Four renowned individuals embodying the values and aspirations of Thompson Rivers University will inspire graduates during Spring Convocation this June.
Senator Murray Sinclair, who led Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Inquiry, health reform leader Dr. Roger Strasser, acclaimed documentary film producer Rudy Buttignol and Kamloops firefighter and global humanitarian David Sakaki will be recognized with honorary degrees and address the class of 2017.
An honorary degree is TRU’s highest form of recognition and is awarded for demonstrated excellence in the fields of public affairs, the sciences, arts, humanities, business and philanthropy. This year’s recipients have excelled in their respective fields nationally and internationally, and their dedication continues to make a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
Convocation runs June 7 to 9 at the Tournament Capital Centre. Full schedule
2017 honorary degree recipients
David Sakaki, Doctor of Letters
Thursday, June 8, 10 a.m.
Captain David Sakaki is a well-known Kamloops firefighter and global humanitarian who has impacted the lives of thousands around the world. Founder of the Kamloops Firefighters Operation Nicaragua and a Rapid Response Team Leader for Global Medic, he has assisted in dozens of international medical and humanitarian projects since 2007. In 2009, he founded Operation Nicaragua, which has brought clothing, medical supplies, school supplies, fire-fighting equipment and training to some of Nicaragua’s poorest communities. Global Medic missions have taken him to the Philippines, Japan, India, Nepal and Greece, where he assisted Syrian refugees in 2015. He is a camp counsellor for the BC Professional Firefighters Young Burn Survivors Camp, sits on the board for Third World Eye Care Society of Canada and is a Global Medic trainer for emergency responders across Canada. Sakaki’s dedication to assisting communities in need demonstrates the global citizenship that TRU aims to foster in our students.
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Dr. Roger Strasser, Doctor of Laws
Thursday, June 8, 2 p.m.
Dr. Roger Strasser is an internationally-recognized leader in health care reform and one of the world’s foremost authorities in rural medical education. He is the founding dean and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and at Laurentian University in Sudbury, the first Canadian medical school established with an explicit social accountability mandate to improve the health of people and communities in the region it serves. Since 2002 NOSM’s unique model of distributed community-engaged learning has supported recruitment, retention, and socio-economic development in historically underserved communities across northern Ontario. As one of the few professors of rural health in the world, Strasser also leads research relating to socially-accountable health professional education, recruitment and retention of health professionals, and rural health service delivery models. Strasser’s impact on health care in remote and rural communities worldwide represents the visionary leadership that TRU aims to foster in our students.
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Rudy Buttignol, Honorary Doctor of Letters
Friday, June 9, 10 a.m.
Rudy Buttignol is an internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker and producer who has contributed to the growth and quality of Canadian documentary filmmaking for more than 40 years. A tireless advocate for the arts in his role as president and CEO of British Columbia’s Knowledge Network, one of Canada’s most respected public broadcasters, Buttignol has directly impacted the success and international reputation of Canada’s film and television industry. In recognition of his contributions to Canadian documentary filmmaking and his role in transforming the Knowledge Network, he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, and was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2015. The founding chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada, he has also served on the boards of several international film festivals. Buttignol’s passion to educate through the arts exemplifies the lifelong quest for knowledge TRU aims to foster in our students.
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Senator Murray Sinclair, Honorary Doctor of Laws
Friday, June 9, 2 p.m.
Senator Murray Sinclair is an Ojibway-Canadian judge and First Nations lawyer, well-regarded for his stature in the legal field. Since 2009 he has gained wider recognition as the Chief Commissioner for the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which has provided Canadians with a better understanding of what happened in residential schools and a clearer path toward reconciliation. Sinclair is Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge, and has been a member of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench since 2001. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in March of 2016. In his accomplished career, he has helped lead some of the most significant inquiries of our nation, resulting in deep and profound changes in national policies as well as collective perspectives of our Canadian history in regards to Aboriginal peoples. Sinclair’s commitment to reconciliation and strengthened relations among all Canadians represents the intercultural understanding TRU aims to foster in our students.
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