The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton will grant honorary degrees to four outstanding individuals during its spring graduation ceremonies next week.

The Fredericton campus will celebrate its 184th Encaenia with four ceremonies at the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER on May 29-30.

The honorary degree recipient bios can be found below. For media interview requests, contact Natasha Ashfield.

The UNBF honorary degree recipients

Ms. Hilary Pearson, president and CEO of Philantrophic Foundations Canada, will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree on Wednesday, May 29, at 10 a.m. (Ceremony A).

Ms. Pearson was appointed president of Philanthropic Foundations Canada in 2001, where she has led the organization to become a significant hub for the Canadian philanthropic sector. She spent more than 12 years in the Canadian federal government. In 1993, Ms Pearson became vice-president, strategic development, at Royal Bank of Canada. In 1996, she turned to management consulting with the Montreal firm Secor, and in 2000 launched a practice in the non-profit sector, with a wide range of clients, from national membership organizations and operating charities to local organizations in the health, cultural and social services field.    

Ms. Pearson has been a director and member of several nonprofit boards, including Imagine Canada, the United Nations Association in Canada, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, CARE Canada and Centraide of Greater Montreal.  She holds a BA and an MA in political economy from the University of Toronto.

Mr. David Stevenson, founding partner with Stevenson and Partners LLP, will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree on Wednesday, May 29, at 2:30 p.m. (Ceremony B)
Mr. Stevenson was born and raised in Fredericton, N.B., where he enrolled in UNB’s bachelor of business administration program. After completing his BBA he moved to Saint John, N.B. to work for MacDonald Currie & Co. (later Coopers & Lybrand) as a staff accountant and then account manager and trustee. He earned the designation of chartered accountant in 1970, and received the designation of trustee in bankruptcy in 1973. In 1977, he moved to Moncton, N.B., where he was account manager and trustee with Deloitte Haskins & Sells until 1983. He joined Paul Kennedy and Rick Carver to form the partnership Kennedy, Carver & Stevenson in 1983 (which is now called Stevenson & Partners LLB) to practice public accounting.

Mr. Stevenson is a member of the New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals.  He is past chair of UNB’s board of governors and served as chair of the board’s finance committee and as a member of the board’s investments and executive committees. Among the honours that distinguish Mr. Stevenson’s career, he was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th University of the Confederation of Canada and was elected a fellow of the New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The Honourable Dennis O’Connor, counsel with Borden Ladner and Gervais LLP and retired associate chief justice of Ontario, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree on Thursday, May 30, at 10 a.m. (Ceremony C)

Mr. O’Connor sat on the Court of Appeal for Ontario from 1998 to 2012. He served as the associate chief justice of Ontario from 2001 until he retired at the end of 2012. He also served as a deputy judge of the Yukon Supreme Court. While on the bench he wrote numerous reported judgments dealing with a wide variety of issues including commercial, securities and insurance law. He also conducted two successful public inquiries: the Walkerton Inquiry (2000-02) and the Maher Arar Inquiry (2004-06).

For the 18 years before his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Mr. O’Connor was a senior counsel with the law firm of Borden & Elliot (a predecessor firm of Borden Ladner Gervais). His practice focused on commercial and public law litigation. He appeared as lead counsel on many major cases in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada during that time.

Mr. Joseph Ng, chair of the JNE Group of companies, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree on Thursday, May 30, at 2:30 p.m. (Ceremony D).

Joe Ng graduated from electrical engineering at UNB in 1973. In 1980, Mr. Ng incorporated his own engineering consulting company as Joe Ng Engineering Ltd.  Due to the recession in North America in 1982, he also began to look at markets outside of North America and subsequently developed successfully into China.

Joe Ng Engineering Ltd. provides international trade services, while JNE Consulting Ltd. was established and registered as a separate consulting practice in the province of Ontario in 1994.  Today, JNE Consulting continues to meet local engineering needs, while also providing international consulting services on projects in Mexico, Columbia, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan and China.

Over the past 32 years, Mr. Ng has transformed his business from a one-person operation, into a company that currently employs close to 400 employees.  Office locations include Hamilton (4 locations), Pittsburgh, Shanghai and Beijing.

In recent years, Mr. Ng has started to contribute more of his time and effort to supporting the local community such as McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, the Hamilton Art Gallery, the Hamilton Health Science Foundation, and the local United Way.

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