Queen's University

Celebrated Canadian singer among honorary degree recipients


By Kristyn Wallace, Communications Specialist

Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Holly Cole, respected Kingston community activist Regina Rosen, Canadian space program pioneer William Macdonald Evans, and education innovator Carolyn Acker will receive honorary degrees during the first week of June convocation ceremonies. An impressive pair of guest speakers will also address the congregations.

Carolyn Acker

[Carolyn Acker]Carolyn Acker

Ms. Acker began her professional career in the nursing and health-care industry, working her way up the ranks of executive leadership through an unmatched combination of world-class education, practical experience and, above all, a desire to give back. In 1992 she became the executive director of the Regent Park Community Health Centre in Canada’s oldest and largest public housing community, serving people who were disadvantaged or homeless through a range of health and social services, and community development programs.

Ms. Acker used the experience she gained from serving Toronto’s disadvantaged to drive her entrepreneurial spirit.  As a result, Pathways to Education was born out of her passion for helping young people to break the cycle of poverty, continue their education and find success in socially valuable careers. In 2006, Ms. Acker became the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities across Canada graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education.

Ms. Acker will receive her honorary degree (DSc) on Wednesday, June 4 at 10 am at Grant Hall. She will address the congregation on June 4 at 2:30 pm as a guest speaker. 

William Macdonald Evans

[William Macdonald Evans]William Macdonald Evans

Mr. Evans worked in the Canadian space program for 30 years.  His accomplishments include: development of space plans that obtained more than $3 billion of funding for the Canadian Space Program; negotiation of Canada’s participation in the International Space Station; selection of nine Canadian astronauts; and the proposal for the creation of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). When the CSA was established in 1989, he became vice-president, responsible for Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station, the RADARSAT Program that produced Canada’s first remote sensing satellite and the Canadian Astronaut Program. In 1994 Mr. Evans was appointed president of the Canadian Space Agency, a position he held for seven years.  During his tenure, Canada launched more payloads and had more astronaut flights than at any other time in its history. 

Since retiring from the CSA in 2001, Mr. Evans has provided consulting services to the Canadian space industry, and is also vice-chair of the Defence Science Advisory Board that provides scientific advice to the Department of National Defence.

Mr. Evans will receive his honorary degree (LLD) on Thursday, June 5 at 2:30 pm at Grant Hall.

Regina Rosen

[Regina Rosen]Regina Rosen

A community activist inspired by a desire to affect positive change, Ms. Rosen’s activities include extensive fundraising and volunteer involvement in a broad spectrum of community-based, national and international organizations. Having achieved an early education teacher's degree and a bachelor’s degreein drama and religion from Queen's, she has remained a lifelong student, pursuing post-graduate education in any discipline that strikes her fancy. Her involvement at Queen's extends to volunteering.  Having successfully initiated a proposal for a Jewish Studies Program, she and her late husband successfully raised the necessary funds to launch such a program. They endowed the Irving and Regina Rosen Public Lecture Series, which brings to Kingston speakers who reflect Jewish thought, identity and culture in Canada and the world. In March 2010 she received the Queen’s University Padre Laverty Award for: “volunteering energy, enthusiasm and financial support to Queen’s, the arts, and the greater Kingston community.”

Ms. Rosen will receive her honorary degree (LLD) on Friday, June 6 at 10 am at Grant Hall.

Holly Cole

[Holly Cole]Holly Cole 

Born and raised in the Maritimes, Ms. Cole grew up surrounded by a musical family. She has charted a career that has included 11 studio recordings (selling well over a million units in Canada, the U.S., Germany and Japan), six of them gold or multiplatinum in Canada, a couple of anthologies, a gold album in Japan for 1991’s Blame It On My Youth, several television specials and some of the finest and most engaging vocal and arranging work in the world of contemporary pop.

Last summer during a sold-out performance at the world renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, Ms. Cole received the prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Award. She is one of only two Canadians to receive this celebrated honour, putting her in the company of other esteemed musicians including Tony Bennett, Sade, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald herself.

Ms. Cole will receive her honorary degree (LLD) on Friday, June 6 at 2:30 pm at Grant Hall.

*Please note: Ms. Cole is scheduled to perform during the convocation ceremony*

This week’s convocation guest speakers are:

Iain Bruce

Mr. Bruce is a senior managing director in the risk group of Ambac Assurance Corporation in New York. He is responsible for management and remediation of residential mortgage exposure, including the management and oversight of litigation against mortgage backed securities sponsors.

Mr. Bruce is also a proud member of the Queen’s Commerce class of 1981. He has remained active at Queen’s, and is a member of both the advisory board and the global council of Queen’s School of Business. With a number of classmates, he created the Commerce ’81 Entrance Scholarship, a four year needs-based scholarship. Since inception of the scholarship, he meets each year with recipients and takes an active interest in their participation at Queen’s.

Mr. Bruce will address convocation on Monday, June 2nd, at 2:30 pm at Grant Hall.

P. Kim Sturgess

Ms. Sturgess is the founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, a not-for-profit organization committed to developing and improving the management of Alberta’s water resources. She serves on the Expert Panel for Water Use in Canadian Agriculture sponsored by the Canadian Council of Academies, and is a sought after speaker and advisor on water issues in Canada and Alberta. 

Ms. Sturgess graduated with a degree in engineering physics from Queen's in 1977. In addition to serving on the boards of her own companies, she currently serves on the boards of CCI Thermal Technologies Inc., the Calgary Airport Authority, the Alberta Chamber of Resources, the Council of Canadian Academies and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. In 2007 she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and a Woman of Vision, and in 2012 she was named the Outstanding Businesswoman in Calgary by the Consumers Choice Awards.

Ms. Sturgess will address convocation on Thursday, June 5 at 10 am at Grant Hall and at 6:30 pm at Grant Hall. 

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Last updated at 3:43 pm EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
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