Royal Roads University bestows an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree upon Lynda Haverstock in recognition of her exemplary leadership in arts, education, community, politics, and social development. Dr. Haverstock’s life story is an inspiration to us all. She is a model Canadian citizen and a living example of the profound possibilities when a person combines her vision for a better world, her passion for learning and her desire to lead change.
Early in her life Lynda Haverstock confronted some obstacles that no doubt helped shape the remarkable person we are honouring today. Married at age 15, she found herself a single parent when she was 18. A form of arthritis put Lynda in a wheelchair for a year, but she finished high school as an adult learner. In 1985 she attained the highest academic achievement – a doctorate degree – when she graduated from the clinical psychology program at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Haverstock applied her learning to the creation of innovative education programs for disabled students and chronically truant adolescents. She later shifted her attention to farm families in crisis, where she concluded she was only going to have a small impact unless she could engage the politicians who could make a difference. Unsatisfied with their response, she decided to become a political leader herself.
With no experience, no campaign team, meager finances, and late into the race, Lynda Haverstock set out to win the leadership of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party in 1989. She succeeded with an astonishing 89 per cent of the vote on the first ballot. In the 1995 provincial election, the Haverstock Liberals became the Official Opposition. But within days of becoming Leader of the Opposition, she had to deal with a revolt in her own ranks. Realizing that to overcome the rebels in her party she would have to become like them, she decided she was not prepared to do this and she quit as leader. The happy ending to that chapter of Lynda Haverstock’s life was that she was appointed lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan in February 2000, a title she held for six years until this spring.
Through the Lieutenant-Governor’s Awards of Excellence that she established during her term, Dr. Haverstock has left a legacy of promoting the arts and second language learning in Saskatchewan. However, her legacy extends far beyond these topics. In his remarks honouring the outgoing lieutenant-governor, Premier Lorne Calvert said of Lynda Haverstock: “She has forever shaped and changed the life of the province and the people of Saskatchewan. In addition to head of state, she has become the heart of our state, the heart of our people and the heart of our province.”
Mr. Chancellor, it is an honour to present Lynda Haverstock for the Degree of Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa.