Watch Lakehead's main convocation ceremony by pressing play.
May 25, 2022 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.
Lakehead University will recognize six exceptional people at this year’s main convocation ceremony being held virtually on Thursday, June 2, at 10 am EST.
Lyn McLeod, Chief Perry Bellegarde, and Karl Subban will receive honorary degrees for their distinguished achievements within the communities and people they have dedicated their lives to improving.
“Lakehead University’s 57th Convocation is about celebrating and acknowledging the exceptional achievements and potential of our graduates,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “The most recent years of our graduating class’s studies are likely the most challenging any Lakehead graduate has had to face and overcome leading up to this moment, and we couldn’t be prouder of each of them.”
Lakehead University will also honour former Lakehead Board of Governors Chair Cameron Clark by naming him Fellow of the University. Fellows are named for their unique contribution to the growth, development, welfare, and well-being of Lakehead University.
Clark served as Chair and Vice-Chair of Lakehead’s Board of Governors from 2010-2014.
“Cam’s personal and professional contributions to Lakehead University are only matched by his love of our institution and his passion for the communities we serve,” said Angie Maltese, Chair of Lakehead’s Board of Governors. “We are very pleased to recognize his years of dedication to Lakehead and our Board.”
Robert and Qennefer Browne (posthumously) will be presented with the 2022 Civitas Award for their significant contributions to the University community.
“In both Thunder Bay and Orillia, Bob and his late wife Qennefer were enthusiastic participants in the Lakehead University community,” said Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, Principal of the Orillia campus. “As mature students and enthusiastic participants, they were pioneer members of the charter class of Lakehead Orillia, helping to build a community inside and outside the walls of our campus.”
Lakehead’s virtual main Convocation Ceremony will also include the formal installation of Lakehead’s 10th chancellor, Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell. Dr. Deverell was named Lakehead’s Chancellor in October 2021.
HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS
Lyn McLeod served in elected political office, locally and provincially, for 33 years, prior to her retirement on October 2, 2003. Elected to the Ontario Legislature, Lyn represented the riding of Fort William/Thunder Bay-Atikokan from 1987 to 2003.
Under the Peterson Government, she held the positions of Minister of Colleges and Universities, Minister of Energy and Minister of Natural Resources. Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party from 1992 to 1996, Lyn was the first woman to be elected leader of a political party in Ontario.
Since her retirement from elected office, Lyn has served as Chair of the Ontario Health Quality Council, as the Ontario representative on the Health Council of Canada, and as a member and vice-chair of the Ontario Power authority.
She is a past Chair of Confederation College’s Board of Governors and a former member of the Board of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute. She was the Founding Chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (now known as Ontario Tech University) and she holds an Honorary Doctorate from that institution.
She is a Fellow of Lakehead University and she received the Lakehead University Alumni award. Lyn was Lakehead University’s Chancellor from 2017 until 2021.
Following a move to Alliston, Ont., Lyn served as a member and Chair of New Path, which provides mental health services to children in Simcoe County. She is currently a member and vice-chair of the Board of Georgian College and a member of Lakehead University’s Achievement Committee.
Lyn was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2014. She will be granted an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Chief Perry Bellegarde
Chief Perry Bellegarde (Little Black Bear First Nation) has dedicated his life to championing the rights and well-being of First Nations. For 35 years, he has held various First Nations leadership roles, including serving two terms as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) from 2014-2021.
As National Chief, Chief Bellegarde campaigned tirelessly to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other families in Canada. Critical accomplishments include the passage of Canada’s first national legislation recognizing and protecting Indigenous languages and securing a legislative commitment to national implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Chief Bellegarde also influenced the acknowledgement of Indigenous Rights in the final Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), as a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Advisory Council. He has also raised the international profile of First Nations expertise on sustainable development, promoting rights-based solutions to the climate crisis from the Paris Agreement to the Sustainable Markets Initiative.
In recognition of his work, Chief Bellegarde has been awarded the Confederation Medal, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, and both the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2018, he was recognized with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and in 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Queen’s University. Most recently, Chief Bellegarde was named “Nation Builder of the Year” by the Empire Club of Canada and the Honorary President of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. He will be granted an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Karl Subban is a life-long educator, author, and inspirational speaker.
When Karl packed his bag for the journey from Sudbury to Thunder Bay, Ont., to fulfill his dream at Lakehead University, he had no idea that the experience would change his life forever.
Karl’s dream was to play basketball in the National Basketball Association, and Lakehead University was the training ground for him to learn, grow and develop as a student-athlete.
Karl discovered his passion for working with young people while teaching at the Lakehead Abitibi-Price Basketball clinics. This experience awakened the sleeping giant in him - his calling to be an educator. Karl learned that he loves working with children, and they love working with him. Basketball was no longer his destination – it was a means to his true calling to be a difference-maker in the lives of young people.
When Karl returned home to Sudbury, he had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Faculty of Education degree. In addition, he had forged a relationship with Lakehead University that continues to grow and blossom over time.
Karl has more than a few accomplishments under his belt – such as 30 plus years as an educator and principal – but perhaps his proudest is being a dad to NHL players P.K., Jordan, and Malcolm Subban, and to his daughters Nastassia and Natasha, who are educators.
Karl is a principal at Everest Academy in Toronto. He wrote a bestseller, How We Did It, with Scott Colby from the Toronto Star on how to encourage children to develop their potential. His second book will be published in the fall.
He will be granted an honorary Doctor of Education.
Cameron Clark enjoyed a 33-year career in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) focusing on public policy, program development and administration relating to land use and natural resource planning and management, regional economic development, parks and protected areas and Indigenous issues.
Throughout his career, Cameron held several senior positions in the OPS including: Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MND&M); Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR); Regional Director, Northwest Region (OMNR); District Manager, Wawa District (OMNR); and Chief Provincial Negotiator, Mississauga #8 Land Claim with the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat.
He has lived and worked throughout Ontario – including in Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and Wawa. He is presently retired and living in Thunder Bay.
Since retiring, Cameron has done some consulting (English River Consulting Inc.). He has been busy serving as a director on several boards including Lakehead University, the Trans Canada Trail (National), the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (Ontario Region), and the Quetico Foundation.
Cameron and his wife Janet have two daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. They are avid canoeists, cross country skiers, and natural history buffs who spend as much time as they can travelling and at their “camp” near English River.
Robert and Qennefer Browne
Bob and Qennefer Browne met in 1956 when they were both studying architecture at the University of Manitoba, and in 1962, they moved to Bob’s hometown of Thunder Bay. Bob joined the architectural practice of Mickelson and Fraser Associates, where he later became a partner. At that time, his office was deeply involved in the design and construction of the first three buildings of the new Lakehead University campus – the Braun Building, the library, and the University Centre - as well as nearby Avila Centre. Throughout their years in Thunder Bay, Bob and Qennefer were involved in all aspects of Thunder Bay civic and intellectual life.
In the late 1980s, Qennefer began to spend more time in Orillia. Upon his retirement in 2001, Bob joined her there. Again, both leapt into civic activism. Thus, it was natural that they were both asked to serve on the Mayor’s Task Force to bring a university campus to Orillia, especially once Lakehead became the focus of the task force’s attention.
Bob was so inspired by the academic programme proposed for the new campus, that he enrolled as a student himself in the charter class of Fall 2006. Inspired by Bob’s enthusiasm for new learning and student life, Qennefer enrolled in classes the next fall.
Even though they were old enough to be the grandparents of many of their classmates, they also helped found and participated in many student clubs. Bob continued his community advisor role when he was asked to serve on the committee that interviewed candidates for the first Principal of the Orillia campus. With their profs, they also formed strong friendships that continue to this day.
Bob ended his time as a student at Lakehead Orillia after four years, and Qennefer by 2013, but they continued to be interested in activities on campus and to be involved in social justice both on campus and in the community. Even now, Bob looks back on his university days as the happiest times of his life.
In-person, Faculty-specific Graduation Celebrations
In addition to Lakehead’s virtual Convocation Ceremony taking place on Thursday, June 2, four in-person, faculty-specific graduation celebrations will occur in Thunder Bay and Orillia. Capacity limitations will apply and attendance is by invitation only.
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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.