During Convocation on May 11 and 12, Acadia University will grant honorary degrees to five individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their communities and beyond.
This year’s recipients include Robert Bateman, Rev. John F. Keith, Ph.D., Fred S. Fountain, C.M., Geraldine Marjorie Browning and Donald J. Savoie.
"Acadia marked its 175th anniversary in the fall and it gave us the opportunity to reflect on the qualities of the individuals who have studied here and taken their place in the world,” said Ray Ivany, Acadia’s president and vice-Chancellor. “Our distinguished honorary degree recipients embody the characteristics that our students demonstrate today and set shining examples for them to follow as they take the next steps in their own life journey.”
Acadia’s Baccalaureate Service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on May 11 in Convocation Hall. Guest speaker is Rev. Dr. Peter L. Reid (‘95), Executive Minister of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches.
Acadia Chancellor Libby Burnham (’60) will preside over her fourth Convocation during three ceremonies scheduled for May 11 and 12.
Each of the Convocation ceremonies will be live-streamed on Acadia’s Alumni Affairs Web site.
Following each Convocation ceremony, participants and their guests are invited to join the Acadia community in the Sheldon L. Fountain Learning Commons for a reception.
Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Arts – May 11, 3 p.m.
Robert Bateman, Doctor of Letters - A painter, naturalist, and conservationist, Robert Bateman is one of the world's most celebrated contemporary wildlife artists. He was drawn to the wilderness as a child and further explored his love of nature and his study of natural ecosystems while working at a wildlife research camp. With a degree in geography from the University of Toronto, he taught high school for 20 years, painting wildlife and nature in his free time. While Bateman began his career as an abstract artist, in the mid-1960s he turned toward realism to capture wildlife in its various habitats. His work fuses a realistic style with dynamic compositions, and captures the particularities of the natural world and his conservationist spirit. Bateman has become a spokesperson for many environmental issues and uses his artwork and limited edition prints in conservation fundraising efforts. He features animals that face ominous challenges as humankind continues to abuse the natural world.
Rev. John F. Keith, PhD, Doctor of Divinity - An author, missionary, anthropologist, and sculptor, John Keith is above all an internationalist, having served for 40 years on five continents with Canadian Baptist ministries as an educator and ambassador. Under his leadership, Canadian Baptist Missionaries adopted a new approach, collaborating as partners on whatever undertakings were identified as priorities by the local church, bringing recognition to their Board as one of the most forward-looking mission organizations in the world, and encouraging many other groups to emulate their model. In retirement, Keith served as the Baptist ambassador to Ottawa as an advocate for human rights. He has written a book on his experiences in war zones, and another, the biography of a former student who became his personal hero – Dr. Joao Matwawana, a graduate of Acadia Divinity College. His faith also finds expression in sculpture through representations of biblical themes, human experience, and nature.
Faculty of Pure and Applied Science – May 12, 10 a.m.
Fred S. Fountain, CM, Doctor of Humanities - Fred Fountain is a Canadian lawyer, businessman and philanthropist. He has served as Chancellor of Dalhousie University since 2008. He was a founding partner of Halifax law firm Franklin Fountain Mitton and Thompson (later Burke Thompson) and a judge of the Regional Assessment Appeal Court from 1980 to 1989. In 2009 he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Canadian Red Cross in Nova Scotia. In 2010, he was awarded the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada National Award of Merit, and was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his extensive philanthropic work and support of the arts. Fountain is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Great Eastern Corporation Ltd., an asset management firm founded in 1941 by his grandfather, Fred Manning.
Faculty of Professional Studies – May 12, 2:30 p.m.
Geraldine Marjorie Browning, Doctor of Humanities - Known as a “people and community builder,” longtime Valley resident Geraldine Browning, a.k.a.“Mrs. B”, is a highly energetic and positive person known for her kindness and her determination. Currently the Chair of the Valley African Nova Scotia Development Association, which she helped establish, Browning has spent the better part of her life encouraging others, whether serving in the role of teacher, nurse, or community advocate. She has also been a lifelong promoter of improved literacy and education for all, and has worked tirelessly to improve the social and economic well-being of those in her community and throughout Nova Scotia. She is a recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Donald J. Savoie, Doctor of Civil Laws - Donald Savoie holds a Canada Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance and is a professor of public administration at the University of Moncton. He has also held senior positions with the Government of Canada, including Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Board and Deputy Principal of the Canadian Centre for Management Development. He has served as an advisor to several federal, provincial, and territorial government departments and agencies, private-sector entities, independent associations, the OECD, the World Bank, and the United Nations. At the request of the Prime Minister of Canada, Savoie undertook a review of the federal government's regional development programs in Atlantic Canada and prepared a report that led to the establishment of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. He has published numerous books and was awarded the Vanier Gold Medal by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient.