The University of Windsor will award honorary degrees to eight individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of social justice, acting, community health, politics, and meteorology, during the University’s 103rd Convocation ceremonies, June 16 through 19.
Receiving honorary degrees are:
- Melissa McCormick, motivational speaker and bestselling author of The Queen’s Daughter;
- David Phillips, O.C. (BA 1966), senior climatologist for Environment Canada;
- Ellen-Ray Hennessey (BFA 1981), actress and voice acting teacher and coach;
- Ernie Eves, 23rd Premier of Ontario;
- Martin Girash (BSc. 1965, MA 1968, PhD 1973), former chair of UWindsor Board of Governors, former president and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital;
- John Manley, P.C., O.C., former Liberal Member of Parliament (Ottawa South) and Deputy Prime Minister;
- Cathy Crowe, R.N., nurse, educator and social activist specializing in advocacy for the homeless;
- James Lockyer, (LLD Assumption 2004), social justice activist and founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.
Melissa McCormick will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., June 16, session of Convocation. McCormick is a motivational speaker and bestselling author of The Queen’s Daughter, recounting her survival of the most publicized case of sexual assault in Detroit history, which took place when she was a teenager.
Among other community contributions, McCormick has been president and a member of the Women’s Economic Forum; a board member at the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre; a member of Windsor Women Making a Difference; co-founded the Windsor Essex Literacy Leadership Student Program; and is current chair of Windsor’s Woman of the Year Award.
She has been a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow; has received the Women’s Economic Forum Sparkplug Award; the ATHENA Leadership Award; the Government of Canada Victim Support Services Award; and the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) Walter Hadden Literacy Award.
David Phillips will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., June 16, session of Convocation. Phillips has been employed with Environment Canada’s weather service for more than 40 years. His work activities relate to the study of the climate of Canada and to promoting awareness and understanding of meteorology. He has published widely on the subject of weather and is the originator of the Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar, the most popular calendar sold in Canada.
He has received the Patterson Medal for Distinguished Service to Meteorology in Canada; the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada; the Queen Elizabeth Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals; and has twice received the Public Service Merit Award. In 2001, Phillips was named to the Order of Canada.
Ellen-Ray Hennessey will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., June 17, session of Convocation. Hennessey has more than 30 years of experience as a voice, stage, and on-camera actress and coach. She has created workshops for training in the U.S., Canada, and abroad, with many of her students going on to land major industry animation roles.
She has received a Harold Award; both a Ken MacDougal Award and Pauline McGibbon Award for Best Director; and a Gemini, Jessie, and six Dora Award nominations for best actress.
She is a board member of Theatre Ontario; and among other initiatives is involved in Open Hearts Toronto; Buddies in Bad Times; Fourth Line Theatre; the Darden Theatre; and the Open Book Project.
Ernie Eves will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., June 17, session of Convocation. Eves was sworn in as Ontario’s Premier on April 15, 2002, following career in the Ontario legislature of more than 20 years.
Prior to becoming Premier, Eves, a Windsor native, served as deputy premier and Minister of Finance from 1995 to 2001. As Minister of Finance he tabled three successive balanced budgets. He oversaw the operation of the province’s $20 billion SuperBuild Corporation and managed the privatization of Highway 407. As well, Eves initiated a multi-billion dollar investment in research and development through public-private partnerships, which included the post-secondary sector.
Prior to his election in 1981, Eves was an active member of the business community in Parry Sound and a partner in the law firm of Green and Eves. Today he serves as an advisor, consultant or board member for several firms and dedicates himself to such charitable interests as Special Olympics Canada; WildAid; and serves as chair of the Justin Eves Foundation. The organization was founded by Eves in honour of his late son and grants scholarships and bursaries to learning disabled and disadvantaged young people to assist them in achieving a post-secondary education.
Martin Girash will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., Thursday, June 18, session of Convocation. Dr. Girash has been an active friend and supporter of the University of Windsor and served in various capacities on its Board of Governors, including in the role of chair. He retired as president of Windsor Regional Hospital in 2007, following a long career at the hospital where he had served in various capacities since 1971.
He taught at the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and Assumption College Catholic High School, and has lent his expertise to a number of community organizations, including the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic; Hospice of Windsor and Essex County; and the Teen Health Centre.
Girash has served on the boards of the Windsor Men’s Forum; the Windsor Family Forum; the Child Abuse Council of Windsor/Essex; Ontario Association of Children’s Mental Health Centres; and Big Brothers of Windsor/Essex.
Among other honours, he has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; the Paul Vasey Spirit of Children Award from Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services; SWOMEN Advancement of Medical Education Award; and University of Windsor’s Clark Award.
The Honorable John Manley will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., Thursday, June 18, session of Convocation. Manley is a former deputy prime minister of Canada, first elected to Parliament in 1988.
He served as minister in the portfolios of Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Finance. Following 9/11, he chaired a special cabinet committee on public security and anti-terrorism and served as counterpart of Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.
Since leaving government, Manley has continued to be active in public policy as a media commentator, speaker and advisor. As an Officer of the Order of Canada, he serves on the boards of several publicly traded companies and is active in the not-for-profit sector. He is currently President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
Cathy Crowe will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., Friday, June 19, session of Convocation. She was a noted Toronto “street nurse” with the Nursing Outreach Program, Central Toronto Community Health Centres, and co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee in 1998 to bring attention to the plight of the homeless, where she served as its Executive Director from 2009 to 2012. The TDRC has promoted the notion of the One Percent Solution which calls for each level of government to commit an additional one percent of their budget to affordable social housing.
She has been named a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow; received NOW Magazine’s Best Homeless Advocate award; the Clinical Excellence in Community Health Nursing Award; and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Award of Merit.
James Lockyer will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., Friday, June 19, session of Convocation. He is a former member of UWindsor’s Faculty of Law and is a founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. In that capacity he has been involved in such high profile wrongful conviction cases as those of Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, and Steven Truscott.
Lockyer has been a criminal lawyer for 37 years and is a partner in the Toronto office of Lockyer Campbell Posner. He is a member of both the Ontario Bar and the Bar in England and has received an honorary doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada among others. He has received both the Howard Society’s Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service and the Award for Justice from the Advocates Society.