Lakehead Orillia announces 2019 honorary doctorate and Civitas Award recipients

May 6, 2019 – Orillia, ON

On Saturday, June 8, one of Canada’s most distinguished and internationally recognized contemporary artists, Charles Pachter, will receive an honorary doctorate in fine arts during Lakehead University’s Orillia Campus convocation ceremonies.

This year’s ceremonies will take place at Rotary Place, celebrating the graduation of some 400 students.

“This year’s honorary degree recipient is being acknowledged for the tremendous impact he has made on society through the arts,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “We are pleased to recognize Charles’ contributions to Lakehead University and the cultural fabric of Canada.”

Lakehead Orillia will also recognize Anishinaabe Elder and storyteller Mark Douglas with the Civitas Award.

“Mark has made significant contributions to Indigenous education at Lakehead University, ensuring that Indigenous peoples and their perspectives assume a rightful place in education teacher training in Ontario,” said Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, Principal, Orillia Campus.  

Approximately 400 students will graduate during the Orillia Campus ceremony on Saturday, June 8, and 1,800 students will graduate at the Thunder Bay Campus convocation ceremonies on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1.

If you are eligible to graduate and planning to attend convocation, please RSVP using MyInfo – under RSVP-Spring Convocation.

If you want to help make convocation special for Lakehead graduates by volunteering, please email Enrolment Services by Friday, May 17 at, indicating the date and length of time you are available.


Charles Pachter

Honorary Degree – Doctor of Fine Arts

Charles Pachter is one of Canada’s most distinguished and internationally recognized contemporary artists.

A painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, historian, and lecturer, Pachter has his work hanging in public and private collections throughout Canada, and internationally. His images of the Queen, moose, and maple leaf flag are considered icons of Canadian contemporary art. 

Pachter studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, painting and graphics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and art history at the University of Toronto. 

Pachter’s paintings hang in the Portrait Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Embassy in Washington, Canada House in London, the Parliament Buildings, the Embassy of France, and in the Prime Minister’s residence in Ottawa.

In Canada, Pachter has been decorated with the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. He is also a Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters.


Mark Douglas

Biidaanakwad (Cloud approaching)

Maang Dooodem (loon)

2019 Civitas Award

Mark Douglas is Anishinaabe from Rama First Nation and Golden Lake. A Storyteller, Mark has dedicated his life to building bridges between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities within the County of Simcoe.

Mark has held many positions in his varied career. He has been a police officer, a welfare officer, and an addictions counsellor. He was the Executive Director of the Ogemawahj Tribal Council, where he helped ensure that Indigenous art and culture were part of the building of Casino Rama. He has lectured for Georgian College, and worked for the Ontario government within the Native Community Branch.

Through these experiences, Mark learned to grow and understand different perspectives. He learned how to help others achieve their goals and assist them in seeing their potential. He has put these skills to work within the community to support youth, and encourage social interaction and cultural teaching.

Mark has had a formidable impact on Lakehead University through his story telling, knowledge keeping, knowledge sharing, activism and leadership. For over 11 years, he has distilled his learnings, visions and dreams into teachings and delivered them to students, staff and faculty in meaningful ways.

A father, grandfather, uncle and husband of 47 years, Mark enjoys spending his time contributing to community through story-telling, interacting with Elders and community members, and assisting with repatriating cultural protocols. Otherwise, you can find him driving around checking out local coffee shops and enjoying what they have to offer.


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Media contact:  Jaclyn Bucik, Marketing & Communications Associate, 705-330-4008, ext. 2014, or

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead 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 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit