The University of the Fraser Valley is presenting honorary doctorates to four Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their field and Canadian society.
Retired general and humanitarian Romeo Dallaire, filmmaker Andree Cazabon, teacher and LGBTQ activist James Chamberlain, and helicopter pilot and aviation entrepreneur Cathy Press will all be honored by UFV in a private ceremony on June 4.
Given the ongoing restrictions on large gatherings due to COVID-19, UFV will host a virtual Convocation celebration that premieres on Friday, June 18 at 7 pm. This event will highlight messages from each of the UFV’s honorary degree recipients.
James Chamberlain was an elementary school teacher for 27 years and a Faculty Associate for the Simon Fraser University Education program. He coordinated the Social Justice Program for the BC Teachers Federaton for four years, focusing on LGBTQ, anti-racism and anti-poverty issues, and was a vice principal and principal with the Vancouver School Board (2012-2019). He helped to spearhead the work of Gay and Lesbian Educators (GALE-B.C.) and later the Pride Education Network from 1992 to 2012. He focussed on SOGI curriculum development and professional development for teachers as well as political lobbying of education partners to embrace SOGI education over the decades. He successfully sued (along with others) the Surrey School Board over the banning of books about same-sex families in schools. The case lastet from 1997 to 2003 and went to Supreme Court of Canada. He helped develop 23 LGBTQ/SOGI school board policies between 2004 and 2012, and has worked on LGBTQ issues in education at the local and national levels. He currently volunteers with the Rainbow Refugee Society, which has brought a gay refugee to Canada from Africa and fundraised for another refugee from Africa who fled Uganda and is in Vancouver now. He also started a cohousing community in Vancouver.
Cathy Press is the Chief Executive Officer of Chinook Helicopters. Her leadership has facilitated the growth of Chinook Helicopters of Abbotsford into a world-class training unit, responsible for one quarter of all helicopter flight training in Canada. As the first female helicopter instructor in Canada, she rose through the ranks of the aviation world from office assistant to owner and CEO, and holds numerous professional qualifications nationally and internationally. She has been widely recognized for her work, winning numerous awards including the Flight Instructor Safety Award from the David Charles Abrahamson Memorial, the Back and Bevington Air Safety Award from the BC Aviation Council, the Established Business of the Year Award from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Innovation and Global Growth Award from the Bank of Montreal and the Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprise Magazine in 2017. Press contributes to public service through membership in the BC Aviation Council, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, the Helicopter Association of Canada, and the Aviation Leadership Foundation.
Roméo Dallaire is a Canadian humanitarian, author, statesman and retired senator and general. Dallaire served as Force Commander of UNAMIR, the ill-fated United Nations peacekeeping force for Rwanda between 1993 and 1994, and attempted to stop the genocide that was being waged by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi people and Hutu moderates. Dallaire founded The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative to help prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers. He is a senior fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and co-director of the Will to Intervene Project. Dallaire has written three books. Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda chronicles his tour as Force Commander of UNAMIR, during which he witnessed the Rwandan genocide. It won the 2003 Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing, and the 2004 Governor General’s Award for nonfiction. It discusses the phenomenon of child soldiers, and proposes solutions to eradicate it. Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD is Dallaire’s account of his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after his time in Rwanda. It was selected as one of the National Post’s top books of 2016.
Andrée Cazabon is the president and founder of Productions Cazabon, a bilingual film and television production company based in Toronto, Canada. She has demonstrated courage and creativity as she writes and directs films about important issues in Canada. Cazabon’s films have amassed over one million views on CBC-Newsworld, TVA, Canal D, Radio-Canada, and CBC Television. Her works have also been prominently featured at an array of prestigious film festivals. Her documentaries, Wards of the Crown and Family on the Edge, have each received the Best Social-Political Documentary prize at the Golden Sheaf Awards. Her film 3rd World Canada, set in the aftermath of the suicide of three parents, explores the impact of Third World world conditions on children in a remote Indigenous community.
Cazabon’s latest project, 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, is a national film series comprised of four short documentary films set in Canada and produced on the heels of the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Through her work Cazabon brings attention to significant social justice concerns within Canada.