An exemplary leader and compassionate mentor, Mary Collins has long been a strong advocate of the advancement of women in political life. She has a solid understanding of social and political environments and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Mary Collins is an enthusiastic and energetic role model for men and women alike. Throughout her distinguished career, she has demonstrated a dedication that has had an enormous impact on both the field of politics and, more recently, the field of health care - not only in this country but internationally as well.
As a Member of Parliament for almost a decade for Capilano/Howe Sound, Mary Collins was the first woman to hold the position of Associate Minister of National Defence. In that role, she introduced policy that would see women integrated into all occupations within the Armed Forces. When she was Minister responsible for the Status of Women, she was the first to declare October as Women`s History Month. As Minister of National Health and Welfare, Mary Collins introduced the first tobacco package labelling regulations.
Following her exceptional service as a Cabinet Minister, Mary Collins joined the British Columbia Health Association where she was president until 1997. She then undertook local and international projects – big and small – as a lead consultant or manager. These included projects in Vietnam, the Ukraine and Russia.
Before becoming director of the Secretariat of the BC Healthy Living Alliance in 2008, Mary Collins worked for the World Health Organization where she served first as a policy advisor and later as acting head of the Moscow office, responsible for major programs to combat TB, HIV/AIDS and Avian Flu.
In addition to a career as an influential advisor and respected leader, Mary Collins has made significant contributions to her community by serving on volunteer committees and boards as either a member or chair.
Mary Collins holds a B.A. in Political Science from Queen’s University, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Royal Roads Military College and is a member of the Fellows Council at Royal Roads University.
As a ground-breaking politician, a far-sighted pioneer and an inspirational leader, Mary Collins demonstrates every day the importance of social responsibility. In doing so she exemplifies what it truly means to “live your learning”. Mr. Chancellor, it is indeed an honour to present Mary Collins for the degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.