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Nipissing announces 2015 honorary degrees

Convocation season is around the corner and Nipissing University is pleased to announce it will bestow its highest distinction, an honorary degree, to six outstanding individuals, June 10 – 12 during graduation ceremonies in North Bay.

Nipissing University will honour Edmund Metatawabin, Graeme Murray, Tom Hedican, Commissioner J.V.N (Vince) Hawkes, Susan Nelles Pine and Dr. Colin Simpson with honorary degrees.

“Convocation is one of the highlights of the year for this university and we are honoured that these outstanding Canadians help us celebrate our graduates, said Dr. Mike DeGagné, President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University. “It is gratifying that each one of these extraordinary individuals understand Nipissing’s distinct value and support our mission.  We are very pleased that they are accepting the university’s highest honour and solidifying their connection to our institution.”

Edmund Metatawabin is a Cree writer, educator, activist and the former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation. Metatawbin is the author of Up Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, Harvesting: Cree Hunting and Gathering Techniques, and Hanaway. A residential school survivor, he is committed to education and the rediscovery of Cree heritage.  Every year, he takes young people on a 300-mile rafting expedition to experience the pristine environment, visit abandoned communities and old cemeteries and to listen to their history and discover legendary characters and wildlife. Metatawabin will receive an honorary doctorate of Education on June 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Graeme Murray is a 2006 Paralympic gold medalist and two-time IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship gold medalist from Gravenhusrt, Ontario.  Prior to his retirement from the national team, Murray represented Canada at four Paralympics and five IPC World Championships. In the Turin Paralympics in 2006, Murray helped team Canada win a gold medal. He scored the winning goal for Canada in the gold medal final at the 2013 IPC World Championships. He was the youngest player on the Canadian team at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City. In his international career, he ranks tied for third in all-time games played, sixth in scoring and second in scoring among defencemen.  Off the ice, Murray is a motivational speaker and talks regularly to students throughout Canada about his experiences on and off the ice. Murray will receive an honorary doctorate of Education on June 10 at 2 p.m.

Tom Hedican is well-known professional goaltending consultant who founded the internationally recognized Coach4Food program; Hedican provides his professional coaching skills to youth teams in exchange for food drives for local food banks. Since it’s inception in 2005, Coach4Food has grown significantly and is now partnered with Ontario Hockey League's Shutout Hunger Program, and is spread to 18 communities with OHL teams. This year, the program will eclipse the 1 million-pound mark of food donated, more than 500,000 pounds of food has been raised in North Bay. In 2014, Hedican was named Honorary Colonel of 51 Squadron, 22 Wing, North Bay, one of the highest honours a civilian can receive from Canada’s military. Hedican will receive an honorary doctorate of Education on June 11 at 9:30 a.m.

Commissioner J.V.N (Vince) Hawkes is the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), one of North America’s largest deployed police services.  He oversees front-line policing, traffic and marine operations, emergency response and specialized and multi-jurisdictional investigations throughout Ontario.  From 2006 – 2014, Hawkes served as Deputy Commissioner of Investigations and Organized Crime.  He spent 11 years as a Forensic Specialist and was the first OPP member to be certified as a Bloodstain Pattern Analyst.  Hawkes is the past Chair for the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime.  Since 2010, he has been invested as an officer in the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, a fellowship of honour that recognizes exemplary police service. Hawkes will receive an honorary doctorate of Letters on June 11 at 2 p.m.

Susan Nelles Pine is a respected nurse known for her courageousness in defending the profession.  In 1981, Nelles Pine was wrongly arrested and charged in connection to a series of deaths occurring on the cardiology/cardiovascular surgery unit at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.  The case was dismissed for lack of evidence following one of the longest preliminary hearings in Canadian history.  Nelles Pine returned to the Nursing profession, managing a hemodialysis unit in Bellville, and working as a Public Health Nurse for many years.  She continues to speak to nurses on legalities in Nursing. Nelles Pine will receive an honorary doctorate of Letters on June 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Dr. Colin Simpson is a Canadian entrepreneur, software developer, educator and author of six textbooks, including the bestselling Principles of Electronics.  He is an expert in teaching electronics, industrial automation, robotics and simulation technology who has won numerous awards including the Award of Excellence from the Association of Canadian Colleges, the TVOntario Lifelong Learning Challenge Award, and the CODiE Award from the Software Publishers Association.  Simpson holds three patents in electronics laboratory simulation and control systems technology. In 1997, Simpson founded Logic Design Inc. (LDI) and began development of 2D and 3D simulation software programs to assist students in the study of electronics, electro-mechanics, robotics and automation.  Since then, LDI has grown to become the largest provider of technical education simulation products in the world.  Simpson will receive an honorary doctorate of Letters on June 12 at 2 p.m.

All convocation ceremonies will be held at the Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre at Nipissing University.


Nipissing University
100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON, Canada  P1B 8L7   Tel: 705.474.3450 | Fax: 705.474.1947 | TTY: 877.688.5507

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