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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 08, 2006

First-Ever Thematic Convocation to Focus on Media

The University of Guelph’s winter convocation will be unique in Canada, with all five honorary degree recipients being leading members of the Canadian media. Nearly 750 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees and diplomas during Guelph’s first-ever “thematic convocation” Feb. 20 to 23. Seven ceremonies will be held in War Memorial Hall.

Honorary degrees will be presented to:
• Adrienne Clarkson, Canada’s 26th Governor General and a renowned journalist;
• Gwynne Dyer, one of Canada’s most respected and prolific freelance journalists;
• Scott Griffin, founder of the Griffin Prize for poetry and director of Anansi Press;
• Michael MacMillan, executive chairman of Alliance Atlantis; and
• Pamela Wallin, broadcast journalist and Consul General to New York City.

All morning ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. and afternoon ceremonies begin at 2:30 p.m., and the honorary degree recipients will deliver the convocation addresses. In addition, convocation speeches will be given by Michael Ignatieff, a renowned writer and commentator and newly elected Liberal MP, and Arthur Carty, the National Science Advisor and former president of the National Research Council of Canada.

The honorary degree recipients (except for Clarkson and Wallin) and Carty will also join other leading journalists and writers for an inaugural "President’s Dialogue" on the role of the media in a changing global community. It will be held Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Rozanski Hall and is free and open to the general public.

Convocation begins Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. with the first of three ceremonies for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS). MacMillan will be honoured at this ceremony and will give the convocation address to students graduating from the MA (Leadership), MBA, M.Sc. and B.Comm. programs. At the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts, Griffin will receive an honorary degree and address the graduands. University professor emeritus status will be bestowed on philosophy professor John McMurtry during this ceremony.

Two more ceremonies for CSAHS will be held Feb. 21. Ignatieff will deliver the morning convocation address to graduands of PhD and master’s programs in economics, geography, psychology, political science and sociology/anthropology and to undergraduates in the honours BA and B.Sc. programs. Wallin will be honoured at the afternoon ceremony and will address students graduating from the PhD and master’s programs in family relations and applied nutrition, as well as undergraduates in the B.A.Sc. and general BA programs.

Only a morning ceremony is slated for Feb. 22. Dyer will receive his honorary degree and will address graduands of the College of Physical and Engineering Science.

At the morning ceremony Feb. 23 for the College of Biological Science, Carty will deliver the convocation address and University professor emeritus status will be bestowed on botanist Derek Bewley. In the afternoon, Clarkson will receive her honorary degree and address graduands of the Ontario Agricultural College, the Ontario Veterinary College and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Clarkson was the 26th Governor General of Canada, the first Asian-Canadian and the second woman to serve in the position. She is a nationally recognized journalist, having spent 30 years in Canadian broadcasting, and has written and directed for TV and radio. She has received numerous awards, both in Canada and internationally, including being named to the Order of Canada. As governor general, she raised the profile of Canadian arts and culture abroad. Throughout her career, she has tirelessly promoted Canadian culture and arts, particularly of northern Canada and Arctic communities. She was host and executive producer of Adrienne Clarkson Presents, which featured Canadian creators in film, theatre, dance, music and arts. She remains one of Canada’s leaders in arts journalism and media.

Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer is one of Canada’s most respected and prolific freelance journalists, broadcasters and lecturers. A former teacher, he also served in the Canadian, American and British navies and taught military history and war studies. His syndicated columns on international affairs appear in newspapers in more than 40 countries. He has written and produced numerous TV, film and radio projects, including two award-winning TV series, War and The Defence of Canada, which examined Canada’s military role on the international scene, as well as the radio series The Gorbachev Revolution, which followed the changes occurring in Eastern Europe. He also served as a military commentator in Canada during the Gulf War. Dyer received an International Film Festival Award in 1984 and a Gemini for writing The Space Between in 1986.

Scott Griffin
Scott Griffin is founder of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry and the Griffin Prize, one of the world’s largest annual literary awards for poetry published in English. But his work on behalf of poetry and Canadian literature extends beyond that. He combined his passion for literature with his entrepreneurial skills by rescuing House of Anansi Press, one of Canada’s premier and pioneer small publishers that has a long tradition of promoting Canadian poetry, from financial collapse. Griffin is now its chair, director and major shareholder and has expanded its offerings both nationally and internationally. He is also chairm and director of General Kinetics Engineering Corporation and Advance Precision Limited, prominent players in the Canadian automotive industry.

Michael MacMillan
Michael MacMillan, executive chairman of Alliance Atlantis Communications, is a leader in the field of media and communications in Canada and around the world. He is also an advocate for Canadian media, culture and education. Alliance Atlantis is a leading specialty broadcaster and film development and distribution company. Its Entertainment Group is the only Canadian organization to have won Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globe awards. In addition to being a leader in developing and promoting Canadian film and television, MacMillan is a strong supporter of the Scottish studies program at the University of Guelph and a leader in founding the Chair in Scottish Studies, the first of its kind outside Scotland. He continues to be a role model in his advocacy efforts, especially regarding the function private donors can play in supporting the arts and humanities in academia.

Pamela Wallin
Pamela Wallin is one of Canada’s most accomplished and respected broadcasters and journalists, with a career that has spanned nearly 30 years. She has held senior positions in print, radio and television, including as a reporter for the Toronto Star, a producer and commentator for CBC Radio, and host of CTV’s Canada AM. She was the first woman in Canadian network television history to anchor the nightly network newscasts for CTV and CBC. She has also produced current affairs television programs through her independent company, and published a best-selling memoir and a book based on the perspectives of the many celebrated people she has interviewed. She is also a committed volunteer in many charitable and professional organizations. Wallin was appointed Consul General to New York City in 2002.

Convocation Speakers

Arthur Carty
Arthur Carty is the National Science Advisor and the former president of the National Research Council of Canada, the federal government’s leading knowledge and innovation organization. The former University of Waterloo chemistry professor and dean has published more than 300 journal articles and book chapters in the field of synthetic chemistry and metallic clusters. Carty is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the former president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry. He has received 10 honorary degrees from Canadian and foreign universities and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the National Order of Merit of France. He serves on the board of the Canadian Space Agency.

Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff is a renowned writer and commentator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have earned him numerous national and international awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction for The Russian Album and the George Orwell Prize for Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond. A long-standing contributor to magazines and newspapers, he has written widely on politics, philosophy, history, economics, and current events. Ignatieff is also a distinguished television journalist, documentary producer and lecturer. From 2000 until recently, he was the Carr Professor of Human Rights Policy and Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Most recently, he was elected a Liberal member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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