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Honorary Degrees to be Bestowed Upon Four Remarkable Canadians at 2018 Convocation Ceremonies

April 23, 2018

Head of Bell Let’s Talk, Holocaust educator and survivor, supporter of urban Indigenous communities, and eminent architect to be recognized with Trent’s highest honour

Convocation ceremony 2018

Trent University will honour four distinguished Canadians, including a corporate mental health advocate; an orator, author and first-hand witness to the Holocaust; the executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres; and an innovative architect known for his work at Trent and around the world, as the University’s 2018 honorary degree recipients at Trent’s Convocation ceremonies to be held this June in Peterborough and Durham GTA.

“In their uniquely talented ways, these extraordinary Canadians lift up our society,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University. “These champions of human dignity and spirit bring worlds together through education, advocacy, artistry and vision. It is a tremendous privilege to celebrate their exemplary achievements with our highest honour, an honorary doctorate from Trent University.”

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

George Cope – Tuesday, June 5, 2018 – 2:00 p.m. ceremony
George Cope, president and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, will be honoured for his work as a corporate leader and champion for mental health.

Sylvia Maracle – Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. ceremony
Executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Sylvia Maracle will be recognized for her advocacy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples, particularly for Indigenous urban youth.

Stephen Teeple – Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – 2:00 p.m. ceremony
Innovative architect Stephen Teeple will be honoured for his impressive contributions to the body of Canadian architecture in general, and to Trent University’s campus in particular.

Max (Tibor) Eisen – Tuesday, June 12, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. ceremony at Trent Durham GTA
Max Eisen, Holocaust survivor, author and educator will be recognized for his efforts in the area of Holocaust education and promotion of human rights.

Profiles are below and full bios, including nominator and recipient quotes, are available on the Convocation website at


George Cope
Known as a strategic communications industry executive and a builder of high-performance teams, George Cope leads Canada’s largest communications company as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.

In addition to his long-standing success in the business world, Mr. Cope has become well-known for his role in spearheading the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, the largest-ever corporate commitment to Canadian mental health. A personal and professional commitment to raising awareness, reducing stigma and growing funding in support of mental health has resulted in this successful national initiative, recognized as one of the country’s most prominent community investment campaigns.

In recognition of his efforts regarding Bell Let’s Talk, Mr. Cope received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2014, named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year in 2015 and inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2018.

Sylvia Maracle
Sylvia Maracle (Skonaganleh:ra), Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and a member of the Wolf Clan, is known for being dedicated to creating healthy communities and improving the lives of urban Indigenous people in Ontario and across Canada.

Ms. Maracle is the executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the largest urban Indigenous service network in the province providing culturally appropriate services. She has been involved in the Friendship Centre movement for several decades. She is the Indigenous chair of the Executive Committee to End Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls, a member of the Indigenous Justice Group, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. Ms. Maracle was also a founding member of the Native Studies Ph.D. Council at Trent University.

Working to address violence against Indigenous women and in support of urban youth development, Ms. Maracle has worked tirelessly to guide policy and programming to improve the socio-economic status for Indigenous people. She continues to lecture across Canada and around the world on women's issues, urban development, and the cultural revitalization of Indigenous people. 

Stephen Teeple
A highly-respected Canadian architect of innovative private and public-sector buildings ranging from museums and civic buildings to downtown condos, Stephen Teeple is principal of Teeple Architects, a Toronto-based company which he founded in 1989. On display around the world and across Canada, his artistic works are conscious of environmental and cultural sustainability while paying close attention to the spatial experience.

Closer to home, Mr. Teeple’s award-winning designs have come to life through many striking features of the Symons Campus at Trent University in Peterborough. Contributing to the natural landscape of the campus and Trent’s impressive architectural legacy, Mr. Teeple designed the Trent University Childcare Centre (1994), the Physics Building (1999), the Chemical Sciences Building (2008), and most recently the new Student Centre (2017).

Outside of his company, Mr. Teeple is a prominent member of the Canadian arts and design community, committed to active and ongoing engagement in all aspects of discourse regarding design, creativity and the public realm. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Max Tibor Eisen
Max (Tibor) Eisen is a Holocaust survivor. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, Mr. Eisen is, in fact, the only member of his large orthodox Jewish family to survive the Holocaust. Mr. Eisen survived slave labour in Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Melk and Ebensee Camps and was forced to go on a Death March in January of 1945 where thousands died from exposure to severe weather conditions and malnutrition.  He was liberated from the Ebensee concentration camp in Austria in 1945 as an orphaned teenager. After his arrival in Toronto in 1949, he studied English and worked a variety of jobs before launching his own manufacturing company in 1964. Considered a respected pioneer in his industry, Mr. Eisen retired in 1992.

As a first-hand witness and a survivor, Mr. Eisen has been long devoted to educating others about the Holocaust, encouraging understanding, and teaching about the dangers of hatred and discrimination in society. A survivor of a forced death march during the Holocaust, Mr. Eisen participates annually in the International March of the Living between the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps held on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Mr. Eisen has received many acknowledgments and awards for his tireless efforts including: a Ministry of Citizenship and Culture certificate; the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Award of Valour; the V’Ahavta, Tikun Olam Award; the 2014 Community Award by the York Regional Police Service; and the Commandant’s Commendation from the Canadian Forces College.

About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

Kate Gennings, communications and media relations officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or