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Six Exemplary Citizens to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trent University's 2004 Convocation Ceremonies

February 10, 2004, Peterborough

The Senate of Trent University is pleased to announce the selection of six individuals to receive honorary degrees at convocation ceremonies on May 27 and 28, 2004.

"The Committee on University Honours has been very successful in identifying such an extraordinary list of accomplished individuals," said President Bonnie Patterson. "From esteemed achievements in science and the arts to the realization of leaps in social justice, the triumphs of this year's list of honorary degree recipients is extraordinary*and highly appropriate in reflecting the potential of a liberal arts and science degree. Clearly, our graduands will be eager to hear from these distinguished citizens."

With the addition of new programs and increases in enrolment, there will be a third convocation ceremony this spring. For the first time, Trent University's 2004 convocation ceremonies will be held over a two-day period with two ceremonies scheduled for May 27 and one for the morning of May 28.

The following individuals will be honoured at this year's convocation ceremonies:

May 27: morning ceremony

Don LePan is President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Director of Broadview Press, a highly successful Canadian publishing house which started out in Peterborough, Ontario. Mr. LePan is well known for the opportunity and encouragement he has given to young academics. He attended Carleton University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) degree, and the University of Sussex, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree. He entered book publishing in 1975 as a sales representative for Oxford University Press, and from 1979-1982 was Manager of the College Division of Oxford University Press (Canada). In 1985, Mr. LePan founded Broadview Press, a company which publishes a broad variety of subject areas in the arts and social sciences, welcoming feminist perspectives and having a particular interest in environmental issues. Mr. LePan has authored several books including The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture and The Broadview Book of Common Errors.

The Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella is a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She is well known for her passion for social justice and as a champion of human rights and the causes of the needy and the disabled. She has been a judge on the Ontario Court of Appeal since 1992. Called to the bar in 1972, she practiced civil and criminal litigation until, at the age of 29, she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court in 1976, making her Canada's youngest, and first Jewish female, to be appointed to the Bench. The sole Commissioner and author of the 1984 federal Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, she created the term and concept of "employment equity." The theories of "equality" and "discrimination" she developed in her Report were adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its first decision dealing with equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She has also chaired the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and the Study on Access to Legal Services by the Disabled, and many other boards, committees and tribunals, and was a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is the author of two books on access and equality, and various articles.

May 27: afternoon ceremony

Jean Murray Cole is a former journalist, distinguished local historian and writer. She was recently named the president of the Ontario Historical Society, in recognition of the historical value of her work. Ms. Cole has contributed significantly to knowledge of Peterborough County, the Kawartha region, and Canada by publishing eight books, including three Peterborough area township histories, and many papers. She has contributed to several books and participated on countless boards and committees. Her book Exile in the Wilderness (1979) was followed by This Blessed Wilderness (2001) and the two works have established her reputation internationally as a first-rate fur-trade historian. She has won grants and awards for her work, leadership and volunteerism. Ms. Cole came to Peterborough with her husband, the late A.O.C. Cole, when he was appointed Registrar of Trent University in the 1960s. She is known as a tireless supporter of museums and libraries in the Peterborough area and is a longstanding member of the Friends of the Bata Library.

Alistair MacLeod is a Canadian writer of international renown, whose work focuses on life in eastern Canada, particularly Cape Breton. His writing has received widespread literary acclaim and in 2001, he was the first Canadian to win the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the largest monetary award for a single piece of fiction. The prize was awarded for his first novel No Great Mischief. Also known and loved for his talent in crafting short stories, Mr. MacLeod draws on the Gaelic oral tradition of storytelling in his work. The landscapes and established occupations of Cape Breton life are fixtures in his tales, as are the themes of leaving home and returning home. Mr. MacLeod's literary honours and awards are extensive. Among them, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood was nominated for the "Peoples Choice" Award as one of the best books published in the United Kingdom in 1991 and was selected as one of the "best new books in Scotland." Publishers Weekly (New York) chose it as one of the "Best Books of 1998." Mr. MacLeod was selected as Trent University's Ashley Fellow for the year 2002/03.

May 28: morning ceremony

P.K. Page is one of the most remarkable figures in Canadian culture. In a career spanning six decades, and still very much in progress, she has published more than twenty books, including poetry, fiction (short stories and a novel), a memoir, children's books, and translations. In addition, she has written film scripts for the National Film Board of Canada, and, under the name P.K. Irwin, has produced an impressive body of work as a visual artist, represented in collections of major galleries including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Her achievement has been widely recognized. She has won several awards for her poetry, including the Governor-General's Award, for her writing for children, and for her script-writing; she has received honorary degrees from a number of Canadian universities; and she has been made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2002, Trent University hosted a conference devoted to P.K. Page, entitled Extraordinary Presence: The Worlds of P.K. Page, to celebrate her lifelong achievement.

Terence Dickinson is a one of North America's leading astronomy writers, an editor, broadcaster, and teacher renowned for unraveling and explaining the mysteries of the cosmos for amateur astronomers across the country. Known as Canada's leading author on astronomy books for both adults and children, Mr. Dickinson has published 14 books. NightWatch is one of the best-selling stargazing books in the world. His down-to-earth style has made him a best-selling author with more than half a million books in print. He is a weekly columnist for The Toronto Star and a regular commentator for the Canadian Discovery Channel and CBC Radio. He has been editor of SkyNews since the magazine's first issue in 1995. He was appointed by the Governor General as a Member of the Order of Canada and received the Royal Canadian Institute's Sandford Fleming Medal for achievements in advancing public understanding of Science. Asteroid 5272 Dickinson is named after him.

For a complete list of honorary degree recipients throughout the University's history, please visit


For more information, please contact:
Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224

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Last Updated February 10, 2004