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Four Distinguished Canadians to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trent University's 2006 Convocation Ceremonies


Giller Prize Winner Richard Wright among list of those to be honoured

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On behalf of Senate, the President of Trent University announced the outstanding individuals who will receive honorary degrees at convocation ceremonies on June 1 and 2, 2006.

"Again, our Committee on University Honours has been very successful in identifying a group of accomplished Canadians," said President Bonnie Patterson.  "The collective achievements of all of the degree recipients represents the very best of volunteer leadership, Canadian literature, leadership in the Aboriginal community, and critical inquiry into how technology shapes our lives."

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

June 1, 2006 Morning Ceremony:

Charles Coffey, O.C.

Mr. Charlie Coffey is the Executive Vice President, Government Affairs & Business Development, for RBC Financial Group. Prior to his current appointment, he led business banking in Canada for five years and headed three regional headquarters: Manitoba, Metro Toronto and Ontario. A native of Woodstock, New Brunswick and graduate of the Tuck Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Mr. Coffey has made community leadership a priority throughout his career, serving as a strong advocate for children, aboriginal peoples and entrepreneurs. He is chair, Council for Early Child Development (Ontario); chair, national advisory council, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights; and co-chair, Champions, Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada. Mr. Coffey is also past co-chair of both the Commission on Early Learning and Child Care for the City of Toronto and Trent University's Friends of Native Studies Council. His directorships include the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Canadian Journalism Foundation. In 1997, Mr. Coffey was named an Honourary Chief by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for his support of First Nations and their goals of economic development and self-sufficiency. In 2004, Charlie Coffey was appointed an Officer to the Order of Canada.

June 1, 2006 Afternoon Ceremony:

Richard Wright

Mr. Richard Wright is a Trent alum having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1970. He is the winner of three of Canada's most distinguished prizes for literature, the Trillium Book Award, the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award, for his novel Clara Callan. Previous winners of the Giller include Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. Mr. Wright has written 10 novels, the most recent of which is "Adultery." While at Trent, Mr. Wright published his first novel "The Weekend Man" which received high acclaim. In 1995, his novel "The Age of Longing" was nominated for both the Giller and Governor General's award. Before coming to Trent as a mature student, Mr. Wright was a journalist, radio copywriter and worked in publishing. After graduation he became an English teacher at Ridley College where he taught for 20 years.

June 2, 2006 Morning Ceremony:

Roberta Jamieson

Mrs. Roberta Jamieson was the first Canadian Aboriginal woman to earn a law degree and was the first woman appointed as Ontario's Ombudsman, a position she held for a decade. Mrs. Jamieson currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Foundation and is the first female Chief of the Six Nations Band in Ontario. Raised on Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada's most populous reserve, she learned to be an effective conciliator and negotiator within her large family – a skill that has defined her career. Lauded for developing and promoting non-adversarial methods of conflict resolution, Jamieson has collaborated with legal and political experts in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America to advance democracy through institutional change. She has won international acclaim for her passion, willingness to take risks, and commitment to the field of conflict resolution. Mrs. Jamieson was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1994.

June 2, 2006 Afternoon Ceremony:

Donald Tapscott

Mr. Don Tapscott is recognized as one of the leading business thinkers of our time. A Trent alum (Psychology 1966), Mr. Tapscott majored in statistics and is one of four brothers who attended Trent University. An internationally renowned authority, consultant and speaker on business strategy and organizational transformation, his clients include top executives of many of the world's largest corporations and government leaders from many countries. Mr. Tapscott has authored or co-authored ten widely-read books on the application of technology in business. His latest book, co-authored with David Ticoll, is THE NAKED CORPORATION: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business. Mr. Tapscott is President of New Paradigm Learning Corporation and is an Adjunct Professor of Management at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.  He is recipient of the of the 1996 Communications Week Visionary Award and the Business Leadership Award from the Canadian Information Processing Society 1996.

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For more information contact:

Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224


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