Carleton grants seven honorary degrees at 2022 summer convocation

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Carleton grants seven honorary degrees at 2022 summer convocation


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Headshots of 7 individuals
From top left to bottom right: Helen Branswell, Jean Chrétien, Bill Namagoose, Roger Greenberg, Claudette McGowan, Janice McDonald and John ApSimon received Doctor of Laws, honoris causa honorary degrees from Carleton between June 20 to 24. [Photos provided]

Seven people received honorary degrees at Carleton’s summer convocation this year. 

Roger Greenberg, John ApSimon, Helen Branswell, Jean Chrétien, ​​Claudette McGowan, Bill Namagoose and Janice McDonald received Doctor of Laws, honoris causa honorary degrees between June 20 to 24.

Each recipient is a scholar of notable significance or has transformed a field, has made a significant contribution to the university, has made a significant contribution to the community and brings honour to Canada on the world stage, according to the university.

Roger Greenberg

Greenberg received his honorary degree first on June 20 for his contributions to the philanthropic sector and for leading fundraising campaigns for numerous groups such as Ottawa’s Jewish community.

Greenberg is the executive chairman of the board of the Minto Group and its real estate investment trust—the namesake for Carleton’s Minto Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering— and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. 

Greenberg has won many awards throughout his career, including being appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015. He told graduates from the Sprott School of Business they must be flexible in order to be successful.

“While planning is important, you also need to be ready to adapt to unanticipated changes, unexpected opportunities, as well as rapid advances in the world around you,” he said.

John ApSimon

ApSimon also received his honorary degree on June 20 for his contributions to the field of organic chemistry and to the development of Carleton.

ApSimon worked at Carleton for over fifty years in roles such as chemistry professor and vice-president (academic). He retired in 2014 but returned to Carleton after as a dean and advisor until retiring again this year. 

Helen Branswell

Branswell received her honorary degree on June 21 for her accomplishments in her career as a global health journalist. Branswell was a finalist for the Pulitzer award in 2020 for her coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, she won the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. 

Jean Chrétien

Chrétien, Canada’s prime minister from 1993 to 2003, also received his honorary degree on June 21 for his “distinguished leadership in Canadian government.” 

He did not attend the convocation ceremony in person but addressed graduates from the Faculty of Public Affairs in a recorded message, where he expressed his gratitude for public service as a profession.

“[Throughout] my career in politics and public life, I have clung to the hope and the belief that working for others in our society is a very honourable profession,” he said.

Claudette McGowan

On June 23, McGowan received her honorary degree for her role as a global information technology leader.

She has worked for several organizations including Deloitte, Metropolitan Police Services, North York General Hospital and BMO. She now works at TD Bank as  global executive officer for cybersecurity, is a children’s books author and founder of Black Arts & Innovation Expo. 

McGowan was recognized as one of the top 50 successful Torontonians by Toronto Life in 2019

Bill Namagoose

Namagoose received his honorary degree on June 24 for his contributions to the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee. He has defended Eeyou Istchee since 1988 as the executive director of the Cree Nation government.

In the 1970s, Namagoose co-ordinated opposition to the expansion of the James Bay Project, a Quebecois hydroelectric project that disrupted the environment and Indigenous communities in the region. He has fought for the Cree right to self-determination under international law and for the requirement of Cree consent in any discussions of developments on Cree land.

Namagoose told the Charlatan he was honoured to be recognized by Carleton after 45 years of serving his community. He called on Carleton graduates to fight against racism in the pursuit of reconciliation.

“It’s only through hard work that we’ll get through proper reconciliation,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re just talking about it.”

Janice McDonald 

McDonald received the final honorary degree offered by Carleton on June 24 for her role as a global advocate for women’s economic empowerment, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

McDonald graduated from Carleton in 1992 with a degree in Canadian Studies and said she remains a Carleton Ravens fan to this day. 

She went on to serve as board chair of the Women in Communications and Technology, a non-profit that “inspires and supports women to achieve their highest career potential in Canada’s digital economy.

McDonald is credited with driving the financial turnaround and re-branding of the organization from 2013 to 2015.

“[To be able to] ensure that the organization could continue not just to survive, but to thrive, and be able to [create the change] that we want to see in the industry has been incredibly rewarding,” she said.

Women’s Executive Network recognized her as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women for four consecutive years.

McDonald expressed hope in young people’s potential to change the world in an interview with the Charlatan.

“I truly believe that the creative solutions to the world’s pressing problems will come from the next generation,” she said.


Featured images provided.




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