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Celebrating achievement: Fall 2015 convocation ceremonies

November 16, 2015
Jean Macgregor

This fall’s convocation ceremonies recognized the achievements of more than 690 students who have earned degrees, certificates or diplomas in the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.

Royal Roads University graduates shared the spotlight with Hereditary Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, health care leader retired Major-General Lise Mathieu and former Pacific Opera Victoria President David Flaherty during ceremonies held at the Royal Theatre Nov. 10.

Atleo received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his dedicated advocacy for First Nations and education. A Hereditary Chief from the Ahousaht First Nation on Vancouver Island and former two-term president of the Assembly of First Nations, Atleo was named British Columbia’s first Indigenous chancellor at Vancouver Island University and was appointed Shqwi qwal (Speaker) for Indigenous Dialogue at VIU’s Center for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation in Nanaimo in 2008.

“We know what the first 150 years looked like in this great country. I am proud to stand before you and say I didn’t always consider myself a Canadian,”said Atleo. “I am a proud Canadian from Ahousaht on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. As a country, let’s continue to dare greatly.” Atleo’s convocation speech is available here.

Mathieu, an influential health care leader, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of her exemplary work toward the transformation of the Canadian Forces Health Services. A Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Mathieu’s 31-year career in the Canadian Forces includes command, staff officer and health care management positions in Canada and abroad.

“Organizations will take everything we give them,” said Mathieu. “Let’s reclaim some of that time to make sure there is enough fuel in the tank by retirement. Let’s reclaim some of that time to make sure that those people who look to us for leadership clearly see that self-care is much more than a cliché. It is a way of life to be a role model in our organizations.” Matheiu’s convocation speech is available here.

The Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award was presented to David Flaherty, a committed supporter of the arts, philanthropist and dedicated volunteer. He was the province’s first privacy commissioner and also a two-term president of Pacific Opera Victoria.

“My basic message today is the joys and rewards of any form of philanthropy,” said Flaherty. “I encourage you to make philanthropy an essential part of your life going forward, if you have not done so already.” Flaherty’s convocation speech is available here.

This year’s Governor General’s Gold Medal went to Master of Science in Environmental Management graduate Wasan Jema, who developed an assessment framework for the Mesopotamian Marshlands in Iraq for her top-ranked thesis.

“I feel honoured, grateful and privileged, but this is also a big responsibility. I have to continue to do the good work in Iraq, or in any country, to help and to reflect the knowledge I received from Royal Roads,” said Jema. “Royal Roads changed the way I see the world and gave me the strength as an Arabic woman to fly back to the land that I love with courage and confidence. This is what Royal Roads did for me.” Read more about Jema here.