“Our candidates this year reflect a mix of local, national and international achievements,” said Cheryl Dick, the Chair of the Senate Honorary Degree Committee. “The Senate chose individuals who not only represent the best in their communities, but also people who reflect the spirit and focus of the University of Lethbridge.”
Included in the list are Canadian country music artist and Calgarian Paul Brandt; Cochrane-based blind mountaineer Ross Watson; Lethbridge residents and community leaders Ralph Himsl, educator, and Joan Stebbens, respected art curator; humanitarian Dr. Samantha Nutt; national University administrator and U of L alumnus Robert Best; refugee and immigration advocate Senator Mobina Jaffer; and Son Soubert, a Cambodian archaeologist and politician who supports orphanages in Cambodia.
Brief biographies are listed below.
Spring 2009 Convocation -- Thursday, May 28 and Friday, May 29, 2009
Robert Best, Ottawa, ON -- Doctor of Laws
A prominent and dedicated member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Robert Best (BASc 73)is a committed advocate for Canadian universities.
Ralph Himsl, Lethbridge, AB -- Doctor of Laws
A passionate educational leader and mentor, Ralph Himsl has spearheaded several initiatives that have enriched education and tolerance in Alberta.
Mobina Jaffer, Vancouver, BC -- Doctor of Laws
Lawyer and Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer has served in the cause of social justice and gender equality at local, national, and international levels.
Samantha Nutt, Toronto, ON -- Doctor of Laws
Dr. Samantha Nutt is dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to war-affected children across the globe and to advocating for children’s rights internationally.
Joan Stebbins, Lethbridge, AB -- Doctor of Fine Arts
One of Canada’s foremost curators, Joan Stebbins’ (BFA 79)commitment to the arts has brought visibility to artists from across the country and put Lethbridge on the national art map.
Ross Watson, Cochrane, AB -- Doctor of Laws
Inspirational blind mountaineer Ross Watson was the first blind person to climb Canada’s highest peak, (Mount Logan) and is actively involved in local and national committees.
Fall 2009 Convocation -- Saturday, October 17, 2009
Paul Brandt, Calgary, AB -- Doctor of Fine Arts
Award-winning singer/songwriter Paul Brandt works on behalf of several local and global humanitarian efforts.
Son Soubert, Phnom Penh, Cambodia -- Doctor of Laws
Educator, politician, and humanitarian Son Soubert runs homes for over 200 students and works to establish responsible politics in his home country of Cambodia.
Nominations are accepted from members of the University and broader community. To nominate an individual, contact the Senate office at the University of Lethbridge Senate at (403) 329-2482 or visit the Senate website at http://www.uleth.ca/sen
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2009 University of Lethbridge Honorary Degree Recipient Biographies
Robert Best -- Ottawa, ON
University of Lethbridge alumnus Bob Best (BASc 73)recently retired from his position as Vice President of National Affairs for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. In this role, he has been influential in shaping much of the advocacy on behalf of Canadian universities. His leadership and commitment to higher education have made him a highly respected and sought-after presenter and consultant on policy issues and government relations.
Paul Brandt -- Calgary, AB (Fall 2009 Convocation ceremony)
Calgarian Paul Brandt is the most-awarded Canadian country music artist in history. In addition to his musical talent, Paul is a registered nurse who practiced as a pediatric nurse at the Alberta Children’s hospital. He is a highly committed volunteer and philanthropist, working with groups such as the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, World Vision, and Centre Street Church in Calgary.
Ralph Himsl -- Lethbridge, AB
The retired Superintendent of the Catholic School District, Ralph Himsl has been described as a “Renaissance man”. His career in education was dedicated to serving others and challenging them to reach their full potential, whether they were students or other professional educators. Ralph initiated the ‘Blueprints’ process to reflect on the nature and spiritual needs of Catholic education.
Mobina Jaffer – Vancouver, BC
Mobina Jaffer began practicing law in British Columbia in 1978 and was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2001 by Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Mobina has extensive experience in refugee and immigration law, and has done much work in the areas of women’s rights, peace, and security. Mobina also has the distinction of being the first Indo-Canadian female lawyer in BC, the first African-born member of the Senate, and the first Muslim member of the Senate.
Samantha Nutt – Toronto, ON
Samantha Nutt is a Canadian physician with over a decade of experience working in war zones. In 1999, 29-year-old Samantha became the founder and executive director of War Child Canada. Her dedication to humanitarian work in war-ravaged nations has made positive change a reality in some of the most devastated and dangerous areas of the world. Samantha has an incredible ability to mobilize youth and has worked with students and teachers across Canada to foster awareness and activism.
Son Soubert -- Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Fall 2009 Convocation ceremony)
Son Soubert is currently a Member of the Constitutional Council of Cambodia and a Professor at the Faculty of Archaeology of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He has worked to establish responsible politics in Cambodia and has done extensive work to help children, including the establishment of two orphanages. In his political, academic, and humanitarian roles, Son has publically taken a stand against corruption and is an outstanding example of integrity and humility.
Joan Stebbins – Lethbridge, AB
One of Canada’s foremost curators of contemporary art, Joan Stebbins (BFA 79) has an outstanding record of scholarly achievement. More than 184 exhibition-related publications have come to fruition under her direction or mentorship as curator and director of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge from the 1980’s forward. Her dedication and expertise have established the SAAG as one of Canada’s leading contemporary art institutions.
Ross Watson – Cochrane, AB
An outdoor enthusiast for over 20 years, Ross Watson was the first blind climber to summit Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan, in the Yukon. Ross is a community leader and dynamic speaker who has made numerous radio and television appearances, drawing on his unique mountain climbing experiences and an uncompromising belief in the power of personal goals, dreams, and ambition.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173