CBU Celebrates the Success of Graduates with Fall Convocation Ceremony

Cape Breton University (CBU) will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 230 graduates at its Fall Convocation ceremony. In addition to recognizing the academic achievements of the Fall 2014 graduating class, CBU will bestow honorary degrees on two strong community leaders. Aboriginal leader and youth mentor, Wabanakwut Kinew will receive a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa and political leader, the Honourable Frank McKenna will receive a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 2 p.m. at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.

Dr. David Wheeler President and Vice Chancellor says, “Cape Breton University is an educational, economic, social and cultural success story. We have the highest student satisfaction in the province, reflecting our total focus on student success.  CBU is also uniquely community engaged, multicultural and entrepreneurial.  Our programs are designed to equip graduates to make positive change happen in the world. This is an exciting time for the class of 2014 and for Cape Breton Island.”

Named by Postmedia News as one of “Nine Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know,” Mr. Kinew is a one-of-a-kind talent. He is the interim Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at the University of Winnipeg, a correspondent for Aljazeera America and he has been a host for CBC for many years. In 2012, he hosted the acclaimed documentary series 8th Fire. And in 2014, he successfully defended Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda on CBC’s Canada Reads literary competition.

Talented in so many ways, Mr. Kinew released his debut CD as a rapper, Live by the Drum, in 2009. The CD won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop CD. One of his most rewarding broadcasting experiences was to lead the coverage of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's first national event in Winnipeg where he was honoured to tell the stories of many Residential School Survivors.

Like Cape Breton University, Mr. Kinew is deeply committed to supporting youth entrepreneurship.  He successfully launched a University of Winnipeg young entrepreneurs program, which is a business plan training program for high school and university aged youth that concludes with a Dragon’s Den style pitch contest. He has also presented as a keynote speaker for CBU’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies Business Network for Aboriginal Youth program and has been a supporter ever since. He and his wife, Dr. Lisa Monkman and his two sons Dominik and Bezh, reside in Winnipeg, MB.

Mr. McKenna has held numerous high profile leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. For 10 years, from 1987 to 1997, he was Premier of New Brunswick, having been elected with three consecutive majority governments, and in 1987, his party won all 58 seats in the Legislature. The McKenna governments significantly improved the Province’s standard of living and the quality of life of its people. Among the accomplishments of these governments, they balanced budgets, pioneered
e-government services, attracted innovative industry clusters and improved educational outcomes.
Mr. McKenna also played a central role on the national stage, where he became a leading advocate for the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.

Following his 10 years as Premier of New Brunswick, Mr. McKenna acted as Counsel to McInnes Cooper, Consulting Counsel to Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt and at the same time, served on a wide variety of boards of provincial, national and international companies.

In 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin nominated Mr. McKenna as the Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America. As Ambassador he was charged with navigating contentious bilateral issues related to trade and security. In 2006, he resigned this position upon the change of national government.

Frank McKenna was appointed Deputy Chair of TD Bank Group on May 1, 2006. He is responsible for supporting the Bank in its customer acquisition strategy, particularly in the area of Wholesale and Commercial Banking. He also serves as lead director for Brookfield Asset Management and is on the board of Canadian Natural Resources. He and his wife Julie reside in Cap Pele, New Brunswick and Toronto, Ontario.

Mitch Ramsay-Mader, will not only graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, but will serve as the Fall 2014 valedictorian, as selected by his peers. Mitch says, “It’s a tremendous honour to be asked to speak on behalf of my fellow peers at the culmination of our time at Cape Breton University, an honour that I wasn’t expecting. I hope that I can accurately convey the collective experience of my peers and I during our time at CBU, my valedictorian address will be one of the last things that my peers hear at Convocation and I hope that these final parting words will make them proud to be CBU Alumni, secure in the fact that this institution has prepared us for the trials and tribulations of our future lives and careers.”

Family, friends and community members can send congratulatory messages via social media using #CBUfallgrad14. The event will also be livestreamed and can be viewed at www.cbu.ca.