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May 4, 2017
For Immediate Release

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Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University will recognize four accomplished Canadians with honorary degrees at its spring convocation in June. Recipients include: Rebecca Jamieson, CEO and president of Six Nations Polytechnic; Tina Keeper, an award-winning Cree activist, producer, actress and politician; William (Bill) Richardson, an accomplished Canadian writer, composer and broadcast host; and David Young, an award-winning musician and composer.

Three convocation ceremonies will be held at Laurier’s Brantford campus on June 6 and 7, and 11 ceremonies will be held on Laurier’s Waterloo campus from June 12 to 16.

Rebecca Jamieson is a distinguished and recognized leader in Indigenous education in Ontario and Canada, and an influential champion for the preservation of Indigenous languages. As CEO and president of Six Nations Polytechnic, she has had a transformational impact on her institution, her community and on post-secondary education in Ontario. Jamieson has also been actively involved in post-secondary education more broadly, serving as the first executive director of the College Standards and Accreditation Council, and on the Board of Governors for several Ontario universities and Mohawk College. Jamieson is Tuscarora, Eel Clan. She is an outstanding alumna of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, she was honoured with the Order of Ontario for her contributions to Indigenous post-secondary education. She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree Tuesday, June 6 at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts in Brantford starting at 2:30 p.m.

Tina Keeper is a Cree activist, producer, actress and former member of the federal House of Commons. She has a long and impressive career in both acting and politics. In her acting career, she is best known for her role in the CBC Television series North of 60, which earned her three consecutive Gemini Award nominations for Best Actress. In 1993, she starred in the award-winning docudrama For Angela, which depicted Rhonda Gordon’s response to racist taunting on a Winnipeg city bus. Keeper is currently a partner in the film and television company Kistikan Pictures, which develops and produces film and television with Aboriginal artists. Keeper was elected in the 2006 federal election as the Liberal Party candidate in Churchill, Manitoba. She served as the Official Opposition Critic for Public Health and Canadian Heritage. She also served as an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She has participated in the development and implementation of various educational programs dealing with Aboriginal rights, violence against women, and suicide prevention. She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree Wednesday, June 7 at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford starting at 10:30 a.m.

William (Bill) Richardson is an accomplished Canadian novelist, essayist, poet, composer, children's author, and beloved radio and TV host. He is a long-time supporter of the arts, of reading and of music. Over the years, he has generated inventive programming on national radio and TV. With As You Like It, a classical music request show on CBC Radio Two, he supported Canadian performers and composers and actively encouraged a Canadian repertoire. He hosted Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and Sunday Afternoon in Concert. A librarian by training and first career, he moderated CBC's annual Canada Reads competition in its early years. He presented Richardson's Round-up, collecting comic stories from listener letters, calls and feature interviews. He also served as a frequent guest host on Sounds Like Canada and he focused national attention on authors as TV host of Booked on Saturday Night. Richardson is himself the author of over a dozen books, from whimsical tales for children to essays on some of Canada’s great eccentrics. Richardson will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree Monday, June 12 at Lazaridis Hall on Laurier’s Waterloo campus starting at 9:30 a.m.

David Young is an award-winning Canadian musician and composer. As a classical musician, he has been a member of the Edmonton Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic. As a jazz artist, he has been a celebrated collaborator with a number of jazz icons. In addition to performing and recording albums, Young is a dedicated jazz educator and has been a member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. He was recently named as a member to the Order of Canada and is has won the National Jazz Award for “Bassist of the Year” on multiple occasions. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree Thursday, June 15 at Lazaridis Hall on Laurier’s Waterloo Campus starting at 2 p.m.

The Order of Wilfrid Laurier University will be presented to Carl Zehr, the former and longest-serving mayor of the City of Kitchener. Zehr was elected as mayor in 1997 and also served as a city councillor and Region of Waterloo councillor. He served his community as an elected official for 23 years. He has long supported the presence of higher education in Kitchener and Waterloo, has served on many boards and committees, and is an active member and past chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus. He will accept his award Friday, June 16 at the 1 p.m. ceremony at Lazaridis Hall on Laurier’s Waterloo Campus. The Order of Wilfrid Laurier recognizes exemplary and distinguished service to the university by members of the Laurier community.

Tickets are required for all convocation ceremonies. Contact for ticket inquiries. For more information about convocation, visit

Laurier will also be celebrating its focus on teaching and research excellence by presenting the University Research Professor award, the Faculty Award for Service Excellence and Community Engagement, as well as several teaching awards and student teaching awards at its convocation ceremonies.

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Media Contacts:

Sondra Schwartz, Manager, Ceremonies and Events

T: 519.884.0710 x3800

Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications and Public Affairs

T: 519.884.0710 x3070


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