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Getting ready for fall convocation

Queen’s is preparing to celebrate graduating students and recognize the outstanding contributions of seven honorary degree recipients during convocation ceremonies.

With in-person convocation ceremonies continuing this fall, after retuning in the spring following a two-year hiatus, Queen’s is getting ready to celebrate its graduating students and enjoy the traditions that make convocation ceremonies a highlight of the academic year. Eight ceremonies will take place in Grant Hall over Oct. 11-14 and graduates from seven faculties and schools will be crossing the stage and receiving their degrees.

One especially meaningful convocation tradition is the awarding of honorary degrees, and this fall Queen’s will be conferring seven honorary degrees on leaders from a wide range of fields, including law, music, and engineering. All recipients were chosen by the Queen’s community for their outstanding achievements in their fields as well as their immense contributions to local, national, and global communities.

“I’m excited to once again be able to honour our graduates on their tremendous achievements, and to hear from our inspiring honorary degree recipients, who will share their wisdom with our graduates as they move on to the next phase of their lives,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane.

Honorary degree recipients fall 2022

Adelle Blackett – Ceremony one, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.

Photograph of Adelle BlackettAdelle Blackett has been at the forefront of international and national human rights law for the past 25 years. A prolific, world-class scholar in labour law and its interface with trade, she is a key thinker behind the emerging field of transnational labour law, foregrounding decolonial approaches. She joined the McGill Faculty of Law in 2000, becoming McGill’s first Black law professor. A Tier 1 Canada Research Chairholder in Transnational Labour Law and Development, she was the lead architect of an historic international treaty, the 2011 International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers’ Convention.  Her recent book, Everyday Transgressions:  Domestic Workers’ Transnational Challenge to International Labor Law (Cornell University Press, 2019) earned the 2020 Canadian Council on International Law’s Scholarly Book Award. An elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she has worked closely with the ILO, governments, employers, and trade unions to prepare a draft Haitian labour code. She offers expert advice on trade-labour interface and is on dispute-resolution rosters for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Alex Cuba – Ceremony three, Oct. 12, 10 a.m.

Photograph of Alex CubaAlex Cuba is a singer-songwriter, producer, and musician who has been recognized with multiple Latin Grammy, Grammy, and Juno awards. Born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, he was immersed in music at a very young age, joining his father’s (guitarist and teacher Valentin Puentes) group of 24 guitarists. Alex then went on to study electric and upright bass and tour and record nationally and internationally. His sound is the unique confluence of tradition and global influences in articulate arrangements that convey emotions through melody and lyric. Though raised in Artemisa, an hour outside of Havana, Alex Cuba’s artistry is as far-flung as the place he has settled and lived for over ten years: Smithers, BC, 14 hours north of Vancouver. His music at once incorporates his Cuban roots and is a unique amalgam of styles from funk and pop to soul. He has collaborated with peers ranging from Nelly Furtado and Jason Mraz to Ron Sexsmith and Jim Cuddy to Pablo Milanes and Lionel Garcia.

Evelyn Forget – Ceremony four, Oct. 12, 2:30 p.m.

Photograph of Evelyn ForgetEvelyn L. Forget is an economist whose research has been dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to live full lives. She has advocated for a basic income guarantee that would offer financial support to those living below the poverty line, without shame and without making resources conditional on meeting arbitrary regulations. Born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, she first came across the idea of a basic income guarantee as a psychology undergraduate at Glendon College when she accidentally found herself in an economics class trying to fulfill a university requirement. One day, her economics professor came to class with a story about a massive Canadian social experiment on guaranteed income then underway. She was so intrigued that she changed her major to economics and nothing was ever the same again. Professor Forget went on to earn a PhD in economics at the University of Toronto, and then moved to Winnipeg where she was Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba until 2000. In 2000, she was hired as Professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, past president of the History of Economics Society and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Wesley Hall – Ceremony seven, Oct. 14, 10 a.m.

Photograph of Wesley HallWesley Hall came from very humble beginnings in Jamaica to then become one of the most influential businesspeople in Canada. He has established himself as the preeminent leader in shareholder advisory services and contested investor situations. The Globe and Mail has called him one of the nation’s “most influential powerbrokers,” Canadian Business magazine named him one of the “most powerful business people” in 2016, Toronto Life magazine voted him among the “50 most influential Torontonians in 2020,” the International Association of Business Communicators (Toronto) named him their “2020 Communicator of the Year,” and Maclean’s magazine ranked him number 18 on their 2021 Power List of the “50 most powerful people in Canada.” As the Founder of Kingsdale Advisors, Hall has delivered an unparalleled track record of success for North America’s biggest names including Air Canada, Barrick, BHP Billiton, Citigroup, CN, CP, Ovintiv, Goldcorp, Talisman, and Suncor. He has been sought out to lead some of the highest profile deals and activist campaigns in North America.

Helen Humphreys – Ceremony five, Oct. 13, 10 a.m.

Photograph of Helen HumphreysHelen Humphreys is the award-winning author of four books of poetry, nine novels, and six works of creative non-fiction. She has won the City of Toronto Book Award, the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, a Lambda Award for fiction, the Canadian Author’s Association Award for poetry, and the Harbourfront Festival Prize for Literary Excellence. Her work has also been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Prize, the B.C. Non-Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Prize, and has been a finalist on CBC Canada Reads. Her books have been translated and published all over the world and have been adapted for stage, screen, TV, and opera. She has been a writer in residence at many institutions, including the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, and has been a resident artist at the arts colonies Yaddo and McDowell. From 2014 to 2018 she was the Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston, where she lives and writes. Her most recent books are the novel, Rabbit Foot Bill, the non-fiction Field Study, and the memoir, And A Dog Called Fig.

Suzanne Lacasse – Ceremony two, Oct. 11, 2:30 p.m.

Photograph of Suzanne LacasseSuzanne Lacasse was born in Noranda, Québec, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Université de Montréal and civil engineering degrees from École Polytechnique de Montréal and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was first Lecturer at École Polytechnique (1973-1975) and then on the faculty of the Civil Engineering and Environmental Department at MIT (1975-1984), where she also was Head of the Geotechnical Laboratory. Dr. Lacasse then went to the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), and became NGI's Managing Director in 1991, a position she held until 2012. She served as President of the Canadian Geotechnical Society in 2003-2004. During the early part of her career, Dr. Lacasse concentrated her work on geotechnical laboratory techniques, soil behaviour studies, and in-situ investigation methods. Subsequently, she worked on foundation engineering and design for structures on land and offshore, slope stability, and development of calculation procedures. In her work, Dr. Lacasse concentrated on combining mathematical and numerical analyses with practical geotechnical engineering design considerations.

Clarence Joseph Louie – Ceremony eight, Oct. 14, 2:30 p.m.

Photograph of Clarence LouieClarence Louie was elected Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) in 1984 at the age of 24 and has held the position for more than 12 terms. The OIB Development Corporation (OIBDC) was formed in 1988 under Louie’s leadership. As CEO, he has developed over eleven successful on-reserve, OIB-owned businesses and five joint ventures in pursuit of economic self-sufficiency for the community. For over 30 years, Chief Clarence Louie has been a champion for the Osoyoos Indian Band’s working culture, inspiring generations not only within the band but around the world with his message about self-empowerment through employment, hard work, and community building. Louie is quoted widely in media and is a highly sought-after speaker for his strong and straightforward views on the link between economic development and First Nations self-reliance. Known for doing business in a modern First Nations context, Chief Louie wants to build an ‘indigenous economy’ where First Nations businesspeople and leaders not only participate in the mainstream of Canada’s business economy, but more and more, take a stronger leadership position to shape environmentally and socially responsible outcomes that still feed the bottom line.

Social media celebrations

The celebration of graduating students will happen digitally as well, as Queen’s will be using #queensugrad2022 across social media platforms and encouraging others to do the same. Queen’s will also share photos of the ceremonies on the university’s social media channels over the week.

Learn more about fall convocation and honorary degrees on the Office of the University Registrar website.