CBU to Celebrate the Achievements of two Extraordinary Canadians with Honorary Degrees

Cape Breton University will proudly celebrate the achievements of two extraordinary Canadians with Honorary Degrees at the 2018 Spring Convocation on Saturday, May 12.

Cape Breton University will confer the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a woman who has dedicated her life to the preservation and evolution of musical culture, and is a true Canadian icon in her profession, Ms Lydia Adams. Cape Breton University will also confer the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on a man who has dedicated his life’s work to the financial sector on a national scale, Mr. William Downe.

“I am delighted that Cape Breton University will recognize Ms Adams and Mr. Downe with honorary degrees at this year’s convocation ceremony,” says David C. Dingwall, President & Vice-Chancellor, Cape Breton University. “As CBU students prepare for their next steps in life, it is important they realize that the education they have received has prepared them to excel in their chosen careers. Both Ms Adams and Mr. Downe are exceptional examples of what can be achieved with strong education, passion and hard work. I am thrilled that these strong role models will share the stage with our students and instil in them some of the knowledge from their own experiences.”

Ms Lydia Adams is a cherished musical conductor described as a “powerhouse of Canadian choral music”, and who has dedicated her career to the advancement and expansion of choral works and has performed extensive national tours with Canada’s Elmer Iseler Singers from coast to coast to coast.

“To receive an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University is a great honour for me,” says Ms Adams. “I feel very close to the University as a Cape Bretoner, as some of my colleagues and friends have received honorary degrees from CBU before me, including The Men of the Deeps, Dr. Roberta Bondar, Sister Rita Clare, the Barra McNeils and my piano teacher, Marguerite McDougall, who was a fantastic mentor to me growing up in Glace Bay.

My mother, Florence Adams, was a student here when she was in her mid to late 70s! She decided to fulfil a lifelong dream to attend University, and she was so happy to be learning at such a high level with so many young people.

We all have the opportunity to make a positive impact in this world, and we are so fortunate to have such a wonderful University as CBU in our midst, bringing students together to share great ideas.

‘Perseverance will Triumph’ is the motto of the CBU and the students graduating today have worked hard and persevered to be graduating, but more than that, they have been enlightened with great thoughts, and they are positive conduits for building our society and making it a better place. My thanks to the CBU for this honorary degree and for the honour to choral music and to culture in our country.”

Mr. William Downe, C.M., is lead director of ManpowerGroup Inc. and has been a driving force with BMO in various capacities throughout his distinguished financial career.

“Every generation feels it’s at a kind of crossroads. But knowing that doesn’t make the choices any clearer – or the difficult questions any easier to answer,” says Mr. Downe. “In my view, no generation has been better equipped to tackle the challenges ahead. My congratulations to the 2018 graduating class. And I want to express my appreciation to the Board of Governors – and to Chancellor Verschuren and President Dingwall – for the honour of being awarded this degree.”
Spring Convocation will take place on Saturday, May 12, 2018, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person.