Meet the University of Regina’s newest Honorary Degree recipients

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 6, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Honorary Degree recipients (L-r) Kenneth Levene, Timothy Hearn and Beverley Ann Busson.
Honorary Degree recipients (L-r) Kenneth Levene, Timothy Hearn and Beverley Ann Busson. Photos courtesy of Trevor Hopkin, Todd Korol and Craig Pulsifer.

An honorary degree is the highest recognition the University of Regina can bestow.

Three exceptional people will receive honorary doctorate degrees at the University of Regina’s 43rd Spring Convocation ceremonies, June 7-9 at the Conexus Arts Centre.

Let’s meet the recipients:

When businessperson and philanthropist Kenneth Levene learned that he was receiving an honorary degree, his first reaction was “Why me?” Since then he has come to see the honour as a family one.

“It not only honours me but also my mother and father and my grandparents and the influence they had on me. If my grandfather hadn’t left the old country, none of this would have happened,” he says.

His grandfather left Russia in 1911 for a better life in North America. After arriving in New York and working in a dry cleaning shop, he decided he could have a better life in Canada. He began by peddling dry goods and later bought a general store in Southey, Saskatchewan. In 1929 he moved to Regina and set up Crescent Furniture. After his untimely passing in 1943, his son took over the business.

Ken Levene earned business degrees at McGill University and Harvard and in 1962 he became the third generation operator of Crescent Furniture. He decided to close it in 1984.

In 2005, he made a $4-million donation to establish the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business.

Tim Hearn, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Imperial Oil Limited from 2002 to 2008, says growing up in Regina is a big reason for his success – and being presented with an Honorary Degree by the University of Regina.

“In accepting this award, for me it is truly an acknowledgement that much of my success in career and life directly emanates from my Saskatchewan roots and upbringing,” Hearn says.

Hearn graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree.

He joined Imperial Oil as a marketing representative and held a variety of positions during his career. He was vice president of Human Resources at

Imperial’s parent firm, Exxon Mobil, and then was president of Exxon's Asia-Pacific operations.

Since retiring, Hearn has served on a number of boards, including the C.D. Howe Institute, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Viterra. He is currently a director with ARC Resources and CGI Group.

Former RCMP Commissioner Beverley Ann Busson was in the first class of female RCMP members training in Regina in 1974. At the time, she says she was unaware that she was part of a group of “trailblazers for the next generations of female members.”

Her career culminated by being named the first female Commissioner of the RCMP in 2006. She says she was “surprised and humbled” when she found out she was receiving an honorary degree from the University of Regina.

“I have made it my life’s work to try to make a difference and in my journey had the opportunity to do it at many different roles within the RCMP.”
Busson says times have changed for the better.

“I take great pride in the number of female officers and leaders in the RCMP and how their roles are accepted without a blink. That is real progress – and how it should be."