Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Approximately 330 students walked across the stage and claimed their hard-earned degrees, today, as Lakehead University’s Orillia campus hosted its 2014 Convocation Ceremonies at Rotary Place.

This year, Lakehead conferred approximately 2,100 degrees to students at its Orillia and Thunder Bay campuses. In addition to lauding its graduating students, Lakehead’s Orillia Convocation is the annual occasion to confer honorary degrees, its Civitas Award, and alumni awards as it honours those who have contributed significantly to the University and our community.

“Convocation is a time-honoured tradition for graduates of all ages, and schools of all levels, around the world,” said Chancellor Derek Burney, who urged graduates to become proud ambassadors for Lakehead University. “It celebrates the success of academic achievement, a major foundation for whatever they choose to do in life.”

For the first time in the history of the Orillia campus, degrees were awarded to graduates of the Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science – Environmental Studies program.

Degrees were also be conferred to students who completed the Bachelor and Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science (HBASc, BASc) in other disciplines, Bachelor of Education (BEd), Honours Bachelor of Social Work (HBSW), and Honours Bachelor of Commerce (HBComm), and Bachelor of Administration (BAdmin) programs.

Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson explained that Convocation is a time for graduates to be celebrated by faculty, family, and friends.  “While we are extremely proud of what each of our graduates has achieved, we know that their potential is boundless and that they will enjoy many more triumphs in their lives,” said Dr. Stevenson.

“As we recognize the accomplishments of our students and honoured guests, today, we also look forward to next year, when we celebrate Lakehead University’s 50th anniversary and half a century of achievements,” added Dr. Stevenson.


Lakehead University grants an honorary degree to individuals who have accomplished extraordinary achievements and remarkable service, and who support the values of advanced learning and the pursuit of knowledge.

The Honourable Dr. Mary Anne Chambers, who delivered the commencement address to graduands, received an honorary Doctor of Laws. 

Dr. Chambers was elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament in 2003 and appointed to the Executive Council of Ontario where she served for four years, first as the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and subsequently as the Minister of Children and Youth Services. 

Dr. Chambers was a major supporter of Lakehead University’s Orillia campus during its initial stages. She has been recognized internationally as an active advocate for public education at all levels from pre-kindergarten to post-doctoral. 

Her contributions while in government included substantial improvements to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, non-repayable income-based tuition grants for college and university students and stronger legislation to better protect students through the Private Career Colleges Act. 


The Civitas Award, conferred annually to a community member who has made a significant contribution to the University, was awarded to Orillia naturalist, Bob Bowles.

An award-winning environmental consultant, writer, artist, nature photographer, educator, and naturalist, Bowles is known throughout Simcoe County and Muskoka regions for his exemplary ecological stewardship.

Bowles’ connection to Lakehead University goes back to 2006 – the summer preceding the opening of the downtown Orillia campus — when he was approached by biologist and Lakehead Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Nanda Kanavillil to help set up environmental research studies for students.

Among his many achievements, Bowles has founded Kids for Turtles Environmental Education, Friends of Scout Valley, and the Muskoka and Carden Field Naturalist groups. He also hosts the Rogers Cable TV series “Focus on Nature with Bob Bowles” and writes a weekly science and nature column for the Orillia Packet & Times.

Bowles is a member of the Community Relations Sub-committee of the Orillia Campus Advisory Committee and he is a frequent guest lecturer in programs such as Humanities 101.  

Past Civitas Award winners include: Will McGarvey (2013); Anderson Charters (2012); Paul Weber (2011); former mayor of Orillia, Ron Stevens (2010); Lloyd Dennis (2009); and Sue Mulcahy (2008).

Convocation 2014 also highlighted outstanding student achievements with the following honours and awards:


Awarded to the highest-ranking graduating student in the Honours Bachelor of Arts and Sciences and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree program. This year’s recipient was Katelyn Weel, (HBASc Environmental Sustainability).


Award given annually to the graduating students who have occupied positions of responsibility in student organizations and who, by their activities and achievements, have earned the gratitude of the University. This year’s recipient was Olivia Manovich (HBASc/BEd).


Award given for outstanding citizenship presented to the full-time student selected by her fellows, the faculty and administration as contributing most to the welfare of the university through student activities. This year’s recipient was Olivia Manovich (HBASc/BEd).


Lakehead Orillia Alumni Awards were awarded at the Chancellor’s Dinner, Friday evening, June 6. Award recipients included Scott Kress (HBOR/BSc ‘93), Dr. Gary Polonsky (BSc ‘77), and Eric McGoey (HBA ‘02).

Get Your Free Subscription! Delivered Straight to
Your Inbox.

Enter your email to receive updates from us. You can unsubscribe at any time.