University of the Fraser Valley

UFV’s 2024 Honorary Degree recipients include T’ít’elem Spáth Eddie Gardner, Marion Keys, Michelle Frances Good, Nick Taylor

UFV’s 2024 Honorary Degree recipients include T’ít’elem Spáth Eddie Gardner, Marion Keys, Michelle Frances Good, Nick Taylor

The University of the Fraser Valley will present honorary degrees to four exceptional people at next week’s Convocation ceremonies.

They include T’ít’elem Spáth Eddie Gardner, a lifelong champion of Indigenous rights and environmental sustainability; Marion Keys, a passionate advocate for social justice and community collaboration; Michelle Frances Good, a tireless proponent for meaningful decolonization and reconciliation; and Nick Taylor, a professional golfer who strongly believes in giving back to the community he calls home.

Convocation ceremonies are being held over three days on the UFV Abbotsford campus. Gardner will receive his honorary degree on June 11 at the 9:30 am ceremony, and Keys will receive hers at the 2:30 pm ceremony. Good will be recognized June 12 in a ceremony that begins at 2:30 pm. Taylor, who is scheduled to compete in the U.S. Open tournament in North Carolina, will appear by video during a June 13 ceremony that begins at 9:30 am.


T’ít’elem Spáth Eddie Gardner, Doctor of Laws
Throughout his life, T’ít’elem Spáth Eddie Gardner has been a distinguished leader, a tenacious and wise champion for Indigenous rights and title and environmental sustainability, and an inspiring mentor for many.

His work reflects the core values that the University of the Fraser Valley stands for and his personal and professional standards serve to inspire students, faculty, staff, alumni, and surrounding communities. His multifaceted contributions as a researcher, scholar, creative artist, and performer have earned him respect and admiration.

Over the years, Eddie (BA ’72, University of Prince Edward Island) has served a variety of federal, provincial, and First Nations governments and private sector agencies across Canada, designing, coordinating, directing, and delivering a broad range of services and programs from an Indigenous world view. He has been a key organizer of many conferences addressing the legacy of residential schools and played a key role in providing invaluable support to the schools’ survivors — focusing on their resiliency and ability to overcome their trauma and begin a new vision for their future.

As a Skwah First Nation Councillor, Eddie concentrates on land and fish habitat restoration, economic development and governance based on inherent rights to self-determination, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

Eddie earned a certificate of Intermediate fluency in Halq’eméylem and is passionate about bringing the language alive in the community. He is a founding member of Éy St’elmexw St’elt’ílém — Good Medicine Songs, a group that creates lyrics in Halq’eméylem and English, a dynamic musical expression of Stó:lō culture and traditions. This fosters cross-cultural understanding, and inspires collaborative action to restore, preserve and conserve ecosystem services in S’ólh Téméxw — Stó:lō Land.

Eddie is a respected Elder and Pelólxw Tribe leader. He is well known for conducting sweat lodge ceremonies, making them available to people from all backgrounds who respect the protocols. He generously shares his knowledge of Stó:lō culture with the UFV community and beyond. He is an Indigenous Advisor to the School of Social Work and Human Services, honorary UFV Alumni member, President of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance, and sought-after speaker and master of ceremonies.

As a UFV Elder-in-Residence, Eddie is instrumental in guiding and mentoring younger generations, passing down integral aspects of Indigenous culture, wisdom, and traditions, while making UFV a welcoming and inclusive environment for Indigenous students from across the Fraser Valley. He has always embodied distinguished and visionary leadership. His dedication and generous contributions have not only enriched our society, but also significantly improved the quality of life for the Indigenous community and those around him. Eddie’s consistent engagement with the UFV community mirrors a passion for his people and the land that is both admirable and contagious. His efforts have been pivotal in bridging the gap between Indigenous communities and the university, fostering student success and cross-cultural enrichment.


Marion Keys, Doctor of Laws
Engaging Learners. Transforming Lives. Building Community. It’s rare to find someone who embodies all pillars of the University of the Fraser Valley’s mission. But if anyone does, it’s Marion Keys. And if an issue arises connected to social justice, community collaboration, or political movement, chances are good Marion is involved.

Marion’s contributions to everyone and everything around her demonstrate a strong dedication to the development and well-being of the Abbotsford community, emphasizing inclusive growth and active civic engagement.

Recognized for her sustained involvement in the local community, Marion was part of a team that led the formation of Abbotsford First Electors Society (AFES) in 2016 with the mission to involve residents in governmental processes and to support council candidates from diverse backgrounds. The organization has fostered a community that grows along positive and inclusive lines, a goal to which Marion has dedicated herself. The results? In 2022, she served as president, financial agent, and campaign manager, with an election cycle that resulted in gender parity of councillors for the first time on Abbotsford city council and more diverse candidates elected.

Marion has also been a board member of the Maplewood Care Society and has been an organizer for the Holmberg Memorial Golf Classic, which supports the Abbotsford Hospice Society. During that time, she has helped raise millions for the Abbotsford Hospice to build Holmberg House.

As an active member of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, Marion was a founder of the not-for-profit committee — a key participant in a joint Chamber/UFV report: The Business of Doing Good, which measured the economic impact of the not-for-profit sector in Abbotsford. In 2022, Marion was awarded the Platinum Queen’s Jubilee medal of community service. She was also awarded — not once, but twice — the Paul Harris award for her work with Rotary International. And Marion is the recently elected President of the Abbotsford-Sumas Rotary Club, an organization that plays an important role in assisting in community success on youth, literacy, and health matters.

She is an indefatigable volunteer, community booster, effective citizen, and agent for change. She is the life of the community, a true grassroots champion who emphasizes the importance of participation in the electoral process. She has empowered diverse groups to use their voices in making a difference.

Keys is a strong believer in the role of teamwork in making a difference. She has consistently demonstrated the University of the Fraser Valley’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life of its communities. She is someone who believes the term “selfless” should not precede service, as service is inherently selfless. Keys has wholly contributed to making Abbotsford into what it is today.


Michelle Frances Good, Doctor of Letters
Michelle Frances Good is a changemaker, a woman who uses her voice and her words to stand up to injustice, a tireless advocate for meaningful decolonization and reconciliation; she is a fierce truth teller with a disarming sense of humour, an eloquent communicator who relates to students with kindness, and a visionary leader whose sense of hope is deep and reflective of the historical resiliency of Indigenous communities.

A member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation (Saskatchewan), which is situated on Treaty 6 land, Good (LLB ’99, MFA ’14, UBC) is a community activist, a lawyer, and an award-winning author who has established herself as a transformative and accessible leader, sharing with everyone her hope for the future, her values, and her way of being in the world.

After working for Indigenous organizations for 25 years, she obtained a law degree and advocated for residential school survivors for over 14 years. Good earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC) while still practising law and managing her own law firm. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada, and her poetry was included on two lists of the best Canadian poetry in 2016 and 2017.

Good tells the stories of residential school survivors — not specific ones, but of the collective experience of tens of thousands of young Indigenous children who were taken from their families over decades. Five Little Indians, her first novel, won numerous awards, including the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Her newest work, Truth Telling: Seven Conversations about Indigenous life in Canada was released in May 2023 and was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Balsillie Prize for Public Policy Writing.

Good has been described as a bright light in a dark world. Her works and her wisdom are a guide towards actual decolonization and meaningful reconciliation.

At a time when despair and cynicism are high, when it is difficult and challenging to reckon with the pain and suffering experienced by people around the world, voices like Good’s are needed more than ever. She is an individual who strives to build community and to encourage each of us to build better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this world.


Nick Taylor, Doctor of Laws
Anyone who hits the links in the Fraser Valley knows who Nick Taylor is. And while he’s a familiar name on the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) Tour, he is just as well known for his mentorship of young players and his philanthropic support of UFV students and local community service organizations.

After graduating from Abbotsford’s Yale Secondary School — where he and his teammates won back-to-back provincial golf championships — Nick earned a degree in Economics at Washington University, where he was ranked as the world’s top amateur golfer and received the 2010 Ben Hogan Award as the best college golfer in the United States.

Nick turned pro in 2010, shaping his game through the smaller PGA Tour Canada and Tour before earning a spot on the PGA Tour in 2014. Nick has won on the PGA Tour four times — capped by a 72-foot putt for his historic win at the 2023 Canadian Open — becoming the first Canadian to win our national championship in 69 years.

While Nick is clearly a champion on the golf course, he has also stepped into the role of mentor to young golfers, and as ambassador to causes that are important to him.

Along with his wife, Andie (a UFV alumna, BSW ’12), Nick established the Nick Taylor Charity Classic golf tournament in 2017 to support UFV and local social service agencies. To date, more than $1 million has been raised for UFV scholarships, plus the UFV Student Union Food Bank, Archway Community Services, 27blue, the Starfish Backpack program, Holmberg House, and Chilliwack Community Services.

Through the tournament, the Nick and Andie Taylor Endowment Leadership Award was established at UFV — one of the first endowed scholarships for UFV student-athletes. And while each charity supported by the tournament benefits financially, the activity also inspires others to become donors and work together to promote and support important causes. This includes the establishment of 10 additional endowed scholarships at UFV for members of the golf team.

When the COVID pandemic spread in 2020, Nick’s tournament took a social-distance approach while raising $40,000 for the UFV Student Union Food Bank, helping many students with food insecurity, which escalated dramatically during the pandemic.

He returns to his hometown of Abbotsford as often as he can, recognizing the pivotal role it has played in where he is today.