News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB to grant three honorary degrees during upcoming graduation ceremonies

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Oct 9, 2018

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB , UNB Saint John

The University of New Brunswick will award honorary degrees to three outstanding individuals at its fall graduation ceremonies in Fredericton and Saint John on Oct. 18 and 19. The recipients are:

Nancy Strickland

Nancy Strickland will receive a doctor of laws degree in Fredericton on Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Nancy Strickland was born and raised in Parry Sound, Ont., and now lives in Bhutan in the Eastern Himalaya – but she is deeply rooted in New Brunswick.

Ms. Strickland received her bachelor of science in geography from Trent University in 1981. She was then recruited by the World University Service of Canada and began what would become an extensive career of work in international education – first in Zimbabwe and then in Eastern Bhutan.

The experiences of teaching in Bhutan dramatically changed the course of her life. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from UNB in 1990 and, after a brief stint teaching in the high arctic, was asked by UNB to help develop and manage a series of large projects in Bhutan funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

Ms. Strickland has encouraged and helped to facilitate relationships between Canada and Bhutan for more than 25 years. She has been essential to building this very special relationship with UNB.

She is currently the Board Chair of the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy – a small civil society organization that aims to help citizens become media literate and encourages the media to fully inform the citizens of Bhutan as they participate in their own democracy.

See her full biography.

Gaëtan Thomas

Gaëtan Thomas will receive a doctor of science degree in Fredericton on Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Mr. Thomas has a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick. He is currently the President and CEO of NB Power, having taken on that role in 2010.

A committed industry leader and agent of change, his vision for NB Power includes a made-in-New Brunswick smart grid supported by customer-centric technology and a workforce aimed at creating a greener, more sustainable province.

Mr. Thomas is dedicated to his community and generous with his time and knowledge. He is a mentor for the Wallace McCain Institute and a member of the cabinet of UNB’s major fundraising campaign, It Begins Here. During his time as CEO and President, NB Power has been involved with and supported numerous research initiatives at UNB, including industry-leading wind forecasting research, environmental assessment around the Mactaquac Generating Station, smart grid energy research, and others.

He is a board member for the Canadian Electricity Association, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, the New Brunswick Business Council and the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug ‘n Drive Canada. In 2015, 2016 and 2018, Mr. Thomas was honoured by Atlantic Business Magazine as one of the region’s Top 50 CEOs. He was also named one of the Most Influential Acadians by L’Acadie Nouvelle.

See his full biography.

John Wallace

The Honourable John D. Wallace will receive a doctor of laws degree in Saint John on Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

John Wallace holds a bachelor of business administration (1971) and bachelor of laws (1973) from the University of New Brunswick. Committed to the university, Wallace was a member of its Board of Governors from 2006-2009, and staunchly defended the integrity of UNB Saint John following the 2007 Post-Secondary Education Report.

In addition to his commitment to community development and advocacy of UNB, Mr. Wallace has also represented his home province on a national level. Appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2009, he served for eight years and worked to make the Senate a properly functioning independent, non-partisan Chamber “of sober second thought,” as was originally intended. His Senate work was marked by his commitment to inclusive economic and social policy, higher education and as an advocate in Ottawa representing the best interests of New Brunswick.

Throughout an engaged and successful career in both private and corporate law, Mr. Wallace has always been an active leader in initiatives for the betterment of his community. He has been involved in the work of more than 20 volunteer organizations relating to arts, recreation, poverty reduction, youth and business development.

In addition to receiving other awards, Mr. Wallace is the recipient of both a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2003); a UNB Associated Alumni Award of Distinction (2009); and the New Brunswick Day Merit Award, from both the Town of Rothesay (2003) and the City of Saint John (2002).

See his full biography.

Additional information related to UNB’s fall graduation ceremonies can be found at

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Photos available upon request.