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Rock icons honoured

  • Members of The Tragically Hip are "hooded," as part of the ceremony to award them honorary Doctorates of Law. (Bernard Clark)
  • Jim Leech, 14th Chancellor of Queen's University formally awards honorary Doctorates of Law to the members of The Tragically Hip. (Bernard Clark)
  • Gord Sinclair, ArtSci’86, bassist for The Tragically Hip, delivered the Convocation Address to the School of Medicine graduating class of 2016. (Bernard Clark)
  • Gord Sinclair, ArtSci’86, delivers the Convocation Address on behalf of the band. (Bernard Clark)
  • From L-R: Rector Cam Yung, Chancellor Jim Leech, Principal Daniel Woolf, Gord Sinclair, ArtSci’86, Rob Baker, BFA’86, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois. (Bernard Clark)
  • From L-R: Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Gord Sinclair, ArtSci’86, Rob Baker, BFA’86, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois. (Bernard Clark)

The Tragically Hip took the stage in Grant Hall on May 19 to receive an honorary degree during the commencement ceremony for the 2016 School of Medicine graduating class. The event was a homecoming of sorts for The Hip, with even the location of the ceremony holding special significance for the band.

“Twenty-five years ago this July, we stood up right here on this very stage and wrote the bulk of our second album, Road Apples,” said bassist Gord Sinclair, Artsci’86, who delivered the convocation address on behalf of the band. “This place shaped who and what we’ve become. We learned how to perform in front of students and locals alike in campus pubs and local dives. We saw early on how music has the power to move people and bring them together. “

In his address, Mr. Sinclair discussed the changes in the music industry that he and his bandmates have experienced in their careers. He pointed to the role collaboration played in the band’s success, whether they were on world tours or “playing to an empty bar in Hoboken, New Jersey.” He drew parallels between the changing nature of the music industry and the changes faced by the graduating class, while encouraging them to learn from the experiences of others.

“You have the ability, opportunity, and power to effect real positive change,” says Mr. Sinclair. “This is, after all, about the people you touch, and there is as much artistry in medicine as there is in music… Build on the foundation of the education you have received here. The knowledge, skills, ethics, compassion, empathy and intuition necessary to be the best health-care professionals you can be.”

Formed in 1984, The Tragically Hip are amongst the most well-known Canadian rock bands. Over its 32-year career, the band – consisting of Gord Downie, Artsci’86, Gord Sinclair, Artsci’86, Rob Baker, BFA’86, Paul Langlois and Johnny Fay – has released 12 studio albums, two live albums, one EP and 54 singles. The group has won 14 Juno awards and nine of its albums have reached No. 1 in Canada.

The 11 recipients of honorary degrees at the 2016 Spring Convocations are all Queen’s alumni, in honour of the 175th anniversary of the university. For more information on convocations or the upcoming honorary degree recipients, please visit the website.