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Honorary degrees at Fall Convocation recognize key contributions

Queen’s University's 20th principal and Indigenous leaders among those being recognized during ceremonies.

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation at Queen’s University. This fall, six recipients will be honoured during the ceremonies, including two during the installation ceremony of Patrick Deane as the 21st principal and vice-chancellor.

Honorary degree recipients are selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients for Fall Convocation are:

Daniel Woolf
Installation Ceremony, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 3:30 pm
Daniel Woolf served for 10 years (2009-19) as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s and recently received the designation of Principal Emeritus. As principal, Dr. Woolf led the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, initiated significant reforms to university governance and financial administration, improved town-gown relations, oversaw several major capital projects, and worked to make the university a national leader in student mental health. A graduate of Queen’s University (BA Hons 1980) and Oxford University (DPhil 1983), he is a specialist in early modern British intellectual and cultural history and in the global history of historical writing. He is the author of five books, most recently A Concise History of History (Cambridge University Press, 2019); a previous book, The Social Circulation of the Past: English Historical Culture c 1500-1730 (Oxford University Press, 2003) was awarded the John Ben Snow Prize by the North American Conference on British Studies in 2004 for the best book on British History pre-1800.

John Joseph Borrows
Installation Ceremony, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 3:30 pm

John Borrows is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School in British Columbia. He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences; 2019 Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. John is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2016), The Right Relationship (with Michael Coyle, ed.), Resurgence and Reconciliation (with Michael Asch, Jim Tully, eds.), Law’s Indigenous Ethics (forthcoming) all from the University of Toronto Press.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Convocation Ceremony 1, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 10 am

Perry Bellegarde was re-elected for a second term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2018. Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory, he has spent the past 30 years putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by many Chiefs and Elders. Bellegarde has served in several elected leadership positions in First Nations governments. In 2018, he was recognized with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, one of several recognitions. National Chief Bellegarde remains committed to building on the momentum created since his election in 2014. His national platform and agenda remains top priority and have directly influenced the federal government’s planning and priorities to date.

Margaret Murphy
Convocation Ceremony 2, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2:30 pm
Following the death of her son as a result of medical error, Margaret Murphy has been actively involved as a patient safety advocate. She is the External Lead Advisor, WHO Patients for Patient Safety (a network of 400 patient safety champions from 52 countries with 19 collaborating organizations). The focus of her work relates to seeing adverse events as having the potential to be catalysts for change as well as being opportunities for learning, identifying areas for improvement and preventing recurrence. She promotes this viewpoint at local, national and international levels as an invited presenter to conferences, hospital staffs and students.  Her area of particular interest is education as a vehicle to achieve sustainable culture change.

Ann Dowsett Johnston
Convocation Ceremony 6, Friday, Nov. 15, 10 am
Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol for which she has received numerous awards including the Transforming Lives Award from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the American Research Society on Addiction’s Media Award, and the T.A. Sweet Award from the Ontario Psychiatric Association for helping address stigma related to mental health and addiction. Winner of seven National Magazine awards, Dowsett Johnston spent much of her journalistic career at Maclean’s magazine where she is best known as the founding editor of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. Dowsett Johnston started her journalism career straight out of Queen’s University as a researcher at Maclean’s. Dowsett Johnston has also held the position of Vice-Principal of McGill University, overseeing development, alumni and university relations.

Murray SinclairSenator Murray Sinclair
Convocation Ceremony 7, Friday, Nov. 15, 2:30 pm
Senator Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second. He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events. He served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. Senator Sinclair has received honorary doctorates from a dozen Canadian universities. He was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016.

Fall Convocation begins on Tuesday, Nov. 12 with the Principal’s Installation Ceremony and will continue from Wednesday, Nov. 13 to Friday, Nov. 15. There will be two ceremonies on Wednesday and Friday (10 am and 2:30 pm) and three ceremonies on Thursday (10 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm).

All ceremonies are being held at Grant Hall.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony.

More information about convocation at Queen’s is available on the website of the Office of the University Registrar, including a full schedule of the ceremonies.