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Spring convocation: honouring distinguished military leader and public servant, renowned humanitarian and community builder.

June 8, 2015

Royal Roads University graduates will share the spotlight with General (Ret’d) Walt Natynczyk, humanitarian Stephen Lewis and CEO of the Victoria Conservatory of Music Jane Butler McGregor during the spring convocation ceremonies on June 18, 2015.

Natynczyk will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his outstanding and ongoing leadership and service to Canada. Natynczyk’s distinguished career with the Canadian Armed Forces includes serving as Chief of Defence Staff from 2008 to 2012. Key events over his tenure include the combat mission in Afghanistan, humanitarian support to Haiti and the NATO mission in Libya. He continues to serve our country as Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada.

“Walt Natynczyk guided our men and women during an extraordinary period in our history. His leadership has inspired countless Canadians to serve our country,” says Royal Roads President and Vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “It is fitting the university is honouring Walt this year as we are celebrating 75 years of changing lives through learning and leadership at Royal Roads – 55 years as a military institution and 20 years as a public university. He was a cadet at Royal Roads Military College and we are proud the institution played a role in his outstanding career.”

Stephen Lewis, one of Canada’s most influential international human rights advocates, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his tireless efforts to bring worldwide attention to HIV/AIDS and inspire leaders to take action.

“To say Stephen Lewis has changed lives is an understatement. When world leaders were looking away from the AIDS pandemic in Africa, Stephen Lewis met the gaze of sufferers and made a promise to them - to dedicate his life’s work to turning the tide of HIV/ AIDS,” Cahoon says. “Mr. Lewis bravely bore witness to the suffering of millions and spoke out against the world leaders’ slow response to the health crisis.”

The Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award will be presented to Jane Butler McGregor for her outstanding contribution to community building and the non-profit sector. McGregor joined the Victoria Conservatory of Music in 2008 when the organization was in financial distress and on the brink of closing its doors. In her tenure she has succeeded in rallying the community around the conservatory, which has grown and expanded its programs in recent years. 

“Music has a way of bringing community together and so too does Jane Butler McGregor,” Cahoon says. “With her business acumen, she has turned around and brought new life to the Victoria Conservatory of Music, ensuring our community members continue to have opportunities to experience musical education.”

This spring’s convocation ceremonies will also recognize the achievements of 760 students who have earned degrees, certificates or diplomas in the Faculty of Management or in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.

Royal Roads University Spring 2015 Convocation Ceremonies
Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St., Victoria B.C.
June 18, 2015

9:30 a.m.           

Conferral of honorary degree on General (Ret’d) Walt Natynczyk
Presentation of Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award to Jane Butler McGregor
Ceremony for the Faculty of Management graduates    

1:30 p.m.

Conferral of honorary degree on Stephen Lewis
Ceremony for the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences graduates

Both morning and afternoon ceremonies will be available to view live on Royal Roads University’s broadcast channel at www.livestream.com/royalroads.

The public is invited to nominate outstanding individuals for honorary degrees. Learn more at www.royalroads.ca/news-events/convocation.

As part of the university’s 75th celebrations, a website dedicated to sharing and celebrating those stories of the life-changing impact of the institution, its alumni, staff and faculty will be launched in late June.