KPU recognizes Canadian Olympic legend Cathy Priestner Allinger with Honorary Doctor of Laws

Thu, Oct 7, 2010


Cathy Priestner Allinger
Dr. Cathy Priestner Allinger (left), recipient of KPU's 2010
Honourary Doctor of Laws degree, pictured with Arvinder S. Bubber, KPU chancellor (right).


For immediate release

October 8, 2010

KPU recognizes Canadian Olympic legend Cathy Priestner Allinger with Honourary Doctor of Laws

(METRO VANCOUVER, B.C.) Last February, Canadians from coast to coast basked in the glow of their most successful Winter Olympic Games ever—both in terms how well the games were run as well as in the unprecedented success of Canadian athletes. Few Canadians can claim to have played a bigger role in these twin successes than Cathy Priestner Allinger, who was recognized with an Honourary Doctor of Laws from KPU at fall convocation on October 7, 2010.

“We’re incredibly proud to be able to recognize her many and varied accomplishments, both as an athlete and for the central role she played in the success of the Vancouver Olympics”, says David Atkinson, president and vice-chancellor of KPU. “She’s truly an inspirational figure, and a great role model for our graduates.”

“I’m truly honoured to be receiving this recognition from KPU,” says Priestner Allinger. “I’ve always believed that education plays an incredibly important role in developing our society. When I talk to sport leaders and teachers, I tell them never to underestimate the influence they have on another individual, especially a young person.”

In accepting her doctorate, Priestner Allinger advises graduates to keep four values— excellence, creativity, teamwork, and passion—“at the forefront of everything you do.” She credits these values for her success at the Olympics, “They are what makes the difference between what is and what can be,” she says. “No one ever expected the Vancouver Olympics to bring the nation together, to become ‘Canada’s Games’ or for this Olympics to be the most successful ever for Canada’s athletes. You have to be gutsy and take risks; strive for excellence, be creative in your approach to problem-solving, surround yourself with a great team, and have a passion for what you do.”

Priestner Allinger also reminds graduates to, “Plan well and be true to who you are—get yourself into roles that work for you. Remember to maintain balance and flexibility in your life. And most importantly, trust in yourself.”

Priestner Allinger has had a storied career as an Olympic athlete, coach, broadcaster, and, most recently, as the executive vice-president of Sport and Games Operations at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. Priestner Allinger was also the lead author of Own the Podium, the $110-million initiative that many people credit for the success of Canadian athletes in Vancouver.

A member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, Priestner Allinger brought home a silver medal from the 500-meter speed skating event at the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, becoming the first ever Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in speed skating and pioneering the path followed by some of Canada’s greatest athletes including Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes.

John Furlong, the chief executive officer of VANOC, who nominated Priestner Allinger for the honourary degree, describes her as, “a role model for all athletes and women in sport, a dedicated champion of sport and education, and a remarkable Canadian.”

KPU honourary degrees are to individuals awarded honouris causa (for the sake of honour) in recognition of distinguished achievements or outstanding service to the public.

As a leader in innovative and interdisciplinary education, KPU offers all learners, regardless of background and preparation, opportunities to achieve the highest standards of academic performance. For more information, visit:

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For more information about this story, contact:
Teresa McLeod
Scholarships & Awards Coordinator, Student Awards and Financial Assistance
Tel: 604.599.2278


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