KPU to honour four outstanding British Columbians with honorary degrees in 2013

Sun, Jan 6, 2013

For immediate release

January 7, 2013

KPU to honour four outstanding British Columbians with honorary degrees in 2013

(Metro Vancouver, BC) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is thrilled to announce its selection of four distinguished British Columbians who will receive honorary doctor of laws (honoris causa) at spring convocation this year. KPU’s list of honorary doctorates includes champions in women’s soccer, social activism, nonprofit organizations, and sustainable food production.

Captain of the Canadian women’s soccer team, Christine Sinclair, who was also named Canadian Athlete of the Year, and Canadian Female Athlete of the Year, is one of the game’s most prolific scorers and a talisman for our country. “I’m drawn to Kwantlen’s mission statement and appreciate the sense of commitment the university invests to build strong relationships among students, alumni and the community,” said Sinclair. “I am excited to accept this honorary degree, and will be very honoured to be part of the extended Kwantlen team, and that sense of team is indeed, very important to me.” Leading by example, Sinclair is universally respected by opponents, and her modesty, drive, and passion are hallmarks of her on-field persona. 

For over 40 years, Charan Gill, author, entrepreneur, and founder of PICS, Progressive Intercultural Community Services, has initiated, operated and successfully run a variety of programs for immigrant youth, women, seniors and farm workers. “I am delighted to know that KPU is bestowing upon me the honorary doctor of laws degree in recognition of my community development work. It gives me great pleasure to accept this honour,” said Gill. “This encourages me to continue our work for the community to ensure intercultural understanding and acceptance so we can all live with peace and harmony.”  

Currently CEO of the Vancouver YWCA, Janet Austin has committed herself to achieving women’s equality and improving the lives of women and their families. “I am deeply honoured to be recognized by Kwantlen Polytechnic University – an institution I greatly admire for its profound commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability and to integrating academic learning with community engagement and civic responsibility,” said Austin. Through the YWCA Austin has emphasized social and community development including early learning and care for children, social housing, and advocacy for mothers without legal status. 

Susan Davidson has been at the forefront of the Lower Mainland’s organic agriculture sector for over 20 years. An entrepreneur, fundraiser, leader in her community and founder of Glorious Organics Cooperative, Davidson’s major priority has been to grow the capacity of the organic agriculture sector in support of small-scale farms using sustainable practices. “I am so honoured to receive such distinguished recognition,” said Davidson. “Working together in education-industry-community partnerships is critical to deepening the resilient networks we need to feed our bodies and souls in these threatening times.” 

“KPU is proud to recognize the diverse and extraordinary achievements of these four outstanding British Columbians,” said Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor of KPU. “Our university recognizes these individuals for their distinguished, significant contributions and accomplishments. Their excellence continues to reflect positively upon their communities and KPU.”

Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa (for the sake of honour) in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished: scholars, creative artists, public servants, persons prominent in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally, or globally. Members of the community-at-large are invited to nominate honorary degree candidates.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from more than 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Please visit:


For more information on KPU contact: 
Cara Johnson
Media Specialist
Tel: 604.598.6196