KPU proud to award Janet Austin and George Melville with honorary doctor of laws

Wed, May 8, 2013


Janet AustinGeorge Melville
KPU will award Janet Austin and George Melville with honorary doctor of laws on May 30, during its spring convocation ceremony.

For immediate release

May 9, 2013

KPU proud to award Janet Austin and George Melville with honorary doctor of laws

(Metro Vancouver, BC) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will award Janet Austin, CEO of the Vancouver YWCA, and George Melville, accomplished restaurateur and philanthropist, with honorary doctor of laws on May 30, at its spring convocation ceremony.

Working within the not-for-profit sector for close to two decades, Austin remains committed 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. 

Recently, the YWCA, with Austin at its helm, established a partnership with KPU to offer senior students educational practicum placements in their Surrey school based youth programming (Welcome to My Life and Boys For Real). Prior to joining the YWCA of Vancouver Austin served as Executive Director of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland and as Director of Development Services for BC Housing.

As chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International, George Melville has proven himself as a successful and award winning restaurateur with more than $1 billion in sales. Melville credits much of his success to surrounding himself with the right team and that has always started with longtime business partner and friend Jim Treliving who he is partnered with in all of his major ventures. Melville also demonstrates his interest and concern for others through philanthropy by offering his time and financial resources to countless non-profit organizations assisting children and families, people living with disease, the improvement of our economy and of course the delivery of education. Melville began his career as an accountant in 1968 and exemplifies the values of hard work, determination and genuine compassion for others, all of which he utilizes with incredible humility.

“Kwantlen has been close to my heart since 2003 when I began to serve on the Board of Governors,” said Melville. “Providing meaningful and relevant education to anyone with the desire and passion to learn is so important to our communities, society as a whole and its economic growth. I take great pride in receiving an honorary PhD from KPU.”
“KPU is proud to recognize the extraordinary achievements of these two passionate, outstanding British Columbians,” said Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor of KPU. “Their efforts, while diverse, reflect positively upon our 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:


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