In addition to the nearly 500 degrees to be presented at Mount Allison’s 150th convocation ceremonies, the university will also be awarding four individuals with honorary degrees this Monday. Mt. A President Robert Campbell, who will be presiding over the weekend’s events with Chancellor Peter Mansbridge, stated in a press release that “Mt. A’s Class of 2013 is a historical one for many reasons. This group of exceptional students is one of our largest — with approximately 500 graduates — and this year marks the 150th anniversary of Convocation. I am pleased to welcome them, and our outstanding honorary degree recipients to the alumni community, and congratulate them all on this wonderful accomplishment.”
The aforementioned recipients include Deepa Mehta, Dr. Janet Rossant, Bernard Richard, and James Irving. Deepa Metha is an award-winning director and screenwriter, whose work includes the Elements Trilogy: Fire, Earth, and Water. In particular, Water received tremendous international attention, collecting fourteen honours including a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Academy Awards. More recently, Metha produced a film covering Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnght’s Children, which was released at the Toronto Film Festival last year.
As the chief of research at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Janet Rossant’s work deals primarily with developmental and stem cell biology. Rossant helped expand the research programs at Brock University and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital for almost twenty years, starting in 1985. She is also a Fellow at the Royal Societies of London and Canada, and a Distinguished Investigator of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Rossant has been a dynamic element of the developmental biology field for many years, serving as an editor of the scientific journal Development, President of the Society for Development Biology, and most recently as the Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research working on stem cell research.
Serving as an M.L.A. in New Brunswick from 1991 to 2003, Bernard Richard was more recently appointed as the province’s first Child & Youth Advocate in 2006. He currently chairs the Board of Directors of Plan Canada, and Fondation Nationale de l’Acadie. Plan Canada was formally the Foster Parent Plan, and the Fondation Nationale de l’Acadie an initiative to protect the identity of the Acadian people and their heritage. Richard’s work has largely been in association with the promotion of children’s rights and issues and in 2012 was he named a Trudeau Foundation Mentor.
Finally, James (Jim) Irving, co-CEO of J.D. Irving Ltd. will be receiving an honorary degree from Mount Allison University. J.D. Irving Ltd. is based out of Saint John, operating primarily in the industries of forestry, transportation, shipbuilding, construction, and consumer products. Forbes currently lists James, with his brother and co-CEO Arthur Irving as the fifth wealthiest person in Canada with an estimated 4.5 billion dollars. Irving has served on the Federal Finance Minister’s economic advisory council, and has been active in fund-raising efforts for wild Atlantic salmon research and conservation with the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
A selection committee consisting of the University President, Chancellor, Chair of the Board, VP Academic and Research, four members of the Faculty, two members of the Board of Regents, and one student chooses the recipients of the honorary degrees, to be awarded at spring convocation. Individuals selected to be venerated in this way typically need to be among the very best in their chosen field, and relevant to the Mt. A community.