Celebrating the University of Regina’s 45th Spring Convocation

News Release Release Date: May 27, 2019 1:30 p.m.

On June 5, 6, and 7, the University of Regina will celebrate its 45th annual Spring Convocation. As graduating students walk across the stage to receive degrees, diplomas and certificates, they will officially be welcomed into the University’s family of 75,000 alumni.

The ceremonies, being held at the Conexus Arts Centre, will include presentations of honorary degrees – the highest honour the University can bestow – to six deserving recipients. They include:

Barb Ryan – Honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) (June 5)
Ryan has raised her own four children – Erica, Jill, Steve and Jon – while caring for an extended family of refugees, immigrants and international students who have settled in Regina.

She has worked to welcome refugees and immigrants to Regina through the Regina Progress Club and the Open Door Society. Ryan has hosted two families from Africa and a refugee family of eight from Syria, helping them to settle in their new community. Among her many charitable activities, she is a member of a support group called Women to Women, where members meet monthly with newcomers to teach them a skill or craft.

Ryan has been recognized with the 2012 Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee Award, the 2016 Red Cross Humanitarian Award, the Canada 150 Award, and the Saskatchewan Volunteer Award.

Jon Ryan – Honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) (June 5)
Originally from Regina, Ryan played with the Sheldon-Williams Spartans and the University of Regina Rams. His career in professional football includes 10 years as the punter for Seattle Seahawks, and a Super Bowl championship in 2013. He signed with his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders in spring 2019.

Ryan is an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and also believes in giving back to his community. He founded the Gear Up with Jon Ryan Foundation to fill a gap that he identified in minor football in Regina. The foundation provides proper equipment for young tackle football players and more training for coaches to improve player safety in communities across Saskatchewan. He has also started the Bob Ryan Foundation, named after his father, which provides scholarships for University of Regina Rams players.

Renu Kapoor – Honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) (June 6)
Kapoor is a recognized volunteer in our community, having supported such organizations as Cultural Connections Regina, Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, SaskCulture, Regina Public Library, the YWCA of Regina, Health Care Excellence Awards, United Way of Regina and the Regina Airport Authority. She has also taken lead roles in several fundraising galas, including India Night, Champions for Mental Health, and Moving Forward Together.

She has been recognized with the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal, Diamond and Jubilee Medals, University of Regina President’s Community Award, YWCA Volunteer and the Year Award and the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal, among many others.

Eric Peterson – Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa (DFA) (June 6)
Born and raised in Indian Head Saskatchewan, Peterson was bitten by the acting bug while attending the University of Saskatchewan and left for England to pursue his passion. Upon returning to Canada and working on homegrown theatre projects he became a life-long advocate for the arts.

Peterson’s distinguished acting career includes co-authoring and performing in Billy Bishop Goes to War, a two-man musical dramatizing the life of Canadian World War I fighter pilot Billy Bishop. Peterson has performed on stage in countless theatres across Canada, at international festivals, at London’s West End and on Broadway. He has had lead roles in Street Legal and This is Wonderland, and is perhaps best known for his role on Corner Gas.

Gordon and Jill Rawlinson – Honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) (June 7)
Gordon and Jill were born and raised in Saskatchewan. Gordon is owner and CEO of Rawlco Radio, which has radio stations in Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary. Jill chairs the Lily Street Foundation (the Rawlinson family charitable foundation) that is the primary vehicle for their philanthropy.

As champions of health care in Saskatchewan, the Rawlinsons and Rawlco Radio established the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care at the Regina General Hospital. The Hospitals of Regina Foundation also receives ongoing financial support by the Rawlinsons and Rawlco Radio, as does St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. The Rawlinsons have provided financial support to the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert and recently became major donors to the new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford.

The Rawlinsons have long recognized the important role First Nations peoples play in Saskatchewan, and the future prosperity of our province. They established a support program and provided financial support for Aboriginal business students at the Edwards School of Business in Saskatoon. The Rawlinsons have also supported Aboriginal graduate business students, Indigenous Entrepreneurship, and the school of Journalism at the University of Regina.

As supporters of the arts in Saskatchewan, the Rawlinsons have provided substantial support to the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts in Prince Albert, the Dekker Centre in North Battleford and the Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon.

The couple are also major supporters of the Canadian Red Cross in Saskatchewan, and the United Way in Regina and Saskatoon.

Gordon is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan.

Note to media: To arrange an interview with honorary degree recipients, please contact Everett Dorma as noted above, or the recipients will be available each day at convocation prior to the ceremony commencing at 2:00 p.m. Further information will be provided prior to those dates.


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