UPEI to confer four honorary degrees at Convocation 2018

Recognizing exceptional leaders
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Photo: (L to R) William (Bill) LeClair, Anne Love, Anne Smith, and Wes MacAleer will receive honorary degrees at UPEI Convocation on May 12.

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 the University’s Convocation ceremonies on May 12, 2018.

Honorary degrees will be conferred upon William (Bill) LeClair, Anne Love (née Michael), J. Weston (Wes) MacAleer, and E. Anne Smith.

“Each of our recipients is a distinguished individual who has made a significant impact in their respective fields and their University community,” said President Abd-El-Aziz. “They are excellent role models for our graduates. By conferring them with honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, we acknowledge and thank them for their many contributions to society.”

The UPEI Senate approved the honorary graduands at a meeting earlier this year in accordance with the University’s policy that states 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 12, in the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre with the morning ceremony beginning at 10:00 am and the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 pm.

The 2018 honorary degree recipients from UPEI are as follows:

William (Bill) LeClair is an alumnus of UPEI, graduating in the University’s first class in 1970. He was president of the student union and was named life-president for the class of 1970 by his fellow students. Mr. LeClair was a varsity athlete during his time at Saint Dunstan’s University, one of the University’s two founding institutions, and later UPEI, playing men’s hockey.

In 2001, Mr. LeClair was named a distinguished alumnus by the UPEI Alumni Association. He has been a long-time volunteer with the Calgary Friends of UPEI, being the driving force behind a $1 million endowment to support Alberta students to attend UPEI. On top of his volunteer fundraising activities, Mr. LeClair created an award for a varsity athlete. He is a huge advocate of UPEI, recruiting students through his passion for his alma mater. That passion extends to his family; his daughter attended UPEI.

Anne (Michael) Love has spent her life contributing to her Island community. In 2001, she was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which is presented to groups and individuals whose voluntary contributions provide extraordinary help or care to people in the community. 

Mrs. Love is an avid supporter of post-secondary education and served as president of the University Women’s Group, an organization that raised money for scholarship funds, welcomed the spouses of new faculty members, and greatly contributed to campus social life by organizing many events. She often urged students to make volunteering part of their adult lives. She was a member of the UPEI Alumni Association Board, and she and her late husband, retired math professor Dr. Harry Love, established an endowment fund at UPEI to support an award to recognize student achievement in perpetuity. She was named a UPEI Founder in 2003, and Dr. Love was named a Founder in 2007—making them UPEI’s only Founders couple.

J. Weston (Wes) MacAleer is a graduate of Saint Dunstan’s University’s Class of 1966, and has served as a member of the UPEI Board of Governors, alumni representative on the UPEI Senate, and member of the UPEI Potential Within Campaign Steering Committee, which resulted in capital funding for the K.C. Irving building. Mr. MacAleer served for six years as the chair of the Nichola K. S. Goddard Foundation Fundraising Dinner, which supports an endowed scholarship at the University and a project for the UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering. For decades, he has personally supported a scholarship in memory of his brother, Noel, an engineering student who passed away while studying at UPEI. 

Mr. MacAleer moved to the Northwest Territories in the late 1960s, where he had an immense impact on Yellowknife and the surrounding region. He led the organization of the first-ever Arctic Winter Games, and he started a cable TV station, which was the most northerly station in the world and the first private broadcasting enterprise in the Northwest Territories. He and his wife, Connie, moved back to PEI in 1988. He has worked tirelessly for those who are in need in the community, province, and country. Mr. MacAleer’s contributions to the Island community have been recognized through numerous medals and awards, including the 2014 PEI Humanitarian of the Year.

E. Anne Smith is a proud Islander, successful business woman, respected community leader, tireless volunteer, beloved mother, mentor, and friend. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a high level of professionalism, hard work, and dedication, which earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues. 

After 10 years of administrative service to former Premier Alex Campbell and then to Leader of the Opposition Joseph Ghiz, Ms. Smith embarked on a career as an investment advisor. She was a trailblazer in a male-dominated profession and an inspiration and role model to many women who followed in her path. She became a Designated Certified Investment Manager and Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute, one of the highest honours in her field. She served on the UPEI Board of Governors from 1987 to 1995. Members of her family—sons Stephen and Andrew and grandsons Alex and Ben—are graduates of the University, and a granddaughter is a student in the Faculty of Nursing. In addition, Stephen received a UPEI Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.

Ms. Smith has given back to her community, locally, regionally, and nationally in countless ways, including currently as a volunteer with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. What is especially impressive is the wide range of educational, cultural, economic, and community organizations and boards through which she has served her fellow citizens. The community’s respect and admiration for Ms. Smith is rooted in her personal reputation as a woman of impeccable integrity, ethics, and honour.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

Krista Grant
UPEI Marketing and Communications
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