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UNB to grant six honorary degrees during upcoming graduation ceremonies

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 2, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The University of New Brunswick will award honorary degrees to six outstanding individuals at its spring graduation ceremonies in Fredericton and Saint John on May 29, 30 and 31.

Susan Guilford Montague will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Fredericton on May 29 at 10 a.m. A UNB champion, fundraiser and community leader, she has worked tirelessly to continually enrich the university in its varying facets, as well as the community around it. During her 40-year tenure at UNB, Ms. Montague has served in a variety of crucial roles including editor, project manager and director of several departments. She has lent her guidance and expertise on a broad array of initiatives and has been a trusted adviser to five presidents. Ms. Montague is the recipient of an Eleanor Collier Award, a Distinguished Service Award by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education, and a UNB President’s Medal.

Stephen G. Wetmore will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Fredericton on May 29 at 2:30 p.m. A Canadian business leader, mentor and visionary, Mr. Wetmore helped create and served as the president and CEO of telecommunications giant Bell Aliant. He successfully restructured and became president of Air Atlantic and has held executive roles in both the healthcare and public accounting sectors. In 2009, he joined Canadian Tire Corporation as president and CEO, where he substantially grew the company, eventually transforming it into the largest sporting goods retailer in the country. Mr. Wetmore played a critical role in Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charity, which has given two million children, from families in financial need, the chance to participate in sport and physical activity.

Kathryn Ann McCain will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Fredericton on May 30 at 10 a.m. A highly dedicated UNB alumna, Ms. McCain has shown support as a key leadership donor, an alumni volunteer, and by playing an integral role on the campaign cabinets for the university’s last two major fundraising initiatives, Forging our Future and It Begins Here. Since 1998, Ms. McCain has been a member of the UNB Board of Governors in a number of capacities, including chair of Advancement, Finance, Nominating and Review, as well as chair of the Executive and Audit Committees. In 2002, she began her role as chair of the Board of Governors, a role in which she served for three years. She received a UNB Alumni Award of Honour in 2010, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and was named Governor Emerita, UNB in 2017.

Opolahsomuwehs Imelda Perley, of St. Mary’s First Nation and Houlton Band of Maliseets, will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Fredericton on May 30 at 2:30 p.m. As an Indigenous women’s rights activist, language carrier, Sacred Pipe Carrier, Sweatlodge Keeper and Wolastoqi scholar, Elder Perley has affected great change by leading a community movement to re-establish Indigenous cultural traditions. As UNB’s Elder-in-Residence from 2012 to 2019, she became the face and spirit of Indigenous engagement at the university. Throughout her career, Elder Perley has been publicly recognized for her determination in keeping First Nations cultural traditions alive, and in 2013, was honoured by the Maine State Legislature for her dedication to the revitalization of Indigenous language.

David Perley will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Fredericton on May 30 at 2:30 p.m. An Indigenous ambassador, Wolastoqi scholar, former Chief of Tobique First Nation, civil servant and educator, Mr. Perley is a dedicated advocate on behalf of First Nations governance and education. From 2014 to 2019, he served as director of the Mi’kmaq Wolastoqey Centre at UNB. He was co-chair of UNB’s Reconciliation Initiatives and Truth and Reconciliation Strategic Action Plan, and was responsible for developing decolonizing initiatives to bring Indigenous knowledge, language, culture and ceremony to campus life. He helped establish UNB’s annual powwows (Siqonawsultipon/Mawiomi), the Elder-in-Residence program, and the recently created position of Piluwitahasuwin (assistant vice-president Indigenous engagement).

Ralph Douglas Thomas will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree in Saint John on May 31 at 2 p.m. A recognized community leader and mentor, Mr. Thomas is president of PRUDE Inc. (Pride of Race, Unity and Dignity through Education), which is dedicated to the full participation of all cultural communities in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of mainstream New Brunswick life. Mr. Thomas is a founding member of the New Brunswick Black History Society, and in 2012 was recognized for his long-standing interest in human rights with a New Brunswick Human Rights Award. Mr. Thomas was a prominent amateur and professional boxer and a co-founder of the Saint John Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club. He has received numerous awards throughout his lifetime.

Additional information related to UNB’s spring graduation ceremonies can be found at unb.ca/graduation.

Media contact: Kelsey Pye