The Honoree - Fall 2019

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A newsletter for Acadia’s Distinguished Alumni and Honorary Degree Community

Honorary Degree Recipients David Huestis Nancy Nason-Clark, PhD Elder Joe Michael Rick Hansen, CC, OBC Biliana Cicin-Sain, PhD

Issue 5 | fall 2019

Distinguished Alumni Award Dr. David Levy (’72)

Alumni Profiles Dr. Elizabeth Cannon (’82) Dr. William ‘Bill’ Parker (’56)

Tremendous momentum I’m delighted to offer this year’s edition of The Honoree, in which we celebrate the many accomplishments and achievements of Acadia University’s Distinguished Alumni Award and Honorary Degree recipients. It was an honour to applaud you in May during Convocation here on campus and at our annual Alumni Dinner, held at Pier 21 in Halifax. Your accomplishments are truly remarkable and distinguish each of you in your respective fields, establishing a standard of excellence to which we can all aspire. As you know, our historic Campaign for Acadia is in full swing and the support we have received from alumni and friends has been overwhelming! We’ve generated tremendous momentum since unveiling the public phase of the Campaign in October 2018 and we are closing in our $75-million fundraising goal. Success will guarantee our ability to provide our students with an outstanding, transformative educational experience through quality instruction, cutting-edge innovation, and best-in-class facilities – enabling them to follow proudly in your footsteps. Members of our alumni community represent the pride and accomplishment that results from the unique experience Acadia offers and illustrates to incoming students the values that have sustained and continue to define our University. We remain committed to a philosophy and a learning environment that fosters the development of every student as a person, and I am grateful for your own unremitting dedication to Acadia. Yours sincerely,

Dr. Peter J. Ricketts President and Vice-Chancellor


Issue 5 | fall 2019

Honorary Degree Recipients David Huestis Doctor of Humanities

and Scouting movement. Among his many volunteer

David Huestis graduated

Past-President Scouts Canada, member and Chairman for

from Acadia University with

the Audit Committee for World Scout Foundation (51 million

his Bachelor of Science


in Mathematics in 1963 (Dalhousie 1966). He returned to Saint John to make sure a certain nurse, his wife Faye of 51 years, didn’t slip away. Faye and

responsibilities, he chaired the Centracare Hospital Board, is

For his sustained commitment to public service, he has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals as well as Scouts Canada’s Jubilee medal, the Silver Wolf (Canadian Scouting’s highest award) and the Bronze Wolf (World Scouting Highest Award).

David have three children – Paul, Peter and Jennifer – and

A generous philanthropist, in 2016 Huestis and his wife Faye

two grandchildren, Xavier and Oliver. Huestis is President and

revealed their most public donation when they became the

CEO of the Huestis Insurance Group, Atlantic Canada’s largest

anchor donors to Acadia’s science complex renovation project.

independent brokerage operating in more than 40 communities

The David Huestis Innovation Pavilion is the centrepiece of

throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward

an Acadia complex that fosters research, innovation and


community economic development. Additionally, he has

The commitment “to make the world a better place” is a core value of his business, which comes from deep within himself. An active member of his church community, he has been a leader in different service groups, New Brunswick Health organizations

provided several scholarships for Innovation and Acadia Divinity College. His support for Acadia faculty and students and the work they perform to benefit Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada stands as a gift for a lifetime for the University, positioning it for success in the 21st Century.

Nancy Nason-Clark, PhD Doctor of Divinity

A Professor of Sociology at UNB, Dr. Nason-Clark completed

Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark is a

Department of Sociology from 2008 until 2016, twice as Acting

leading scholar, teacher and

Associate Dean of Arts, and twice as Acting Director of the

advocate in the worldwide effort

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research.

to reveal instances of sexual

Dr. Nason-Clark served as editor of the international journal

violence, assault and abuse

Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review from 2000-2006 and

of women and support these

she is Past-President of the international Religious Research

survivors in their recovery. Her

Association. She has served also as President of the Association

her PhD in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science in England. She served as chair of UNB’s

particular expertise is discussing domestic violence in homes

for the Sociology of Religion and as President of the Society for

that are also deeply grounded in religion or spirituality. Working

the Scientific Study of Religion.

from her home base at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Dr. Nason-Clark is the author of numerous books and refereed scholarly papers, and is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader in the faith community. Her work has taken her to India, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean and her books have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

Dr. Nason-Clark founded the RAVE Project at UNB as a means of providing support to families of faith that have been shattered by domestic violence. Her view is that religious congregations silence incidents of abuse and her work is committed to providing direct support to families and individuals as well as equipping faith leaders and religious scholars with the tools to intervene and help rebuild lives and communities.

Issue 5 | fall 2019


Honorary Degree Recipients Elder Joe Michael Doctor of Humanities

up with Mi’kmaq as his first language and deeply respectful

Mi’kmaq Elder Lawrence

combined this knowledge with contemporary policing practices

Joseph Michael is a highly

to increase cross-cultural awareness and develop the RCMP’s

regarded inspirational and

Aboriginal Community Policing model that remains part of the

spiritual leader within Nova

force’s cadet training program in Regina. Before retiring from the

Scotia’s Mi’kmaq community,

RCMP as Detachment Commander, he became the force’s Pipe

Indigenous communities

Carrier responsible for performing sacred rituals and ceremonies

across Canada, and on

and helping all races better understand Aboriginal culture.

Acadia’s campus, particularly with students interested in learning traditional knowledge. Most notably, “Joe Mike” was the first Mi’kmaq member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when he was appointed Special Constable on the Indian Brook First Nation and it was during his 25-year RCMP career that he earned the respect he enjoys today from Indigenous and nonIndigenous communities for his unique contribution to Canada’s justice system.

of methods of traditional knowledge and practices, and he

In 2014, he formed Weaving River Consulting, a cooperative venture with three other colleagues aimed at promoting balance between contemporary and traditional knowledge, teachings and practices to organizations and individuals. His relentless passion for educating youth has made him a regular visitor to university campuses in Nova Scotia and at Acadia in particular, where he played a key role in the Mawio’mi of 2015 and 2017. In addition to consulting and teaching, Joe Mike carves talking sticks that have made their way around the world and are a symbol of his

Joe Mike joined the RCMP as restorative justice principles

belief in the power of storytelling and finding balance.

and practices were beginning to take root in Canada. He grew

Rick Hansen, CC, OBC Doctor of Humanities

Between 1980 and 1984, Hansen won six Paralympic

Rick Hansen is Canada’s

and nine gold medals at the 1982 Pan-Am Games in Halifax.

Man in Motion. Over the past 40 years he has become a champion for accessibility and philanthropy. He is easily one of Canada’s most recognizable and influential personalities.

medals. He also won 19 wheelchair marathons, three world championships in wheelchair racing between 1979 and 1984

In 1985, Hansen embarked on his Man in Motion World Tour, a historic 26-month, 34 country, 40,000 km wheelchair marathon. Fueled by his two original dreams of a world without barriers for people with disabilities and a cure for paralysis after spinal cord injury, The Tour raised $26 million and changed the way people with disabilities were perceived. Hansen established The Rick Hansen Foundation in 1988, and for over 30 years the Foundation has raised awareness, changed attitudes, and

On the way home from a fishing trip, Mr. Hansen was in a car

improved the quality of life for people with disabilities. Currently,

accident and thrown from the back of a pickup truck. At age 15,

Hansen and the Foundation are rethinking how people of all

he injured his spinal cord and was paralyzed from the waist down.

ages and abilities access the spaces where we live, work,

His new reality came with challenges, but with determination, a

learn and play. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility

sense of humour and a lot of heart, he found a way to keep doing

Certification™(RHFAC) is the only program that rates, certifies

the things he loved and began to make new dreams.

and showcases accessible buildings.

In 1976, Hansen enrolled at the University of British Columbia

Hansen has received numerous honours, including being named

and became the first person with a disability to graduate with a

a Companion of the Order of Canada and a member of the

degree in Physical Education from the university. He channeled

Order of British Columbia. To-date, he has received 21 honorary

his natural athletic ability into track and wheelchair marathoning.

degrees worldwide.


Issue 5 | fall 2019

Honorary Degree Recipient Biliana Cicin-Sain, PhD

oceans agenda as founder and president of the Global Ocean

Doctor of Science

climate nexus in the context of the UN Framework Convention

Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, who received her PhD in political science from UCLA and completed her

Forum. She is currently working on addressing the oceans and on Climate Change, especially in mobilizing the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action 2016-2021 and in leading the UNFCCC Ocean Action Days as well as contributing to the UN negotiations on marine areas beyond national jurisdiction.

post-doctoral training at

Dr. Cicin-Sain’s international ocean work has been recognized

Harvard, is President of the

through a number of awards, including, inter alia, 2019 Prince

Global Ocean Forum, and

Albert I of Monaco Grand Prize of Marine Sciences; 2018

past director of the Gerard

Pioneer of the High Seas, French National Sea Center, France;

J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy and Professor of Marine

2017 Champion of the Ocean award, Monmouth University;

Policy at the University of Delaware.

2010 Laureate for the Elizabeth Haub Award for Environmental

An expert in the field of integrated coastal and ocean governance, she has authored over 100 publications in the field, and has forged international collaboration among all sectors of the international oceans community to advance the global

Diplomacy; 2010 honorary doctorate in maritime law by Korea Maritime University; 2007 US Coastal Zone Foundation Award; 2007 Elizabeth Mann Borgese Meerespreis (Prize of the Sea), Germany; and 2002 co-recipient of the Ocean and Coastal Stewardship Award (US).

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Dr. David Levy (’72) Dr. David H. Levy (’72) is arguably one of the most enthusiastic and famous amateur astronomers of our time. Although he has never taken a class in astronomy, he has written over three dozen books, contributes to three astronomy magazines

discoveries, the most famous being Shoemaker-Levy 9 that collided with Jupiter in 1994; a few hundred shared asteroid discoveries; an Emmy for the documentary Three Minutes to Impact; five honorary doctorates in science, including one from Acadia in 1995; and a PhD that combines astronomy and English Literature. Currently, he is the editor of the web magazine Sky’s Up! and has a monthly column, Skyward, in the local Vail Voice paper. Dr. Levy continues to hunt for comets and asteroids, and lectures worldwide. He lives in Vail, Arizona with his wife, Wendee Wallach-Levy.

and has appeared on television programs featured on the Discovery and the Science Channels. Among Dr. Levy’s accomplishments are 23 comet

For a full list of Acadia’s Honorary Degree and other distinguished award recipients please visit our Advancement website

Issue 5 | fall 2019


Alumni Profile

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon (’82) Dr. Elizabeth Cannon (’82) is president emerita and a professor

opportunities to excel, particularly in science, technology, engineering

of geomatics engineering at University of Calgary. She served as

and mathematics. She generously supports scholarships for women

president and vice-chancellor from July 2010 to December 2018.

in science and engineering (W.I.S.E.) at Acadia, as well as female

Dr. Cannon is a passionate advocate for the importance of higher

athletes on the University’s varsity swim team.

education in driving discovery and innovation, finding solutions for the world’s greatest challenges, and fostering the talents of the young women and men who will become our future leaders.

She is the recipient of many honours and awards, including the Johannes Kepler Award from the U.S. Institute of Navigation, the world’s most prestigious satellite navigation prize; NSERC’s E.W.R.

An expert in geomatics engineering, Dr. Cannon’s research has

Steacie Memorial Fellowship, one of Canada’s premier science and

been on the frontier of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) since

engineering prizes; the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers’

1984 in both academia and industry, and she has commercialized

Young Engineer Achievement Award; and, in 2013, the Gold Medal

technology to over 200 agencies worldwide. She has a long

Award from Engineers Canada.

history of working effectively with industry and the surrounding community, has served on numerous public and private sector boards, with national advisory groups and community committees, including positions as: past-president of the U.S.-based Institute of Navigation; board member and interim chair of the Canada Foundation for Innovation; and board member of the Royal

In 1998, she was selected as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40; in 2006, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network; and in 2009 was recognized with the ASTech Outstanding Contribution to Alberta Science and Technology Community award.

Society of Canada, the Alberta Ingenuity Fund, and the TELUS

Born and raised in PEI, Dr. Cannon was a member of Acadia’s

SPARK World of Science. She is currently Chair of the Canadian

swim team and graduated with a BSc in Math and a CAS in 1982,

Knowledge Research Network board of directors, member of the

continuing her education with a BSc, MSc and PhD in geomatics

board of directors of the Association of Universities and Colleges of

engineering from the University of Calgary, where she later became

Canada (AUCC), and is Vice-Chair of the U15 Group of Canadian

the eighth President and Vice-Chancellor. From 1997 to 2002, she


held the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and

Dr. Cannon is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the U.S. Institute of Navigation, and was inducted as a foreign associate into the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2011.

Engineering for the Prairie Region. In this capacity, she focused on raising public awareness about science and engineering careers for women. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa, Acadia University and Université de Montreal, and was the Acadia Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Throughout her career, Dr. Cannon has championed women in

recipient in 2014. She is married to geomatics engineering professor

non-traditional areas and worked to ensure that women receive

Gérard Lachapelle and has two children.


Issue 5 | fall 2019

Alumni Profile

Dr. William ‘Bill’ Parker (’56) William ‘Bill’ Parker (’56) was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec and

Now retired, Bill received an Honorary Doctorate from his alma

grew up in Drummondville, Quebec. He came to Acadia University

mater in 1998, and he and his wife Margaret Ann (Eaton, ’57) remain

in 1952, earning a BA in Economics over the next four years,

avid advocates for Acadia. Their children – Derek (’80), Heather

graduating as Life President of the Class of 1956. During that time,

(’81, ’83), David (’84); his brother Gerald (’59), his mother Elaine D.

he was Students’ Council Representative and Chairman of the

Rice (’24), his grandmother Lulu Bliss Dobson (1887) – as well other

Athletic Awards Committee. A fine athlete, Bill captained the varsity

family members, are all Acadia graduates. Their granddaughter is an

Axemen hockey team in his junior and senior years; played varsity

Acadia student at the present time.

golf; and was a member of the varsity track and field team that won two Maritime Intercollegiate Championships, in 1953 and 1955.

Bill says he feels fortunate to have participated in athletics under the mentorship of Fred ‘Major’ Kelly, Director of Athletics. “The

Following graduation, Bill returned to Quebec, working for American

Major coached all sports at Acadia and he had a huge impact on

Textile Ltd. in Drummondville, Quebec and then the Iron Ore

my life. Sportsmanship was most important; there was no time for

Company of Canada, Schefferville, Quebec. In 1963 he became

foolishness, and the value of teamwork was crucial. He was a strict

Acadia University’s first Director of Alumni Affairs and worked

disciplinarian and highly respected by me and all athletes.

closely with the Executive Committee of the Associated Alumni of Acadia University. That role expanded in 1969 to include Information Services and later, Development. Bill was appointed Vice-President External Relations in 1985 and was responsible for alumni activities, public affairs, community and government relations, special events and fundraising. He was involved in raising funds for the

“During my years at Acadia, I worked with five presidents: Dr. Kirkconnell (’64), Dr. Beveridge (’37), Dr. Sinclair, Dr. Perkin (’95) and Dr. Ogilvie (’63). I also worked with Chancellors H.P. McKeen, Dr. Charles B. Huggins (’20), Dr. Alex Colville (’75), and Dr. William Feindel (’39).

construction of several new buildings on campus (including the

“The most gratifying experience I had at Acadia was with our

War Memorial Gymnasium Extension and the Arena) and Academic

students and alumni, with whom I have maintained continuous

Scholarships. Bill is known, unofficially, as “Mr. Acadia” because of

contact and have established lifelong friendships.”

his dedicated role as Acadia’s Ambassador.

This article originally appeared in Voices of Acadia, Vol. I.

Issue 5 | fall 2019


Upcoming Events Annual Business Banquet


October 17, 2019

Homecoming Weekend


October 17-20, 2019

U SPORTS University Cup


March 12-15, 2020

Acadia Alumni Association AGM


May 9, 2020

Convocation Campus May 10-11, 2020


Annual Alumni Dinner


May 14, 2020

Summer Reunion


July 3-5, 2020

Annual Alumni Golf Tournament

New Minas

July 24, 2020

Issue 5 | fall 2019

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