Richmond's Christine Brodie to receive honorary degree from KPU

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Richmond, B.C. – Christine Brodie has spent her entire professional career in Richmond helping at-risk children and youth. And before that, she supported children at risk in California and New York.

Prior to her retirement from the Richmond School District last year, Brodie supported students with autism, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities and various social and emotional issues. She found jobs for them, she placed them in appropriate programs, she connected them with community services and she provided a shoulder, an ear or a hand whenever anyone needed one.

But this spring, it’s Brodie whose hand will be out – to receive an honorary doctor of laws from KPU.

“Christine has a resolute belief in the potential of people,” says KPU president and vice-chancellor Alan Davis. “It’s our privilege to recognize in this way someone who has had such a positive impact on so many lives.”

Before she retired from the Richmond School District, Brodie worked as a district consultant and community outreach teacher. She was a founding member of the district’s community outreach service, which was established to engage the five per cent of Richmond children and youth who face barriers to attending school. Through her work, Brodie personally helped bring more than 300 students back into the public education system.

Brodie’s colleagues say part of her allure is her ability to reach and communicate with kids – a talent Brodie says comes naturally from her genuine interest in all people.

“People energize me,” she says. “Talking to them, getting to know them – I’m interested in everyone I see and meet. I trust and respect people and youth right away, and maybe that shows.”

Throughout her career, Brodie often assisted students beyond the K-12 system, too, and that’s when she discovered KPU.

“I’ve always considered KPU as a sort of ‘hidden jewel’ in the community,” says Brodie. “It gives people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to be successful.”

Brodie has used the university as a resource in her work, and referred many of her students to KPU. She lauds the university for its open access policy and values.

“These are kids who were all very smart but who never finished high school,” says Brodie. “KPU gives them a chance and an opportunity they may not get otherwise.”

Brodie is a longtime member of the KPU Foundation board of directors, and served as its chairperson from 2006-2011.

Brodie and fellow honorary degree recipients Baltej Dhillon and David Aisenstat will receive their awards at KPU’s spring convocation in May.

Dhillon is the Non Commissioned Officer in charge of the RCMP’s Federal and Serious Organized Crime intelligence unit. A KPU criminology alumnus who successfully lobbied to be the first RCMP member permitted to wear a turban, Dhillon showed unwavering courage in the face of opposition, intolerance and racism.

Aisenstat, who is president and CEO of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar chain, is well known for philanthropic efforts. He founded the Keg Spirit Foundation, which supports 300 Canadian charities, and personally climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to help raise funds for Free The Children.

Honorary degrees are awarded to those honouris causa 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.

KPU 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, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from over 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at


Caption: Former community outreach teacher Christine Brodie has spent her entire career assisting students who face challenges to their education. In May, she will be honoured for her dedication with an honorary doctorate degree from KPU.

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Hayley Woodin
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