Two to Receive Honorary Degrees at Fall Convocation

October 09, 2013 - News Release

Labour lawyer Christopher Riggs and exercise science pioneer Roy Shephard will receive honorary degrees from the University of Guelph during fall convocation on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Prof. Jacqueline Murray, History, will receive a John Bell Award -- the second to be awarded this year -- for outstanding contributions to university education. Prof. Jonathan Schmidt, School of Environmental Sciences and associate dean (academic) of the Ontario Agricultural College, received the award during summer convocation. The award commemorates the late Prof. John Bell, a classicist and former department chair who served U of G from 1972 to 1987.

More than 800 graduands will attend two convocation ceremonies in War Memorial Hall. Riggs will deliver the convocation address at 11:30 a.m.; Shephard, 2 p.m.; and Murray 4:30 p.m.

Riggs, who will receive a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa), has practised labour and employment law for more than four decades. He was managing partner of Hicks Morley LLP, and has been a leader in the management side of labour negotiations, making contributions in Canadian labour, employment, administrative, human rights and pension laws.

Throughout his career, he has helped the Anglican Church of Canada to modernize policies and procedures and manage its legal affairs. Riggs also served the University of Guelph for most of his career as counsel to many U of G presidents and provosts.

Shephard will receive a Doctor of Science (honoris causa). He established Canada’s first doctoral program in exercise science at the University of Toronto in 1964. His studies of human movement have yielded nearly 2,000 peer-reviewed publications and more than 100 books.

He has counselled federal and provincial governments about connections between physical activity and health, and recommended the development and integration of the Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness. Versions of the test have helped support Canada’s physical activity and fitness guidelines.

Murray served as dean of the College of Arts and was recently appointed as inaugural director of First-Year Seminars at Guelph. She uses creativity, innovation and technology, and has refined undergraduate learning objectives.

Schmidt led a review of the bachelor of science in environment, bachelor of science in agriculture and bachelor of bio-resource management programs to emphasize hands-on learning and skills application for students .

Convocation ceremonies will take place as follows:

9 a.m.
Undergraduates from:
College of Biological Science, College of Physical and Engineering Science, Ontario Agricultural College

11:30 a.m.
Undergraduates from:
College of Social and Applied Human Sciences

2 p.m.
Graduate students from all colleges

4:30 p.m.
Undergraduates from:
College of Arts, College of Management and Economics

7 p.m.
Graduate students from all colleges

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1