Lakehead names Thunder Bay Convocation’s 2015 Honorary Degree Recipients and Fellow of the University

March 27, 2015 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University will honour four remarkable individuals at this year’s Convocation ceremonies being held at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on May 29 and 30.

The University will confer honorary doctorate degrees to Margaret Phillips, Michael Rapino and Dr. Dominic Lam, three exceptional people being recognized for their achievements in social justice, entrepreneurship, and health, respectively.

“Honorary degree recipients are nominated not only because of the scope of what they have accomplished, but because of how much they have given back to our world, as well,” said Dr. Brian Stevenson, Lakehead President & Vice-Chancellor.

Lakehead will also recognize the hard work and dedication of Roy Piovesana, who will be named a Fellow of the University. Piovesana has been a pillar of the Thunder Bay community, a champion of Lakehead University, and a role model and inspiration for generations of students.

Lakehead Board of Governors Chair Murray Walberg said Piovesana’s significant contributions to Thunder Bay and the University are why he is so deserving of this honour. “Roy’s commitment and passion for Lakehead, teaching, and the arts and history of our region have profoundly benefitted and touched countless people since he graduated from our University 50 years ago,” he said.

Dr. Stevenson explained that Convocation is a time to celebrate achievements, and a time to inspire Lakehead’s graduates as they move on to the next phase of their lives. “The stories of our 50th Anniversary year’s honorary degree recipients and Fellow of the University are examples of our University’s Mission Statement — teaching students how to think, not what to think — and, thus, are the perfect individuals to speak to, and inspire, our graduates.”


Friday, May 29 at 2 pm

Margaret Phillips

Margaret Phillips is co-founder of the Northern Woman’s Bookstore and was a member of the Advisory Committee that created the Women’s Studies Program at Lakehead University.

Phillips is an alumna of Lakehead, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies in 1980. During most of her adult life, she has worked for social justice, particularly with feminist issues and aboriginal rights. Her early work in the recreation field was, for a young woman at that time, pioneering.

Phillips has served as a Director on the Board of Inter Pares, an international development organization seeking change in the status of women worldwide, and as a Board member of the Canadian Council on Social Development. She was also the executive director of the Lakehead Social Planning Council from 1971 to 1981.

In 2008, the Northwestern Ontario Writers’ Workshop honoured Phillips by presenting her with the Kouhi Award for her outstanding contributions to the literature of Northwestern Ontario.

Margaret Phillips will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters. 


Saturday, May 30 at 9:30 am

Michael Rapino

Michael Rapino is a Lakehead alumnus who became an icon within the music industry.

Rapino was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Live Nation Entertainment in 2005 and led its transformation into the number one live music brand in the world, with operations in more than 45 countries and annual revenue exceeding $6.5 billion.

Before his career reached such great heights, Rapino studied Business at Lakehead University, earning his Bachelor of Administration in 1989.  Since then, he has made significant contributions to the advancement of the world’s music industry through his strong business acumen and willingness to be innovative.

Comprised of four market-leading divisions – Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship and Artist Nation Management – Live Nation annually issues more than 450 million tickets, promotes 23,000 events, partners with over 750 sponsors, and manages the careers of 280+ artists. Its ecommerce sites average 37 million unique monthly users.  

Michael Rapino will receive an Honorary Doctor of Commerce.


Saturday, May 30 at 2 pm

Dominic Lam

Dr. Dominic Lam is a recognized and celebrated doctor, inventor, artist and philanthropist who is proud to be a Lakehead University alumnus.

This world-renowned eye specialist began his post-secondary education at Lakehead University. Dr. Lam was born in Swatow, China, and grew up in Hong Kong. He moved to the City of Fort William in 1965, received a city scholarship to Lakehead and became one of the University’s first international students.

Dr. Lam obtained his Bachelor of Science from Lakehead in 1967, followed by a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in 1968 and a PhD from the University of Toronto in 1970. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, eventually joining the faculty in Neurobiology and Biochemistry.

Dr. Lam strongly believes in the need to use his research and wealth to benefit humankind. He was instrumental in bringing Project Orbis, an airplane with ophthalmic equipment and specialists, to China to provide free education, eye care and surgery to those in need.

Dr. Dominic Lam will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science.


Fellow of the University

Roy Piovesana

Roy Piovesanas life has been one of firsts.

Fifty years ago, Piovesana graduated from Lakehead as president of his class, making him, in many ways, the epitome of this University’s first group of students. Choosing to remain at Lakehead, he became one of the first students to enrol in one of our graduate programs. 

In 1969, he graduated with a Master of Arts in History, the first for that program and among the first Master of Arts graduates of our University. As a teacher, Piovesana inspired and educated generations of curious minds over the course of a career that provided countless Thunder Bay students the opportunity to pursue their post-secondary education dreams at home.

Piovesana became a fixture within Thunder Bay’s arts and heritage community. As a historian, he continues to distinguish himself regionally, nationally, and internationally. A leading expert on Italian-Canadian history and religious history, he is one of the driving forces behind the Institute of Italian Studies - Lakehead University (formerly the Chair in Italian Studies - Lakehead University), where he has served as president since 2011.



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In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education. Guided by its Strategic Plan (2013-2018), Lakehead is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community. About 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies.


Maclean’s 2015 University Rankings places Lakehead University 2nd in Ontario and among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities, and 1st among Ontario’s undergraduate universities for Total Research Dollars, Social Sciences & Humanities Grants, and Library Expenses. In 2014, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead 2nd in Ontario and 3rd among Canada’s undergraduate universities.