Brandon University’s 100th Convocation: Honorary Doctorate Recipients, Valedictorians and Award Winners

This article is over 12 years old.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brandon, MB — During the 100th Convocation at Brandon University, four outstanding Canadians — Ambassador Gary Doer, Dr. Ray Bollman, Dr. Buffy Sainte-Marie and Heather Bishop — will be acknowledged for their efforts and accomplishments, each receiving an honorary doctorate.

Each convocation ceremony will feature a valedictorian — Chris Pugh (B.Sc. Hons.) on Friday morning, Sara Delisle (B.A. Hons.) on Friday afternoon, Suzu Enns (B.Mus. Perf.) on Saturday morning and Timothy Pedden (B.A./B.Ed. A.D.) on Saturday afternoon.

As well, a number of awards will be presented to faculty members, distinguished teachers and members of the broader community.

Honorary Doctorate Recipients:

Ambassador Gary Doer — Doctor of Laws (honoris causa): Manitoba’s former Premier, Gary Doer, assumed his responsibilities as Canada’s 23rd Ambassador to the United States of America in October 2009. Ambassador Doer, who hails from Winnipeg, won three consecutive elections as Premier of Manitoba with successive increased majorities. His government introduced balanced budgets during each of his ten years in office while reducing many taxes. In 2005, he was named by Business Week magazine as one of the top 20 international leaders on climate change.

Dr. Ray Bollman — Doctor of Literature (honoris causa): A former Stanley Knowles Visiting Professor at Brandon University, Dr. Bollman is an agricultural economist and the Chief of the Rural Research Group with Statistics Canada. He has served as President of the Canadian Association of Rural Studies, President of the Canadian Agricultural Economic Society, and as a member of the founding committee of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation. A prolific writer, he has edited a range of documents, including Statistics Canada’s Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletins.

Dr. Buffy Sainte-Marie — Doctor of Music (honoris causa): A prolific and successful singer/songwriter, entertainer, activist and humanitarian, Buffy Sainte-Marie has created 17 albums, collaborated on Sesame Street, scored movies, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music at several colleges, and won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award Oscar. Her concern for protecting indigenous intellectual property and her opposition of the exploitation of Native American artists and performers have kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for four decades.

Heather Bishop — Doctor of Laws (honoris causa): Musician, singer/songwriter, social activist, keynote speaker, visual artist, author and tradeswoman, Ms Bishop has released 14 acclaimed folk and children’s albums. She is a recipient of both the Order of Manitoba (2001) and the Order of Canada (2005). Her most recent CD, released in the spring of 2009, is entitled my face is a map of my time here. Highly admired for her social activism, she has championed feminism and the environment, speaking out against racism, homophobia and discrimination of any kind.


Christopher Pugh: Born and raised in Brandon, Christopher Pugh graduated from Vincent Massey High School, where he distinguished himself in the Grade 12 provincial exams, scoring top marks in physics, chemistry, biology and math. In 2007, he entered Brandon University and is now graduating with an Honours Degree in Science with a major in Physics and a double minor in Mathematics and Computer Science. While at BU, Christopher helped create the Brandon University Physics and Astronomy Club and is proud to be number one on the SUDS Wall of Fame. He is an active member of the Knights of Columbus having recently received his fourth degree. After offers from several institutions including Cambridge University, he has chosen to attend the University of Waterloo in the fall to pursue a Master of Science in Quantum Information.

Sarah Delisle: After completing a BA in History at Concordia University and then realizing history was more of a passion than a potential profession, Sarah moved to Brandon to pursue Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies. After three years of learning about natural hazards, social vulnerability and sustainable mitigation, she is graduating again and already planning on heading back to class. In the fall, Sarah will be starting her Master’s degree in Geography at McGill University where she will be looking at issues around climate change adaptation and food security in Southeast Asia. Sarah hopes to become a professor in the future.

Suzu Enns: During her undergraduate years, Suzu performed in the Winnipeg New Music Festival, Brandon University New Music Festival and Brandon Festival of Arts, as well as with the International Youth Wind Orchestra and Winnipeg Wind Ensemble. A winner of several scholarship, she has been an instructor in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music at BU. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Clarinet) Degree. Suzu has been chosen as a finalist in the TD Canada Trust Elora Festival Competition and has also been accepted into the Orford Woodwind Octet Program for summer 2011. In the fall, she will be pursuing graduate studies in Clarinet Performance at the University of Ottawa.

Timothy Pedden: Tim was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, and after high school, he pursued his studies at Brandon University, graduating with an Honours Degree in Arts in 2006, with a major in History. Although he was accepted into the Faculty of Education at Brandon University in 2007, Tim decided to move with his fiancée, Leia Pfeifer, while she attended the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. In 2009, Tim returned to pursue his studies at the Faculty of Education at Brandon University. Last summer he married Leia and they moved to his hometown. This academic year, Tim was the president of the Education Student Society while maintaining an excellent academic average.

Award Recipients:

Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Community Service — Darlene Paquette: The Technical Resource Assistant in the School of Health Studies at Brandon University, Ms Paquette garnered a 2010 YWCA Women of Distinction Award for her commitment to the community, to non-profit organizations for the past 30 years and for raising thousands of dollars for various local charities. She is a member of several boards, including the Brandon Friendship Centre Board of Directors, CancerCare Manitoba First Nations and Inuit and Métis Community Partnership Committee. Darlene is celebrating her 42nd year as a cancer survivor and feels blessed with each day. Only recently seeing herself as a social advocate, she is dedicated to improving the lives of others.

Brandon University Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching — Dr. Patrick Jackson: Originally from Dauphin, Dr. Jackson obtained a diploma in psychiatric nursing in 1971, then graduated from BU with two undergraduate degrees in 1974.  Six years later, he defended his Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology at McMaster University. He became a Brandon University faculty member in Biology in 2004, and chaired the Zoology Department in 2006. He teaches all undergraduate levels and serves on a number of BU committees, such as the Senate Executive, Senate Research, Curriculum and Academic Planning and Animal Care. He has served on decanal search committees as well as departmental and faculty committees. In addition, Dr. Jackson lends his expertise when counselling students, particularly in the biomedical fields.

President’s Faculty Excellence Award — Dr. Bernadette Ardelli: Graduating with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Parasitology from the University of Guelph in 2000, Dr. Ardelli was a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University before joining the faculty at Brandon University in 2006. Her research has focused on the development of control strategies for infectious diseases that are problems of poor and marginalized populations. In her laboratory, she develops control strategies for infectious diseases and also examines why some strategies fail. She has secured research funds from a number of agencies and this has allowed her to offer research opportunities to both undergraduates and postdoctoral researchers.  In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Ardelli participates on various University committees.

President’s Faculty Excellence Award — Dr. Kenneth Beesley: Dr. Beesley has spent the last nine years of his three decades of teaching at Brandon University, where his courses focus on sustainability and rural development and related issues. As well, he advises undergraduate and master’s thesis students, serves as the Department’s coordinator of the undergraduate program in Rural and Community Studies, has been the Department’s Chair, and has participated on various committees. He has edited or co-edited several books including The Rural-Urban Fringe in Canada: Conflict and Controversy (2010), in addition to scores of other documents.  He received his Ph.D. (Geography) from the University of Waterloo.

Senate Lifetime Achievement Award — Alixe Ryles: With a B.A. from Brandon College in hand, Alixe enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1942. Four years later, she attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work, and began working with the Children’s Aid Society in Winnipeg.  In 1948, she returned to Brandon and married Thomas Ryles.  She eventually returned to the workforce and became the Regional Director of the Department of Social Services for the Western Manitoba Region.  In the 1970s, she helped develop the Child Related Income Support Program in Winnipeg. Mrs. Ryles retired in 1983, but continues to contribute through volunteer work.

Senate Lifetime Achievement Award — Dr. Arthur Blue: After serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Dr. Blue studied at the College of Idaho, where he obtained a B.A. in Psychology, followed by a M.S. in Child Psychology at Utah State University, followed by a Ph.D. in the same field from Iowa State University.  A teaching position at the University of Western Ontario first brought him to Canada and this was followed by a position at the University of Saskatchewan and two decades at Brandon University. Dr. Blue, now a professor emeritus, forged and established the Department of Native Studies at BU, the first of its kind in Canada.

Senate Award for Excellence in Research — Dr. David Greenwood: On faculty at Brandon University since 2004, Dr. Greenwood, who is originally from Australia and holds degrees from the University of Adelaide, is a member of the Department of Biology. His research uses plant fossil records to reconstruct climates of the geological past for periods when a naturally enhanced greenhouse effect caused the world to be significantly warmer than the present day. A prolific writer, editor and speaker, he has supervised or co-supervised five graduate students and three postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Greenwood’s research is supported by grants from several funding agencies.

Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching — Dr. Shannon Gadbois: It is with genuine enjoyment that Dr. Gadbois interacts with her students in the introductory psychology courses as well as courses in the psychology of sport, human learning, and memory.  With a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Queen’s University to her credit, she is currently conducting a collaborative research project on the relationship between extracurricular activities participation and positive youth development. Dr. Gadbois also conducts research on the relationship between university students’ learning approaches in relation to academic performance as well as on gender issues in academia.

Distinguished Teacher Award Recipients:

Annette Gross: Born and raised in Brandon, Ms Gross attended Brandon University for her first year, then completed her degrees, B. Hum. Ecol. (Nutrition) and B. Ed. at the University of Manitoba.  For 28 years, she has been a teacher in the Brandon School Division.  During 15 of those years, she was involved in the coaching of volleyball, basketball and soccer. Her curiosity for knowledge has helped her design strategies and activities that put fun and the ‘awe’ back into learning, while challenging her students to become responsible, independent, and active participants in their own education.

Jim Hartle: Born in Brandon, Mr. Hartle grew up on a farm outside of Rivers, where he completed high school. A Brandon University graduate, he first taught in Lynn Lake, followed by a couple of years in Hartney. In 1984, he returned to Brandon to teach at Vincent Massey High School where he has been ever since. He is currently teaching mathematics with a focus on advanced placement calculus. He loves to perform in front of his captive audience and takes it as a daily challenge to get the students excited about the course material.

Brooke Hopper: Born and raised in The Pas, Mrs. Hopper is a graduate of Brandon University, who began her teaching career in Norway House. An offer to teach a Grade 8 class within the Kelsey School Division in The Pas followed. She has discovered an affinity with this group of students and feels she can really help guide them in the right direction, instil confidence in themselves and their abilities, encourage pride in their education, and make positive choices.  Mrs. Hopper continues to teach grade 8 at Scott Bateman Middle School, as she has for the past five years.

Micheline Lafrenière: Raised in Somerset, Mrs. Lafrenère graduated from the Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface. Her teaching career started at the French Immersion school in Powerview, where she taught for 13 years. She then transferred to École Dugald School for one year, before transferring to École Edward Schreyer School in Beauséjour where she has been for the last four years. Her passion is promoting the French language through various activities.  She enjoys coaching volleyball, baseball and badminton.

Lisa Oliver: After completing science and education studies at Brandon University, Ms Oliver started her teaching career in Dauphin, and is now teaching in Melita. Her teaching career has provided her with many incredible experiences, including travelling with the Deloraine School Club to Europe as well as Turkey and Egypt, and coaching volleyball, track and field, and cross-country running.  As well, she has been a member of a provincial championship volleyball team.

The four convocation ceremonies at Brandon University will take place Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4, at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium.


For more information, contact:

Joanne F. Villeneuve


Brandon University

270 – 18th Street

Brandon, MB  R7A 6A9

Tel. 204-727-9762


To receive any BU publication in an alternate format please contact

About BU

Success is built at Brandon University. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at