News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB to grant seven honorary degrees during spring graduation ceremonies

Author: Communications

Posted on May 18, 2010


The University of New Brunswick will grant honorary degrees to seven outstanding individuals during its spring graduation ceremonies.

The Fredericton campus will celebrate its 181st Encaenia with three ceremonies at the Aitken University Centre on May 19 and 20. The Saint John campus will hold its 36th Spring Convocation on May 21 at the G. Forbes Elliot Athletics Centre.

UNB Fredericton

At Encaenia Ceremony A, on Wednesday, May 19, at 2 p.m., UNB will award doctor of letters degrees to Clement Sankat, pro vice-chancellor and campus principal at the University of the West Indies' St. Augustine campus, and to Madeline Augustine, archaeologist and community leader. Ms. Augustine will give the Encaenia Address to students in the faculties of business administration, kinesiology and education.

Encaenia Ceremony B will be held on Thursday, May 20, at 10 a.m. UNB alumni and philanthropists Julia MacLauchlan and Warren McKenzie will receive honorary doctor of letters degrees and deliver the Encaenia Address to students in the faculties of arts, nursing and Renaissance College.

Ceremony C, the final Encaenia ceremony, will take place on Thursday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Dorothy McDade, retired physician and volunteer, and Robert Thirsk, Canadian astronaut, will receive honorary doctor of science degrees. Dr. Thirsk will give the Encaenia Address to students in the faculties of law, science, engineering, forestry and environmental management, and computer science.

UNB Saint John

In Saint John, Robert Zildjian, founder and chairman of Sabian Ltd., will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree on May 21 at 2 p.m. Mr. Zildjian will address graduates in the faculties of arts; business; and science, applied science and engineering.

The Honorees

Madeline Augustine has made lasting and important contributions to her community, to the province and the country, and to UNB. She is an elder in her community of Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation and in the archaeological community of Canada. Ms. Augustine is carrying on the legacy of her late father, Joseph Augustine, who brought archaeologists into his community in the late 1970s and forged both close friendships and enduring partnerships with them. She has been a tireless crusader for the promotion, protection and preservation of New Brunswick’s archaeological heritage. She was instrumental in the creation of the Metepenagiag Heritage Park and is the park’s president. Under her guidance the park continues to support research and community engagement. Her work has been recognized both regionally and further afield. She is the first author of a manuscript To Hold it in My Hand profiling her experiences in archaeology.

Warren MacKenzie is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Redmond Group, an international consulting organization that he co-founded in 1998 with the focus on helping companies and governments create and expand new businesses. Mr. MacKenzie was also the inaugural chair of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. In addition to his strong work ethic, Mr. MacKenzie has lent his energy and efforts to numerous organizations on a voluntary basis, supporting causes he is passionate about. He is a member of Washington State Attorney General’s Task Force on Child Internet Safety, which works with lawmakers, law enforcement and prosecutors to develop policies and laws to protect children form web-related exploitation. A UNB computer science graduate, he has a deep connection with his alma mater and has supported the university, along with his wife Julia MacLauchlan, in numerous capacities, including as an alumni volunteers, a tireless advocate and a generous benefactor.

Philanthropist Julia MacLauchlan has been volunteering with the CASA King County Court since 2005, where she works as a court-appointed special advocate representing children of low-income families going through the courts as victims of neglect or abuse. An alumna of UNB, Ms. MacLauchlan received her bachelor of arts degree with honours in Spanish and English. She began her career as a teacher, moved on to publishing, and then joined Microsoft in 1987 where she quickly rose through the ranks. After nearly 20 years with Microsoft, Ms. MacLauchlan retired from the company and has focused her efforts on volunteerism and supporting various causes. She and her husband Warren MacKenzie, have been tireless supporters of UNB. They have established four undergraduate scholarships supporting students in computer science and arts and have donated more than $5 million in Microsoft software to UNB.

Dorothy McDade has spent her life helping others, both as a doctor and a philanthropist. Despite her busy career and her many volunteer activities, she always made time for UNB. She is an alumna of the university, has been a member of UNB’s Board of Governors, and has been active in organizing alumni functions and reunions. In 2008, Dr. McDade, and her husband John Bliss, were recognized by the UNB Associated Alumni with the highest award, the Award of Honour. For her many years of dedicated service as a physician, surgeon, mentor, educator and humanitarian, she was honoured in 2009 by the New Brunswick Medical Society with a Life Member Award. She is also a life member of the Canadian Medical Society. Dr. McDade is a well-known and respected business and community leader and fundraiser. She and her husband have been generous supporters of a number of organizations including the YM-YWCA, Chalmer’s Hospital Foundation, Theatre New Brunswick and The Playhouse.

Clement Sankat became pro vice-chancellor and campus principal at the University of the West Indies' (UWI) St. Augustine campus in 2008. UWI St. Augustine is responsible for operating Roytec, UNB’s partner in education and business administration programs in Trinidad and Tobago. Prof. Sankat is also an academic, a researcher and chartered engineer. His teaching, research, and professional interests are in the areas of processing and storage of tropical crops and food engineering, engineering graphics and machine design, and management of innovation. He has published more than 100 papers, many related to technological innovation in food and agricultural production and processing in the Caribbean. He has for many years, been actively involved in the application and promotion of science and technology in Trinidad and Tobago and in the region. He is a fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Engineers of the United Kingdom and fellow of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago.

Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk has been involved in several Canadian Space Agency projects. He was a crew commander for two space mission simulations, the seven-day CAPSULS mission in 1994 at the Defence Research and Development Canada in Toronto, Ont.; and the 11-day NEEMO 7undersea mission in 2004 at the National Undersea Research Center in Key Largo, Fla. In 2009, Dr. Thirsk became the first Canadian astronaut to fly a long duration expedition aboard the International Space Station. He and two crew members launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. During his time with the Canadian Space Agency, Dr. Thirsk has represented Canada’s interests in space exploration, including his personal dedication to the success of UNB’s APEX-Cambium experiment. He is a strong advocate of education and encourages young Canadians to build their dreams on a solid educational foundation.

The company that Robert Zildjian established in Meductic, N.B. in 1981, has grown to become the second largest manufacturer of cymbals in the world, with offices in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Mr. Zildjian’s family brought the technology of cymbal making from Western Armenia to the United States, with the establishment of the Avis Zildjian Company. Mr. Zildjian, son of Avedis Zildjian III, brought this knowledge and technology to New Brunswick. Robert Zildjian has made significant contributions to the music world, to the province and to the community of Meductic. His family business supports a variety of community initiatives including scholarship programs for young musicians and working with leading artists to offer educational clinics at high schools and universities around the world. In addition, the company strives to be an environmentally friendly corporate citizen through a comprehensive recycling program for its factory and offices that includes metal recycling, reusing filtered water in the production process, and using heat from the cymbal ovens to heat other buildings.

About UNB

Established in 1785, UNB is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With more than 12,500 full- and part-time students from more than 100 countries, UNB has the best student-to-faculty ratio of Canada’s comprehensive universities, according to Maclean’s magazine. As the largest research institution in New Brunswick, UNB conducts over 75 per cent of the province’s university research. The university has an annual operating budget of more than $165 million and annually employs more than 3,500 faculty, staff and students. UNB’s two main campuses are located in Fredericton and Saint John, N.B.


Natalie Montgomery, Communication Officer (506) 453-4990