Royal Roads honours graduates, Google VP, esteemed naval officer and president of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
The setting was local but the theme was global when 843 Royal Roads University students earned graduate degrees and certificates at spring convocation, Friday, June 20, 2008.
“We pride ourselves on being a Canadian university that is at home in the world,” says RRU president Dr. Allan Cahoon. “Today is evidence of our commitment to foster graduates ready to take their place in the global marketplace.”
Rob Anderson is a perfect example.
He became one of 14 to earn the university’s new bachelor of arts degree in International Hotel Management.
"My international internship in Thailand led to a full time job doing exactly what I hoped to be doing but never thought possible at such a young age,” says Anderson who now works at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. “I have a dream job in paradise and there are exciting offers coming my way all the time."
The international flavour of the day continued with the conferring of three honorary degrees and the Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award.
First, graduates and their families heard a recorded message from the other side of the world when José Ramos-Horta, president of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, accepted an honorary degree recognizing his successes in peace-building. His Excellency was unable to attend convocation due to an assassination attempt from which he was still recovering. Nelson Santos, Timor-Leste’s ambassador to the United Nations, accepted the honorary degree on the president’s behalf.
Then, Rear-Admiral (ret’d) John Alexander Charles – whose career as an accomplished officer in the Royal Canadian Navy has spanned not only decades but the world’s oceans and continents as well – was presented with an honorary degree in recognition of a dual role he has played in the history of Royal Roads. Born in 1918, the highly-respected leader was the youngest Commandant of Canadian Services College, Royal Roads for three years from 1954. He retired in 1974 after a distinguished naval career but continued his interest and commitment to Royal Roads, eventually founding the Friends of Hatley Park Society, a group instrumental in ensuring the grounds became a national historic site in 1995.
The third honorary degree to be conferred recognized work not only of an international nature but interplanetary as well. Dr. Vinton Cerf, vice-president and chief Internet evangelist at Google.com, was honoured for, quite literally, changing the world. The co-creator of the Internet, who invented the technology RRU has embraced from its beginning, is currently working on a design for an interplanetary version.
Sandra Richardson, Executive Director and CEO of the Victoria Foundation, received the Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award. This accolade celebrates individuals or organizations that have made Greater Victoria a better place to live. Richardson has achieved success as a fundraiser, a manager and a volunteer and, while much of her work is centred around local neighbourhoods, she is also an active participant with the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network, which provides a platform for the exchange of experience and expertise among community foundations on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Our learners, our honorary degree recipients, our award-winners – all are individuals whose accomplishments demonstrate a standard of excellence that inspires and sets an example for the larger community – and the world – of which we are a part,” says Cahoon.