Current & Past Distinguished Guests

At each Convocation ceremony, Lakehead University recognizes various people for their accomplishments.

Past distinguished guests: Past Honorary Degree RecipientsPast Fellows of the University, and Past Civitas Award Recipients


Honorary Degree Recipients

Kevin Page
Kevin Page is the current Chief Executive Officer of the New Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa. Prior to this position, he was the Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa from 2013 to 2016. Page was Canada's first Parliamentary Budget Officer from 2008 to 2013.

He has 27 years of experience in the federal public service with most of that time spent at three central agencies responsible for budgeting, including the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office. Kevin was the Assistant Secretary to Cabinet for Macroeconomic Policy before becoming Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer.

He has a Master's degree in Economics from Queen's University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Lakehead University. Born in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ont., Kevin is married and a father of three children.

Page will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws on Friday, June 2 at 2 pm.

Bob Dhillon
Bob Dhillon is the President and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp., as well as the founder and largest shareholder. Mainstreet (TSX: MEQ) has achieved a 1,270% total return on investment from Sept 2013 - Sept 2014, making it Canada’s highest performance real estate company. Mainstreet’s assets are valued at over $1.5 billion, consisting of more than 10,000 apartment units in Western Canada, and growing.

He has directly supported Lakehead University’s international outreach to India. He was also instrumental in helping Lakehead University’s Faculty of Business Administration develop connections within India.

Dhillon currently sits on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Board, the biggest Canadian Crown corporation, and he is the Honorary Consul General for Belize in Canada. He owns a private island in Belize that he is developing into a world-class tourist resort. Dhillon is also the author of the book Business and Retirement Guide to Belize and he ownsNational Payments, a Visa and MasterCard-approved Merchant Processing business involved with the financial services industry.

Some of Dhillon’s notable achievements include: Recipient of the Sikh Awards (London, UK) 2016 Business Man of the Year, recipient of the India Association of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, and recipient of the Ernst and Young 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairies Real Estate and Construction category.

Dhillon will receive an Honorary Doctor of Commerce on Saturday, June 3 at 9:30 am.

Rudolf Wahl
Rudolf (Rudy) Wahl was born in Minden (Germany) and immigrated to Canada in 1988. Initially he was hired as Mechanical Shop Leader at the Dickenson Mine, Balmertown, and subsequently by Barrick Gold Corporation (1989-2008) as a Mechanical Leader and Continuous Improvement Coach at the Williams Mine, Hemlo. Wahl became an independent prospector in 1989 working in the relatively-unexplored Terrace Bay-Marathon -White River area of Northwestern Ontario. His work has resulted in the discovery of more than 30 mineral properties with gold, base metal, strategic metals and diamond potential.

His exemplary work ethic has earned him recognition by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines as one of the most productive prospectors in the Province.

Currently, he is a member of the Thunder Bay Prospectors and Developers Association; the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada; and is a Director of Tashota Resources Inc. In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA) for outstanding work as a Prospector in Northwestern Ontario. In 2015, Wahl received the NWOPA Bernie Schneider’s Discovery of the Year Award for 2014 for his discovery of a potential high-grade niobium deposit within the Prairie Lake area. Wahl has cooperated with Lakehead University faculty and students in research on his mineral properties.

Wahl will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science on Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm.

Fellow of the University

Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh
Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh, a Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, came to Thunder Bay in 1981 to work as a faculty member in the School of Engineering at Lakehead University. Dr. Nirdosh obtained external research funding throughout his career. Notably, he received Lakehead University’s first ever prestigious NSERC Strategic Grant Award in 1985, followed by three more such awards. He has seven patents and has published numerous research articles in various reputable scientific journals.

He has also earned many Merit Awards, was the co-recipient of the inaugural Lakehead University Distinguished Researcher Award (1989), and has been recognized with the Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award (1995) and several other prestigious provincial and national teaching awards. Dr. Nirdosh served as Faculty Advisor for the Lakehead University Student Chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering from 1989 until his retirement in 2012, leading the Chapter to numerous top national honours.

He has tirelessly solicited funds to establish several undergraduate and graduate bursaries for Lakehead students. Dr. Nirdosh was honoured with the inaugural Faculty Advisors Award by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering in 1999 and was elected to the Fellowship of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 2000.

Outside of his university work, Dr. Nirdosh has promoted the art and cultural forms of India in the wider community through such activities as the Raag-Rung Music Circle, which has brought top-ranked artists to Thunder Bay. These concerts raise funds for causes such as the Northern Cancer Research Foundation and post-secondary student scholarships at Lakehead University and Confederation College.

In addition to his academic and community work, Inder is an accomplished poet and lyricist in the Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi languages of India. 

Dr. Nirdosh will be named Fellow of the University on Friday, June 2 at 2 pm.

Dr. James Franklin
Originally from North Bay, Dr. James Franklin is focused on unravelling the reasons for the exceptional mineral endowment of the Canadian Shield. He received his PhD from the University of Western Ontario and then joined Lakehead where he was the University’s first economic geology professor from 1969-75. Dr. Franklin then joined the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), continuing base metal and gold research throughout the Shield. In 1981 he took a 10-year excursion to lead the GSC’s Marine Minerals Program, discovering “black smoker” systems on the modern seafloor. From this sea- and land-based work, he developed robust guidelines that helped steer modern exploration. In 1992 he became Chief Scientist for the Geological Survey of Canada.

He has volunteered to teach short courses for Lakehead’s Society of Economic Geologists student chapter, donating his usual fee to the Bernie Schnieders Memorial Award. Dr. Franklin has maintained strong links with the Geology department, acting as a mentor to both faculty and graduate students. He helped establish the Dr. Melville Bartley CESME Memorial Scholarship in honour of the founding Principal of Lakehead Technical Institute by contributing $25,000 to Lakehead University.

Since “retiring” from the GSC (1998), James advises approximately 70 exploration companies world-wide. Dr. Franklin is a board member of four companies, and helped develop base metal and chrome resources in the Ring of Fire, Sturgeon Lake, Wyoming and Mexico. Dr. Franklin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Adjunct Professor at several Ontario Universities, and Past President of the Geological Association of Canada and the Society of Economic Geologists. He has published over 200 papers and book chapters, and innumerable abstracts.  James has a passion to discover more new mines in Northwestern Ontario.

Dr. Franklin will be named Fellow of the University on Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm.



Honorary Degree Recipient

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell C.M., Ed.D. 
Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, C.M., Ed.D. is a theatre artist, broadcaster, scholar, and television producer/director/writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Adelphi University (1966), a Masters of Arts in the History of Religions from Columbia (1968), and the Doctor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (1985).

Dr. Deverell has received numerous awards, including two Geminis, the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network Leadership Award, and she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005 for her pioneering work in broadcasting, notably being one of the founders of Vision TV and mentoring her Aboriginal successor at APTN National News.

She was the first CanWest Global Fellow at Western University. From 2009-2012 Dr. Deverell also held the title of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, and she has taught in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead Orillia.

In the last 15 years Dr. Deverell has produced eight nationally broadcast independent TV dramas; written and performed three one-woman plays, authored or edited seven books; been an actor in 10 professional theatre productions, and executive produced a multi-media kit “Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance,” acquired by the National Film Board’s CAMPUS e-learning portal.

Her current projects include a theatre script, a screenplay, and a book on “American Refugees” to Canada. Dr. Deverell is an active volunteer with the Canadian Senior Artists Research Network, MediaSmarts, and a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Orillia Civitas Award

Rob Jamieson
Rob Jamieson graduated from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay with an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation/ Bachelor Arts (Geography). With the creation of Lakehead University’s Orillia campus in 2006, Rob re-engaged with the University, joining the Board of Directors of Lakehead’s Alumni Association (AALU), serving as Vice-President.

In 2012 Rob became the first person from outside Northwestern Ontario to serve as President of the AALU, a position he held until 2015. During that time Rob was also a member of the Lakehead University Orillia Campus Advisory Committee under the direction and leadership of Principal Kim Fedderson.

After graduating from Lakehead, Rob joined the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in 1995. He has served in Dutton, Nottawasaga and Dufferin as a Platoon Sergeant and Central Region Professional Standards Bureau as a Detective Sergeant. He was Acting Staff Sergeant and Aboriginal Critical Incident Coordinator and Provincial Coordinator of the Crisis Negotiation Program.  Rob has provided policing services to community members in Pikangikum First Nations Territory on several occasions.

In 2015 Rob was elected President and CEO of the OPP Association, representing over 9,000 uniform and civilian members who provide community-based policing and specialized policing services across Ontario. Rob is also a Board Member of the Canadian Police Association. He is actively involved in all OPP Association Board committees, focusing on government relations, negotiations, northern issues and the Future of Policing Advisory Committee.

Rob has served as Coordinator of Cops Kids and Community with Big Brothers Big Sisters while at Nottawasaga OPP. He continues to advocate for persons living with Epilepsy.  He credits his success to the support he received from family and friends, especially his wife Lea and daughters Josselyn and Eva.