At the 2009 Encaenia ceremonies, the conferring of the honorary degrees was prefaced by beautiful citations delivered by Inglis Professor Dr. Walter Kemp.
Edmund Burke declared that it “is our business to bring the dispositions that are lovely in private life into the service and conduct of the commonwealth,” never forgetting “that sensibility of principle… which inspired courage.” Service and courage have no finer representative than Captain Trevor Greene.
A native of Sydney, Nova Scotia, Trevor Greene graduated from King’s with an Honours Bachelor of Journalism in 1988. He already had demonstrated his innate concern for the less fortunate through his volunteer work for Ethiopia Airlift and for the World University Service of Canada, which developed sponsorships for African students to attend King’s. After graduation, therefore, it was no surprise that he employed the skills trained in the School of Journalism to bring to public attention the voices of the silent: nationally, though his published study on the missing prostitutes of Vancouver, and internationally with a second book, Bridge of Tears: the Hidden Homeless of Japan.
Joining the Canadian military he was part of the unit CIMIC (Civilian-Military Cooperation), which offered a window of assistance to the local communities of Afghanistan ideally suited to his special combination of athleticism in rugby and rowing and his humanitarian compassion. In March of 2006, three months into his tour of duty, he was meeting with village elders to discuss the provision of clean water for domestic and farming improvement. He laid aside his weapon and helmet as a sign of trust and respect, but fell victim to a brutal attack from a young fanatic that inflicted severe brain damage. His battle for the recovery of communication and motor skills has become a continuing inspiration for young Canadians. Now, his commitment to advocacy is not only about the underprivileged, whether in our busiest metropolis or in the simplest of remote Afghan towns. It is also advocacy by personal example for the power of the human spirit to conquer physical adversity in order to give to others.
Down through the ages, the world has needed its heroes. In our time, we prize not the hērōs conquering before the walls of Troy but the person who is valiant for their neighbour: the hero so aptly named in the title of the W5 documentary on the man we wish to honour today, Peace Warrior.
Mr. Chancellor, I request that you bestow upon this courageous son of King’s College, Captain Trevor Greene, the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa.
In his play, Le marriage de Figaro, Beaumarchais’s Figaro declares, “J’ai tout vu, tout fait, tout usé.” “I’ve seen everything, done everything, been everything.” Certainly the same assertion could be made by Dr. Henry Roper, whose career at King’s has been so omnifarious in service, so omniscient of its affairs and history, in its academic, administrative and extra-curricular life so omnipresent.
Having taught history at Mount Saint Vincent University, Huron College and St. Mary’s University, Dr. Roper began his thirty-year professional association with King’s as a Junior Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences. He rose through the ranks to become Full Professor of Humanities in 1996, retiring to an Inglis Professorship two years later. During that time he served as Registrar 1978-87, Acting President 1983, Vice-President 1983-86, Associate Director King’s Foundation Year Programme 1989-90, Interim Vice-President 1991-92, and Foundation Year Programme Director 1992-94. As a member of the Board of Governors 1980-86, 1991-94, he was at various times on the Executive Committee, Secretary, Nominating Committee and Finance Committee. For the Faculty he served twice as Secretary, and chaired the Budget, Scholarship, and Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee. Further, he functioned on various Committees responsible for Bursaries, the Library, appointment Search, Campus Safety, Journalism, and the Bicentennial Campaign, plus chairing the Board of Management of the Wardroom Lounge. He was a member of the Board of Governors both at Dalhousie University and at the Atlantic School of Theology as its Vice-Chair. His academic contribution included terms as Coordinator of sections 5 and 6 of the Foundation Year Program.
Henry Roper received a BA from Dalhousie, 1961, and then proceeded to Cambridge where he earned a BA, MA and a PhD, 1972. Before returning to Canada, this Haligonian had become an authority on the history of 19th century education in England. During his years at King’s he published numerous articles on the history of church, education and municipal affairs in Nova Scotia, plus reviews and over 20 public lectures and addresses. In retirement, he co-edited the two final volumes of the Collected Works of George Grant, thus participating in a major monument of Canadian intellectual history. We particularly honour Henry’s scholarship in preserving and fostering for future generations of George Grant’s countrymen the inspiration enshrined on the Grant tombstone in Terence Bay: “Out of the Shadows and Imaginings into the Truth.” Henry pursues the enrichment of his community’s cultural life as a patron of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Symphony Nova Scotia, and also supports St. George’s Church through his skills as an archivist.
The etymology of “Henry” finds that the name is an old German compound Haimrich: house (haimi) ruler (ric). In his ubiquitous contribution to the College both as servant, overseer and scholar, Henry not only has fulfilled the root meaning of his name but has earned the affectionate sobriquet bestowed on him by his colleagues: “Mr.Kings.”
Mr. Chancellor, I ask you to confer upon Dr. Henry Roper the degree of Doctor of Canon Law, honoris causa.
Halifax-born Michael Hawkins graduated from King’s with a BA in 1985. His undergraduate years were spent with full participation in all aspects of collegiate life. His fellow students appreciated his warm gifts of friendship and positive encouragement. He also obtained his officer’s commission in Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Navy and served as a reservist. After earning his Master of Divinity from the University of Trinity College, Toronto, he was ordained in the Diocese of Nova Scotia in 1988, and priest in 1989. In the Nova Scotia Diocese he served as Rector of the Parish of Pugwash and River John, subsequently in the Parish of Petite Riviere and New Dublin. In 2001, he was called to the Deanship of Saskatchewan and Pastor to the congregation of St. Alban’s Cathedral, Prince Albert. In addition to his pastoral duties he was a founding faculty member of the Eastern Canadian St. Michael’s Youth Conference and helped plant that ministry in the Canadian West. In Lunenburg, he was an active volunteer for the Canadian Mental Health Association. For relaxation, he sings with the Men of the Way male choir.
In March of this year, Dean Hawkins was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Saskatchewan. He confesses to draw inspiration from the Apostles Peter and Andrew who were called to be “fishers of men,” and James and John who were menders of nets. A Bishop, he recognizes, must build communications within the Diocese and with the rest of the Church; a Bishop must cast his nets and mend them. Bishop Hawkins embarks, a boatman on Western Canada’s spiritual waters, with an open horizon toward which he must guide his Christian community in harmonious strokes that recognize the rhythm of the Aboriginal Church’s self-determinant aspirations. The quest was conjured in Eli Mandel’s poem From the North Saskatchewan: to learn “what lies north of the river.”
Your Orator remembers with appreciation the genuine feeling of positive faith imparted by Michael to new-comers at King’s Chapel, and his gift of offering a welcoming light. His love of hymnody, and the role of music as a vehicle of worship, surely reinforces his emulation of the great fishermen, enshrined in Whittier’s lines:
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Michael has risen up and followed his Calling.
Mr. Chancellor, I ask you to confer upon a shaper and enabler within the dialogue between Western Canada’s citizens, the Very Reverend Michael Hawkins, the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.
Born in Montreal, 1971, Stephanie Nolen received her Honours Bachelor of Journalism from King’s in 1993, and subsequently earned a Masters in Economic Development from the London School of Economics. Her initial years as a freelance journalist in the Middle East were marked by very human reporting, incisive and insightful. This resulted in assignments from major international print media including The Independent and Newsweek. Returning to Canada she became a senior writer for Maclean’s and then the Globe and Mail. In 2004 she convinced her Globe editors to establish for her a Johannesberg-based correspondent position, which she held for the past five years. Recently she has been given a new assignment with the Globe‘s India bureau.
She has received high praise for her work as a war correspondent in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa. However, it is a different conflict that has brought her world fame: the struggle to force universal awareness of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Africa and to battle for international engagement with the crisis. For this work she has won three Canadian National Newspaper Awards for International Reporting as well as three Amnesty International Awards for Human Rights Reporting, awards citing her “creative brilliance, humanitarian compassion, personal courage and the relentless pursuit of truth”.
Stephanie’s earlier nonfiction books had included two quite different topics: a literary mystery Shakespeare’s Face, and Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race.
In 2007, she published 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa. The 28 victims of AIDS who tell of their affliction and experience represent one each of the 28 million population who are living with this disease. The Montreal Gazette, in singling out her “clear and insightful prose” praised her as second only to UN Special envoy Stephen Lewis as Canada’s “most compelling and vigorous voice for action on the grim parasite worming its way across Africa.” As one of her nominators put it, not often does an author early in their career receive critical praise on their book jacket from as diverse a list of personalities as Stephen Lewis, James Obinski, John LeCarré, Emma Thompson and Bono.
That the world is getting smaller is an adage to which contemporary media, internet and air travel give new veracity. Our concept of international community gives credence to Marcel Proust’s assertion that “Distances are only the relation of space to time and vary with that relation.” A closer family can survive only with reliable on-site information from which the members gain broader vision. Stephanie Nolen guarantees the value of information traveling across the shrinking geographical miles and temporal distances, and we appreciate her own traversing of them in order to be with us today.
It is with great pleasure and a good measure of pride that we ask you, Mr. Chancellor, to confer upon this successful and influential graduate of King’s School of Journalism the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa.