Justice Award. Ms. Sampson has also been appointed an Ashoka Fellow and was awarded the 2014 Distinction in International Affairs Award by the New York State Bar Association. She was named a YWCA 2015 “Woman of Distinction,” one of Canada’s Top 25 Lawyers (Top 5 on the “World Stage”), and one of 50 “Global Heroes” working to end violence against children, along with Queen Noor, Hillary Clinton and others. In 2015 Ms. Sampson was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada “for her commitment to human rights, particularly those of women and girls in Africa.”

Ms. Sampson recently completed several terms as an appointed member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and, as a litigation lawyer, has represented women’s NGOs before the Supreme Court. She has published works on disability, gender and other legal discrimination issues.

“Ms. Sampson is a compassionate leader, tireless advocate, and brilliant lawyer.  She is recognized internationally for her transformational work which is improving lives of women and children.  Since her time as a student, Ms. Sampson has continued to support the Trent community through public talks including the 2014 Ideas That Change the World Symposium. She is truly deserving of an honorary doctorate from Trent University.” – nominator, anonymous

The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine looking at the camera in a leather jacket in front of a mural

Keith Knott – Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.

Keith Knott was elected chief of Curve Lake First Nation between 1992 and 2012.  A prominent figure in the Peterborough area, he has been hailed a champion for First Nations people and devoted volunteer and has served the community for over 50 years.  Proudly Anishinaabe, he is an advocate for improving the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Former Chief of Curve Lake, Mr. Knott was instrumental in the realization of many accomplishments that improved the physical, business, and spiritual aspects of the local Curve Lake community, including construction of the Curve Lake Health Centre, and the development of the Curve Lake Small Business Centre. He was also part of a group who was involved in opening a non-denominational Curve Lake Church.

He improved local services through countless initiatives such as recruiting the first family health team to the community, opening a new waste transfer station and upgrading the water system. He was also part of the leadership team that brought Anishinabek police service to the community. Thanks to Mr. Knott’s efforts, the community has also experienced a significant reduction in the drop-out rate of secondary students, and increase in post-secondary enrollment.

Mr. Knott was the former South Eastern Regional chief of the Anishinabek Nation (Union of Ontario Indians); former chair and a board of health member for Peterborough Public Health; portfolio councillor on several Curve Lake committees, and was appointed to the Ontario Geographic Names Board by the Minister of Natural Resources. 

A long-time friend to Trent University since its origins in 1964, Mr. Knott received the first Trent University Civic and Community Leadership Award in 2007 for his dedication and contribution to First Nations and community relations. Professor Tom Symons, founding president of Trent University recalls, “Chief Knott was in the group from the Band Council who were kind enough to welcome me on the first day of the University’s operations.  He has been in reality, a member of the Trent family since the University’s day one.” 

Mr. Knott was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anishinabek Nation and was also recognized by the County of Peterborough with a certificate of recognition for years of dedicated service to his community and local region. 

Mr. Knott and his wife of nearly 59 years, Bubbles, have five daughters. He is “papa” to eleven grandchildren. 

“Keith Knott is exemplary in so many ways. His life is based upon dedicated service to his family, community, the region at large and to Trent University in particular. He continues to be a dignified presence at University events since its beginning. He is always quick with a smile and an outstretched hand of welcome to the territory of the Mississauga Anishinabek.” – nominator, anonymous

After learning about his honorary degree from Trent, Mr Knott said, “How can one express themselves for such an honour. This is something I never expected, and it gives me such a feeling of pride. This shows that it pays to listen and be grateful of your surroundings, and to listen to your Elders and those who have walked the road before you.”

The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine smiling at the camera against a white background, wearing a red dress shirt and gold necklaceThe Honourable Jean Augustine – Thursday, June 8, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.

The Honourable Jean Augustine is a social justice advocate of historic accomplishment. In 1960 Ms. Augustine came to Canada from Grenada. In 1993 she became the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons. Nine years later, she became the first Black Canadian woman to serve in the federal Cabinet. Elected in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, she remained in Parliament until 2006, serving as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, secretary of State and minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, and as a deputy speaker. In 1995, she introduced the motion to proclaim February as Black History Month in Canada. It was passed with all party consent. Also focussing attention on women’s rights, she introduced the motion to place the Statue of the Famous Five on Parliament Hill. Before entering federal politics, Ms. Augustine was an elementary school principal and was chair of the Board of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. Following her parliamentary career, she was appointed as Ontario’s first Fairness Commissioner in 2007, a position held until 2015. Ms. Augustine also served as the national president of the Congress of Black Women of Canada and on many boards including, The Hospital for Sick Children, The Urban Alliance on Race Relations, York University, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Harbourfront  Corporation.

In 2009, Ms. Augustine was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2014, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was awarded the Canadian Black Achievement Award and the YWCA Woman of Distinction. She was also named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.  Several schools and organizations are named after her including the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment; the Girls’ Leadership Academy of the Toronto District School Board; and the Jean Augustine Secondary School of the Peel District School Board.

Ms. Augustine, who has two daughters and two grandsons, was awarded the Luminary Award by the University of the West Indies in 2006. She has received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Toronto, Guelph University, McGill University and York University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from the University of Toronto.

 “Jean Augustine has spent her life working to promote social justice and education. Her dedication to addressing inequality has had a lasting impact on Canadian society. She is an exceptional inspiration for graduating students. Recognition of her contributions to Canada strongly reflect Trent’s commitment to social justice and accessibility to education.” – anonymous nominator

“I am so proud to accept this honorary doctor of laws degree from Trent University. Trent's motto – Challenge the way you think – embodies the widely recognized teaching/learning environment experienced by all. As someone whose life's work has focused on 'inclusion, leadership, and social change' I am thrilled to be associated with the reputation of Trent as an 'interactive, supportive, and collaborative' educational institution. I am grateful for your embrace with this honour.”

Mr. W. John Patterson smiling at the camera in a business suite and tieMrs. Thea Anna Patterson smiling at the camera in a dress shirt against a brown backdropJohn and Thea Patterson – Thursday, June 8, 2017 – 2:00 p.m.

Mr. John Patterson and his wife Thea Patterson have devoted their lives to making the world a better place. Through thoughtful discussion, and concrete action they tackle global challenges. They have spent decades incorporating education, technology, business and faith into their work both here in Canada, and abroad.

“At their core is the commitment both John and Thea exemplify as global citizens with a concern for the wellbeing of the planet and all its peoples.” – anonymous nominator

In 1969 Mr. Patterson began his career as a pastor of the United Church of Canada in Hearst and Hornepayne, Ontario. Following Mr. Patterson’s postgraduate studies in Chicago, they became involved with the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), a not-for-profit organization. For many years they served in India, the U.K. and Chicago, launching village development work, conducting training and facilitation services. Ms. Patterson also worked in fundraising, literacy and teacher training.

Mr. Patterson was also a co-founder of Kanbay, an IT firm that employed more than 7,000 people by the time he retired. He continued to build the company while living in Hong Kong. Having also worked in the corporate world in the U.K., Mrs. Patterson taught at the Hong Kong International School during this time.

Once back in Canada, they established Abbey North in Haliburton Highlands, a meeting place that addresses today’s important issues including HIV-AIDS in Africa, the environment, and delegitimizing war.

The Pattersons have respectively been involved with several organizations including, Canada World Youth and the Canadian Federation of University Women. Alarmed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, they visited Rwanda and reconnected with ICA Canada to work in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. In 2008, they founded Abbey Gardens, a not-for profit charity comprised of a reclaimed open pit quarry that provides economic and recreational opportunities for the community as well as programmes for learning about sustainable living. It has provided internships and volunteer placements for Trent students, and several faculty have also been involved.

“We are delighted beyond description to be awarded these honorary degrees. Peterborough is an important part of our ancestral history and we are very impressed with the way that Trent has enhanced the life of this important Ontario city. When we returned from 32 years of service abroad, we were amazed to discover how Trent had reached out to serve in communities like Haliburton. Partnerships the University has established have markedly enriched the work of local community initiatives.”

Mr. Patterson has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Toronto, a Theology degree from Queen’s Theological College, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.  He completed a year of post-graduate studies at the University of St. Andrews.

Ms. Patterson completed a teaching certification, has an M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University, and a B.A. from Queen’s University in English, Psychology, and Religion.

They have two children, Miriam and David who both graduated from Trent University.

The Right Honourable Paul Martin, smiling at the camera in a grey business suite and red tieThe Right Honourable Paul Martin – Friday, June 9, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.

The Right Honourable Paul Martin served as the twenty-first prime minister of Canada. A member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard, in Montreal, he was the minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002 before becoming prime minister in 2003.

Prior to political life, Mr. Martin was a well-known business leader, serving as an executive at Montreal’s Power Corporation of Canada, and as chairman and chief executive officer of The CSL Group Inc.

As Minister of Finance, he made an indelible impact on Canada’s economy. Among other accomplishments, his term was highlighted by erasing the deficit, consecutive budget surpluses, restoration of the Canada Pension Plan and strengthened financial institution regulations.  Mr. Martin also increased federal support for education, and research and development. He was co-founder of the Finance Ministers’ G-20 and named its inaugural chair. In the G7, and, as a governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, he fought to forgive debt of African countries.

Subsequently as prime minister, he made progress in health care and early learning and child care.  He reached the historic Kelowna Accord to eliminate health, education, housing and economic opportunity gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. He also introduced the Civil Marriage Act which included same-sex couples, and connected with world leaders to promote the Responsibility to Protect, a Canadian initiative.

Following his role as prime minister, Mr. Martin continued to make a difference at home and abroad. To contribute to resolving issues impacting Aboriginal Canadians such as education and business opportunities, Mr. Martin and his family founded the Martin Family Initiative and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund.

Additionally, he collaborated with world leaders on issues including private sector investment in the Third World and a new, strategic vision for the African Development Bank, which he also advised. He worked with the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, and was a founding co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund. He was also a commissioner for the Global Ocean Commission.

In 2013, Mr. Martin participated in a panel discussion on Indigenous education in Canada at Trent University. Trent’s founding president, Professor Tom Symons reflected, “I have appreciated his interest in Trent University’s progress since its inception.  One of the most innovative Canadian business, political and public leaders, he has played a significant role in advancement of progressive legislation. I think in particular of his concern for, and advocacy of, the Indigenous peoples. Paul has contributed positively to the advancement of Canada’s bilingual heritage and its rich cultural pluralism.”

Mr. Martin stated, “I cannot tell you how honoured I am to be receiving an honorary degree from Trent, this for many reasons, beginning with the fact that from day one it has been a leader in the area on which I now spend most of my time -- Indigenous learning.”

In 2011, Mr. Martin was appointed as a Companion to the Order of Canada.

He graduated from St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto in honours Philosophy and History and subsequently from the University’s Faculty of Law. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.

He and his wife, Sheila Ann, have three sons and five grandchildren.