Royal Roads University announces special honours

Retired general, Victoria Conservatory CEO among honourees

Royal Roads University graduates will share the spotlight with retired general Walt Natynczyk, humanitarian Stephen Lewis and CEO of the Victoria Conservatory of Music Jane Butler McGregor during the spring convocation ceremonies on June 18.

Natynczyk will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his outstanding and ongoing leadership and service to Canada.

His 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 Canada as deputy minister of veterans affairs.

“Walt Natynczyk guided our men and women during an extraordinary period in our history,” says Royal Roads president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “His leadership has inspired countless Canadians to serve our country. 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,” Cahoon says. “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. 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.

See the schedule of graduation events at royalroads.ca/event/spring-convocation.

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com