Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Prince Edward Island, announced today that four exceptional leaders in their respective fields will be awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees at Convocation ceremonies on May 13, 2017.
Honorary degrees will be conferred upon Indigenous leader and Elder Ms. Judith Clark of York, PEI; business and community leader Mr. Stan MacPherson of Charlottetown; UPEI past-president and professor emeritus Dr. Elizabeth Epperly of Wolfville, Nova Scotia; and SDU alumnus and business owner Mr. Allan Curran of Bay Shore, New York.
“We are so excited to honour these distinguished individuals who have contributed so much to society. Each honorary degree recipient epitomizes success in their field, as well as service to their communities,” said President Abd-El-Aziz. “What makes this year very special is that each recipient has distinct and ongoing ties with the University. As our graduates begin to chart their own path as global citizens, they will be inspired by the stories of how our honorary graduands have made their mark.”
The University’s Senate approved the honorary graduands at a meeting earlier this year in accordance with University policy that states that honorary doctorates of laws will be presented “to individuals who display the highest levels of achievement in public and community service.”
The Convocation ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 13 in the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre with the first ceremony beginning at 10:00 am and the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 pm. Each ceremony will be broadcast live on Eastlink TV and at upei.ca/live.
Elder Judith Clark
Judy Clark is a Mi’kmaq woman from Epekwitk and a member of Abegweit First Nation. She has served as the president for the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI for five terms since 2008, and prior to that as vice-president. In this volunteer position, Ms. Clark has raised the profile of the organization and proven to be a strong advocate for the interests of Aboriginal families, particularly in reducing violence against Aboriginal women and girls. She has been involved in honouring the missing and murdered Indigenous women through the Sisters in Spirit national campaign since its inception. This past summer, Ms. Clark facilitated eight study sessions at the Confederation Centre Library for the public to read and understand the summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As a respected Mi’kmaq Elder, Ms. Clark is often called upon for her spiritual support and to share her teachings with her community members. She holds a Certificate in Conflict Resolution Studies from UPEI and serves as a Circle Keeper with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI Justice Program, on the RCMP Commissioner’s National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and on the RCMP–PEI Commanding Officer’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. She is a long-time supporter of UPEI and, since 2001, has served as Knowledge Keeper for the Faculty of Education, guest lecturing many classes to provide insights and context on a range of Indigenous issues. She has also made herself available to UPEI in an advisory role to both senior administration and the Mawi’omi Aboriginal Student Centre.
Mr. F. Allan Curran
Allan Curran is President of Royal Products, a manufacturer of precision metalworking performance accessories based in Hauppauge, New York. A native of Brooklyn, NY but with strong roots on Prince Edward Island, he followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by attending UPEI’s founding institution Saint Dunstan’s University in 1958 to study commerce. After graduating in 1962, he returned to New York to apprentice as a machinist at his father’s manufacturing company where he gained hands-on understanding of the business. After being drafted in 1965, Mr. Curran served for two years in the US military, later returning to the family business where he eventually assumed the role of President. A long-time member of the Association for Manufacturing Technology, he also chaired its Government Relations Committee. He is a caring, compassionate, and thoughtful business owner who is recognized for putting his staff and their welfare well above himself. Although he has travelled the globe to grow his company, Mr. Curran has a special place in his heart for PEI and is incredibly proud of his time spent both on the Island and at the University. He passionately believes that the UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering will help create wealth and grow the PEI economy. His desire in guiding the new School is a true testament to his yearning to give back.
Dr. Elizabeth Epperly
Dr. Elizabeth "Betsy" Epperly has made significant contributions to the University and to PEI throughout her career. She was the first student to register at UPEI after its formation in 1969, coming from Virginia because of her love for the writing of L.M. Montgomery. An English professor for 30 years, she spent 22 of those at UPEI where she was the founding chair of the L.M. Montgomery Institute and served as the fourth (and first female) president. Her scholarly works on Montgomery, including several books and large public exhibitions, have helped academics and the general public gain a more robust understanding of the rich and complex life of our province’s most famous author; the biennial international Montgomery conferences she began at UPEI in 1994 have been key in establishing the world-wide field of Montgomery studies. She has demonstrated strong leadership and commitment, and she continues to support and to inspire others.
Mr. Stan H. MacPherson, FCPA, FCA
Stan MacPherson has been an active community and business leader in our province for over 40 years. His involvement in Island life has touched many segments of society including tourism, commerce, government, charity, agriculture, finance, and education. His demeanour and ability to work with such a diverse group of people and organizations is well known and respected within his profession and across the Island. Throughout his more than thirty-five years as Partner with MacPherson Roche Smith, Chartered Professional Accountants and Management Advisors, he has acted as a mentor for many young professionals, including having helped train in excess of 50 professional accountants (most of whom were business graduates from UPEI). He has been involved as an owner-manager in several business endeavours over the course of his career and instrumental in economic development initiatives on PEI through his leadership roles with key organizations such as the Charlottetown Civic Centre (now Eastlink Centre), Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, and the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. Mr. MacPherson has also been involved in a number of community, educational, and charitable activities, and has held volunteer leadership positions with Holland College, United Way of Canada, IWK, QEH, and CHANCES Family Centre. His time and efforts in these roles are boundless and he has received several recognition awards for his contributions to these important causes.