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Royal Roads bestows honorary degree and earned doctorate degree to the same person in the same ceremony

November 3, 2014
Peter Robinson

Victoria – For the first time in Royal Roads University history, the institution has presented both an earned doctorate degree and honorary degree to the same person, at the same ceremony.

Long-time friend and alumnus of the institution, and Chief Executive Officer of the David Suzuki Foundation, Peter Robinson was the recipient of both his earned Doctor of Social Sciences degree and an honorary degree at the beginning and end of the university’s morning convocation ceremony today.

“Where else in the world would a worthy and respected honorary doctorate candidate, also complete the requirements on his own for a doctorate?” asks Royal Roads President and Vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “It’s as far as I know the first time ever in North America that this has happened.”

“Peter Robinson is an influential leader and thinker whose work with progressive organizations, along with his extensive volunteerism and humanitarian work has helped strengthen Canadian society,” says Cahoon. “Combine that with the long relationship we’ve had with him, and that he’s applying his research to make positive change, and we felt it was time to honour his accomplishments in this unique way.”

Cahoon says the university’s doctoral program, which requires a minimum 10 years progressive work experience for admission, is unique in its applied nature and its blended format delivery. “Like our undergraduate and master’s degrees, the Doctor of Social Sciences program also uses the learning and teaching model which allows executives to both work and study at the same time,” says Cahoon. “Because our doctoral program is an applied professional degree, the first of its kind in Canada, it also allows students to use their work place as their learning laboratory.”

Robinson received his master’s degree at the university over a decade ago and continued on to become a member of the Royal Roads board of governors for six years: three as chancellor and board chair. “He has shown a lifelong commitment to learning and a strong appreciation for applied research approach at Royal Roads,” says Cahoon. “We share similar values and vision for the future of this institution.”

Robinson has worked as a park ranger in British Columbia, was CEO of BC Housing and held the position of CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op for seven years before assuming his current role with the David Suzuki Foundation in 2008. In addition to his six years service on Royal Roads’ board of governors, Robinson has also volunteered with the Red Cross for two decades. He currently serves as a director of Imagine Canada.

Robinson joins two business and community leaders also receiving their honorary degrees today: Business Council of British Columbia Executive Vice-president and Chief Policy Officer Jock Finlayson; and Victoria Symphony Music Director Tania Miller.

Royal Roads University, a public university established in 1995, offers a progressive model of post-secondary education, delivering applied and professional programs through the faculties of management and social and applied sciences. The university offers its students a unique blended learning experience, combining online and on-campus instruction, as well as full time intensive on-campus instruction in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, certificates and diplomas. It also offers progressive executive, custom and continuing studies programs.