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UWindsor to graduate nearly 3,500 at Spring Convocation ceremonies

Published on: Tue, 05/30/2017
Last Modified: Tue, 05/30/2017 - 1:58pm

(Windsor, Ontario, Monday, May 29, 2017) – The University of Windsor will confer degrees on 3,477 graduating students during eight sessions of the University’s 107th Convocation ceremonies May 30 through June 2.

The University will also award honorary degrees to eight individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of coaching and sport, social justice, literature, business, music, medicine, and law.

Receiving honorary degrees are:

  • Dennis Fairall;
  • Dionne Brand;
  • Calin Rovinescu;
  • James Gordon “Jim” Cuddy, OC;
  • Dr. John G. Kelton, CM;
  • Hon. Dr. Jean M. Augustine, PC, CM, CBE;
  • Hon. Frances Lankin, PC, CM;
  • Jean Teillet, IPC, OMN (B.F.A., LL.B., LL.M.).

Dennis Fairall served as Head Coach of the University of Windsor Lancers Track and Field and Cross Country programs. He is not only one of the most decorated coaches in Canadian University history but also widely considered to be one of the greatest Canadian University coaches of all-time.

The Tillsonburg native led his teams to 25 CIS National Championships while being honoured 65 times as either the CIS or OUA Coach of the Year in Track and Field and Cross Country. 

Fairall founded the Tillsonburg Legion Track Club in 1974 and remained with the club as Head Coach until 1985, when he joined the University of Windsor. 

In addition to his University of Windsor coaching duties, Fairall enjoyed extensive international coaching experience as head coach of the 1985 and 1989 Canadian Maccabi Games in Israel; Head Coach of Team Canada at the 1989 World University Games team in Duisburg, West Germany; and as a member of the Canadian coaching staff for the 1989, 1995, 1997 and 1999 World University Games.

In 2005, Fairall served as head coach of Team Canada at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships held at the University of Windsor, where Team Canada earned their highest medal count in the history of the event. 

Fairall still coaches Canadian middle distance runner and Lancer alumnus Melissa Bishop, who won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships that same year. Last summer, with Fairall by her side, Bishop set a new Canadian record in the 800 metres while finishing fourth at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio, Brazil.

Following his final season coaching the Lancers, the University of Windsor renamed the St. Denis Centre fieldhouse the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse in his honour.

Dionne Brand is an award-winning writer, professor, and social activist whose work reflects her interest in the politics surrounding gender, sexuality, class, and race.

Brand is native of Trinidad and attended university in Toronto, where she received a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of Toronto (1975), and an M.A. in educational philosophy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She has been involved in various labour and community organizations and programs, including the Black Education Project; the Immigrant Women’s Centre in Toronto; and the Ontario Federation of Labour. She also founded Our Lives, Canada’s first Black women’s newspaper.

Following a 1983 stint as an information officer for Granada’s Agency for Rural Transformation, Brand wrote Chronicle of the Hostile Sun, a book of poetry responding to the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

Brand’s 1996 novel In Another Place, Not Here was shortlisted in 1997 for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Book Award. Land to Light On (1997) won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1997 and the Trillium Book Award in 1998. Her poetry collection thirsty (2002), won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award from the League of Canadian Poets in 2003 and was also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and Trillium Book Award in 2003.

She has taught at the universities of York, Toronto, British Columbia, and Guelph, as well as at numerous writing programs across Canada. Brand was a Ruth Wynn Woodward Professor of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006.

Calin Rovinescu is chair of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board, the controlling body of the 27-member Star Alliance network of airlines.

A first-generation Canadian, Rovinescu received a diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) from McGill University before earning a degree in civil law from the University of Montreal in 1978, and in common law from the University of Ottawa in 1980.

He had a 20-year career in corporate law in Canada and the United Kingdom as Managing Partner of the Montreal law firm Stikeman Elliott, where he advised enterprises in Canada, the U.S., and Europe on merger and acquisition transactions, corporate finance, privatizations and restructurings in various industries. He was also a member of the firm’s Partnership Board and Executive Committee.

He first joined Air Canada in April 2000, serving in a variety of senior management positions, following which he became co-founder and Principal of Genuity Capital Markets, an independent investment bank in 2004.

Rovinescu returned to Air Canada on April 1, 2009 as President and Chief Executive Officer and guided the airline’s transformation to global expansion, improved customer satisfaction, and greater profitability, while overseeing the return to a surplus position of its $15 billion pension plan. Air Canada was also recognized as the leading North American airline for five years consecutively by the leading global airline rating agency. As a result, in 2013, Report on Business magazine named him Canada’s best CEO.

He serves on the boards of several private and non-profit corporations and in June 2014 was elected to chair the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Jim Cuddy asked for his first guitar when he was 10 because he wanted to be like Roy Rogers. He formed iconic Canadian band Blue Rodeo with high school friend Greg Keelor in 1984, following the pair’s early foray into song writing and recording in 1980.

Following a move to New York City in 1981, Cuddy and Keelor put an ad in The Village Voice seeking other musicians, and formed the band Fly To France, though they eventually returned to Toronto and teamed with fellow musicians Cleave Anderson and Bazil Donovan to form Blue Rodeo.

Cuddy has enjoyed more than three decades of musical success with Blue Rodeo, which has toured extensively and released 21 albums. In 2000, he and Keelor received the National Achievement Award at the annual SOCAN Awards, and both were made Officers of the Order of Canada in 2013, “for their contributions to Canadian music and for their support of various charitable causes.”

In 2016 Cuddy participated in benefit concerts in Edmonton and Toronto to benefit victims of the Fort McMurray fire.

Dr. John G. Kelton is Executive Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare at McMaster University in Hamilton. He took the role after completing, in June 2016, a highly successful 15-year term as McMaster’s Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Vice-President for Health Sciences. He had also concurrently been the Dean of the University’s Michael G. DeGroote’s School of Medicine.

Kelton has an active clinical practice as a hematologist for Hamilton Health Sciences, along with an internationally-recognized research program in platelet and bleeding disorders and has published extensively in this area with 15 original articles in the New England Journal of Medicine.

He has received numerous national and international awards and honours, including the 2015 Prix Galien Research Award; election to the American Association of Physicians, and the Royal Society of Canada; and a Lifelong Achievement Award from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Regional Geriatric Program Central.

The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine is an energetic advocate of social justice. Before entering politics, the native of St. George’s, Grenada, was an elementary school principal and Chair of the Board of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. In 1993, she became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and the first Black female Cabinet member, where she served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and as Secretary of State and Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women.

As an MP she introduced a motion, which passed unanimously, to have February proclaimed as Black History Month in Canada. As Ontario’s first Fairness Commissioner she was responsible for ensuring that qualified foreign-trained professionals could obtain the required licenses in the province. She has served on the board of the Hospital for Sick Children, and served as the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. She is a member of the Order of Canada, and has received the Canadian Black Achievement Award and the YMCA Woman of Distinction award.

The Honourable Frances Lankin spent more than 10 years as the CEO of United Way Toronto. She also served as an Ontario provincial Minister of Government Services and Chair of Management Board, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Minister of Economic Development and Trade and Legislator for 11 years.

She has contributed to a number of diverse government bodies and initiatives, including as a Member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Federal Grants and Contributions, Co-Commissioner of the Commission for the Reform of Social Assistance in Ontario, and Member of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Business Assets.

She currently serves as a Board Director for Hydro One, and Board Director and Chair of the Social Responsibility Committee for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission. Ms. Lankin was the inaugural Chair of the National NewsMedia Council, former Chair of the Ontario Press Council, former Board Director of Metrolinx and has extensive previous experience as a volunteer on a number of not-for-profit boards.

She is a Member of Privy Council, a Member of the Order of Canada, and is also the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her work in community and politics, including the Equal Voice “eVe” award.

Jean Teillet, IPC, OMN (B.F.A., LL.B., LL.M.), is a former partner to the law firm of Pape Salter Teillet LLP, in Vancouver and Toronto.  Teillet’s legal career has focused on Aboriginal and reproductive rights and for many years she was legal counsel for the Association of Ontario Midwives and the Midwives Association of BC.

She is currently the chief negotiator for the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw, a coalition of six Stó:lō bands who are negotiating a treaty in the lower Fraser Valley in BC.  Ms. Teillet was counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada in Pamajewon, Powley, Taku River and Beckman and acted for interveners in many other cases.

Teillet maintains an active role as a public speaker and primarily speaks on Aboriginal rights, identity, access to justice and Charter issues.  She is published in many journals and law books and is the author of Métis Law in Canada.  She is currently writing a popular history of the Métis Nation, which will be published by Harper Collins in 2018.

She is an adjunct professor of law at UBC where she teaches a course in Métis Law; is on the board of the Association of Canadian Studies; and sits on the Canadian Judicial Council Chairperson’s Advisory Group.  She is a former Treasurer and Vice-President of the Indigenous Bar Association, and was the first recipient of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lincoln Alexander Award.  In 2011, the Indigenous Bar Association awarded Ms. Teillet the title of “Indigenous Peoples Counsel.”

Teillet received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; was made an honorary lifetime member of the Association of Ontario Midwives; and the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council. She is the great grand-niece of Louis Riel.

Convocation Schedule

  • On Tuesday, May 30, at 10 a.m., graduands of the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Human Kinetics, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and Mr. Fairall, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Tuesday, May 30, at 3 p.m., graduands of the Faculty of Engineering, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and Ms. Brand, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Wednesday, May 31, at 10 a.m., graduands of the Odette School of Business, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and Mr. Rovinescu, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Wednesday, May 31, at 3 p.m., graduands of the Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and Mr. Cuddy, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Thursday, June 1, at 10 a.m., graduands of the Faculty of Nursing, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and Dr. Kelton, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Thursday, June 1, at 3 p.m., graduands of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and the Hon. Dr. Augustine, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Friday, June 2, at 10 a.m., graduands of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will receive degrees, and the Hon. Ms. Lankin, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree;
  • On Friday, June 2, at 3 p.m., graduands of the Faculty of Law will receive degrees, and Ms. Teillet, an honorary Doctors of Laws degree.



Lori Lewis
Manager, News Services
University of Windsor
519-253-3000 ext. 3241