KPU awards honorary degrees to outstanding citizens

Thu, May 26, 2016

Metro Vancouver - A mathematician, a master brewer and a masterful mediator will receive honorary degrees from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) next week.

KPU’s annual spring convocation ceremonies May 31 to June 3 will see honorary degrees awarded to Kanwal Singh Neel, Brad McQuhae and Vince Ready. Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public.

Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, prominent people in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally or globally.

Kanwal Singh Neel

Retired Richmond mathematics educator Kanwal Singh Neel started his career as a math teacher in the Richmond School District and ended with Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. He has held various roles within the faculty, culminating with his appointment as associate director of professional programs.

Though “retired,” Neel continues to provide exceptional service to the educational community through his work with SFU’s Friends of Simon Tutoring Program, which trains university students as tutors for immigrant and refugee children.

“Kanwal has inspired hundreds of students and teachers throughout his career in education,” said KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “He demonstrates a passion and commitment to the success of all learners.”

Neel has developed a reputation for engaging his colleagues in reflective practice, and for designing learning experiences for his own students that are relevant and meaningful. He has shared his insight as a workshop presenter, author, software developer, textbook reviewer, consultant and host of the award-winning television series, Math Shop.

KPU will award Neel his degree on May 31.

Brad McQuhae

Former med student Brad McQuhae opened Newlands Systems, a leading manufacturer of brewing equipment in North America, in 1990. Since then, Newlands has grown from two employees to 150, and opened between 400 and 500 breweries.

So renowned in the industry, McQuhae is often asked to judge beer competitions, and recently returned from judging the World Beer Cup in Philadelphia, where he tasted about 70 different types of beer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day for several days.

In 2013, McQuhae identified the need to bring along the next generation of master brewers and became involved in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Diploma in Brewing and Brewery Operations. He was part of the original advisory council that helped shape the curriculum and he donated a $250,000 two-hectolitre pilot brew system so students would be able to train on industry-quality equipment.

“Brad has been such a staunch and active supporter of KPU’s Diploma in Brewing and Brewery Operations program since its onset,” said Dr. Elizabeth Worobec, dean of science and horticulture at KPU.

KPU will award McQuhae his degree on June 1.

Vince Ready

Vince Ready has been negotiating, mediating and arbitrating his way through the thorniest of labour disputes since 1965.

It’s this lifelong dedication to bringing peaceful resolutions to the most difficult of issues across the country that has earned him an honorary degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

Widely regarded as the foremost mediator and arbitrator in Canada, Ready has overseen more than 7,000 labour disputes. Interestingly, he began his work in 1965 when he became the representative for the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers in Canada.

He also worked as an organizer, staff representative, and troubleshooter for the United Steelworkers of America before starting his own private mediation-arbitration practice in 1982.

He has had a hand in resolving some of B.C.’s most notorious labour disputes, including the BC Transit strike in 2001; the BC Ferries labour action in 2008; and the teachers’ strike in 2014. In these and in many other cases, resolution was achieved as a result of Ready’s diplomacy and skill.

“Vince is truly a one-of-a-kind figure here in B.C.,” said KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “His dedication and passion to his field are not only inspiring, but unrivaled.”

Bob Davis, president of the Kwantlen Faculty Association, lauded Ready for his outstanding contributions to public sector labour relations in B.C.

“Bringing together parties and achieving resolution on tough bargaining issues and disputes is itself a daunting task, but doing so while earning and maintaining the trust and respect of both parties−the employers and the unions−is the hallmark of Mr. Ready’s success,” said Bob Davis.

KPU will award Ready his degree on June 1.

More information about KPU’s convocation ceremonies, including program times and photos of the honorary degree recipients, is available at

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at    

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Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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