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Honorary degree recipient Bill Richardson

Honorary degrees, Order of Wilfrid Laurier University recognize outstanding accomplishments

Laurier recognized four accomplished Canadians with honorary degrees at spring convocation. Recipients included Rebecca Jamieson, CEO and president of Six Nations Polytechnic; Tina Keeper, an award-winning Cree activist, producer, actress and politician; William (Bill) Richardson, an accomplished Canadian writer, composer and broadcaster; and David Young, an award-winning musician and composer. In addition, the Order of Wilfrid Laurier University was presented to Carl Zehr, the former mayor of the City of Kitchener.

Convocation ceremonies were held on the university's Waterloo and Brantford campuses in June.

Jamieson is a distinguished and recognized leader in Indigenous education in Ontario and Canada and an influential champion for the preservation of Indigenous languages. As CEO and president of Six Nations Polytechnic, she has had a transformational impact on the institution, her community and post-secondary education in Ontario. Jamieson is Tuscarora, Eel Clan. She is an outstanding alumna of Laurier and the University of Toronto.

Keeper is a Cree activist, producer, actress and former member of federal Parliament. She has enjoyed a long and impressive career in both acting and politics. In her acting career, she is best known for her role on the CBC Television series North of 60, which earned her three consecutive Gemini Award nominations for best actress. Keeper was elected in the 2006 federal election as the Liberal MP for Churchill, Manitoba. She served as the Official Opposition critic for public health and Canadian heritage.

William (Bill) Richardson is an accomplished Canadian novelist, essayist, poet, composer, children's author and radio and TV host. A librarian by training and first career, he moderated CBC's annual Canada Reads competition in its early years. He also presented Richardson's Round-up, collecting humourous stories from listener letters, calls and feature interviews. Richardson is the author of over a dozen books, from tales for children to essays on some of Canada’s great eccentrics.

Young is an award-winning Canadian musician and composer. As a classical musician, he has been a member of the Edmonton Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic. As a jazz artist, he has collaborated with jazz icons. In addition to performing and recording albums, Young is a dedicated jazz educator and has been a member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. He was recently named a member of the Order of Canada.

Zehr was elected as mayor of the City of Kitchener in 1997 and in total served his community as an elected official for 23 years. He has long supported the presence of higher education in Kitchener and Waterloo. The Order of Wilfrid Laurier recognizes exemplary and distinguished service to the university by members of the Laurier community.

– Daniel Rankin