Cape Breton University Bestows Honorary Degrees on Three Deserving Individuals

Jim Irving to Address Graduating Class

Cape Breton University is pleased to recognize the outstanding achievements, accomplished careers and community contributions of the 2011 honorary degree recipients – James D. Irving, Lloyd MacDonald and Teresa MacNeil. Cape Breton University will confer a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on Jim Irving and Teresa MacNeil and a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Lloyd MacDonald during CBU’s Fall Convocation Ceremony on Saturday, October 29 at 2 p.m. at the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre. Jim Irving will deliver the address to the graduates.

“Our honorary degree recipients exemplify the very characteristics that are CBU – perseverance, community-mindedness and innovation. Visionaries in their own right, they have each amassed an extensive and impressive list of accomplishments, and have done so with great authority. The work of these individuals is commendable, and with the recent Canadian Government Ships procurement announcement,what a timely and special opportunity for our graduating class and their guests to hear from one of Canada’s great business leaders, Jim Irving. I am delighted that he, along with the other two wonderful honorary degree recipients, are becoming members of the CBU community,” says President, Dr. John Harker.

Jim Irving is President of J.D. Irving Limited. The company, which employs a dedicated team of 15,000 associates, operates in Eastern Canada and the United States. Irving’s knowledge, capabilities and leadership are sought after throughout North America. He has served on Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Economic Advisory Council and sits on the boards of the Lahey Clinic Medical Centre in Massachusetts, as well as the Ivey Advisory Board of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. A friend and supporter of CBU, Irving has given his time and expertise in support of CBU’s Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment and was appointed to the Centre’s inaugural Board this past September.  

Lloyd MacDonald, founder of the MacDonald Auto Group has, over that past 50 years, employed hundreds of Cape Bretoners and built his company from the ground up. Recently, the company was ranked 36th on the list of the top 101 companies in Atlantic Canada, according to Progress Magazine. In 2006, Mr. MacDonald was inducted into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame, an honour of which he is most deserving. MacDonald is also a talented violin player, who brings his passion to the community by playing for various audiences around Cape Breton.This year, at the age of 80, he released his first cd.

An adult educator, and advocate for community economic development, Teresa MacNeil is a well-respected leader throughout the country.  For more than 35 years, she worked at St. Francis Xavier University as a professor and is founder of its Master of Adult Education program. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education and was a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Adult Education. She also chaired a task force on behalf of the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada to make recommendations to improve the economy of Cape Breton, and among other notable achievements, in 2004, MacNeil was named a member of the Order of Canada.

During the ceremony, Cape Breton University will recognize 257 graduates, who will receive degrees, certificates and diplomas in a variety of disciplines ranging from business and liberal arts to education and science. The ceremony will be broadcast online at