CBU to Celebrate 2016 Fall Convocation

Cape Breton University Convocation 2016Cape Breton University will celebrate the accomplishments of over 270 Fall graduates at a ceremony at Membertou Trade and Convention Centre on Saturday, October 29 at 2:00 p.m. In addition to the degrees, diplomas and certificates being conferred, honorary degrees are being bestowed on three highly deserving individuals.

Both Paulette Tremblay and the late Charlie Joe Dennis and will receive a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, (D. Litt) and Frank Iacobucci will receive a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, (LL.D).

“We are delighted to be celebrating the achievements of all our students at Membertou First Nation on the traditional lands of the Mi’maq – Unama’ki/Cape Breton Island-” says CBU President, Dr. David Wheeler. “Our students are local and global game changers. They are going to make their mark on this world through their community and cultural values and through representing the best of CBU alumni traditions of service, tenacity and creativity. It is also appropriate that while we celebrate the success and hard work of our students, we also honour three such inspirational leaders with honorary doctorates for their service to Indigenous rights and the application of Aboriginal knowledge.”

A Turtle Clan member of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory of Southern Ontario, Dr. Paulette Tremblay has been an educator for more than 30 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education at Dalhousie and holds both a Master of Arts degree in education and a Doctor of Philosophy in education from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Tremblay is a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) and received the Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD.D) from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.

Dr. Tremblay is a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) and received the Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD.D) from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. In addition to teaching high school courses and acting as a guidance counsellor, Dr. Tremblay also earned several instructor certificates and has taught post-secondary courses and lectures at Algonquin College, the University of Ottawa, Cape Breton University and the Six Nations Polytechnic Institute.

Born and raised in Eskasoni, Mr. Charlie Joe Dennis began his career working on an oyster farm in the Bras d’Or Lake. This sparked a lifelong passion for the management of the precious resources provided by Mother Earth and inspired his dream of creating employment for young Mi’kmaq. Mr. Dennis was instrumental in the development of many of Eskasoni’s fishery programs including the Unama’ki Oyster Farm, Eskasoni Fish and Wildlife Commission and Crane Cove Seafoods. He helped found the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources in 1999 and was its first executive director, working on natural resource management and sustainability for the five Mi’kmaw communities.

He nurtured relationships that helped form the multi-jurisdictional and cross-cultural program known as the Bras d’Or Lake Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative. He made an immeasurable contribution to the Mi’kmaq on political, social and cultural levels. His natural leadership abilities opened the door to relationships between the Mi’kmaq and neighbouring communities at a time when that was rare, and those abilities were at the forefront as he served his home community as Chief of Eskasoni for two terms. His lasting impact in the community lives on through the Sarah Denny Memorial Cultural Centre, the Eskasoni fishery processing plant and the fishery building and laboratory at Crane Cove.

Mr. Iacobucci was born to Italian immigrants in Vancouver just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. He learned a great deal about the values of hard work and frugality from his father and mother. Those lessons stuck with Mr. Iacobucci throughout his lengthy and distinguished career in law, academia and public service. Mr. Iacobucci earned degrees from the University of British Columbia and Cambridge University. He started working in 1964 as a Wall Street lawyer with a New York firm. He took a professorship with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, where he spent 18 years teaching, rising to become the university’s Dean of Law, Vice-President, Internal Affairs and, eventually, Vice-President and Provost. In 1985, Mr. Iacobucci was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General for Canada, and, three years later, became Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada. In 1991, he was named a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

While working for the federal government, Mr. Iacobucci was immersed in constitutional, criminal and human rights law. Aboriginal issues were naturally a large component of the job. Because of that experience, combined with his work on the Supreme Court, the Government of Canada appointed Mr. Iacobucci in 2005 as its representative to lead negotiations that led to the settlement of thousands of individual cases and over 20 class actions resulting from the Indian residential schools legacy.

International Student, Esraa Ashraf will graduate with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and serve as the class valedictorian. “As an international student that has been here for 13 months, I am honored to be the valedictorian of the 2016 graduate class as it has been my dream since I was young to excel academically so I can later pursue my goal of acquiring my PHD degree in marketing and to be given the chance to stand and speak on behalf of the class on graduation is something I have always dreamt of and I thank CBU for that.

Well-wishers can send congratulatory messages on social media using #CBUgrad16 and those cannot attend can watch the livestream beginning at 2pm at www.cbu.ca/convocation