Honorary Degree Recipients

The University of Regina Act gives Senate the power to grant honorary degrees and Senate and Executive of Council joint authority to approve candidates. The Chancellor confers honorary degrees as recommended by the President who makes selections from the approved candidate list.

Past Honorary Degree Recipients (Chronologically) File (454KB)

Fall 2022 Honorary Degree Recipient

 

 

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RACHEL MIELKE, BAdmin’03, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Rachel is one of ours, having graduated from the Faculty of Business Administration in 2003. A notable alumni, she has continued to support the Faculty as a member of the Hill and Levene Schools’ Leaders Council, and the larger University of Regina community by generously funding several scholarships that empower young women, and through support of the University’s annual Inspiring Leadership Forum every year since its inception 13 years ago. Rachel’s generosity and activism extends far beyond the University, and she passionately works to recognize and empower women across Canada and around the world.

Rachel is well known for her leadership and entrepreneurial achievement as Founder & CEO of Hillberg & Berk, maker of jewelry. The company started from her kitchen table and was named to honour her great-grandmother, Hilda Bergman, and her dog, Berkeley. With fourteen stores across Canada, and global Ecommerce operations, Rachel has grown the H&B brand that continues to attract international attention and demand. Rachel’s business successes have included a showing at The Oscars, a deal on Dragon’s Den, partnerships with Olympic ice dance champion Tessa Virtue as well as model and activist Ashley Callingbull, and two custom design commissions for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Rachel has built a successful national brand with purpose and impact baked into the DNA. Since inception, H&B has donated millions in financial and product contributions to partner organizations who share the company’s mission to connect women to their power.

Rachel’s accolades and volunteer contributions over the years are impressive. Rachel was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for her volunteer work in 2012, was named to the Ernst and Young Class of Winning Women in 2015, was named one of XL's Canada's Top 40 under 40 in 2017, was named one of Women’s Executive Network Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016 and 2017 and received the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Celebration of Achievement Award in 2018. Rachel volunteers her time as an Honorary Captain of the Navy and on the national board of Dress for Success Canada. More recently, Rachel has been very open about her cervical cancer journey, in hopes that it might encourage other women to access healthcare and undergo regular pap testing. She further channels this passion into advocacy and philanthropy for medical innovation for women’s health through Women Leading Philanthropy in Saskatchewan. Rachel is married to her best friend, Zlatan, and is proud mom to three children.

 

Spring 2022 Honorary Degree Recipients

 

 

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COLETTE BOURGONJE, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Colette Bourgonje is a Canadian Paralympic athlete
of Métis heritage. One of Saskatchewan’s most decorated athletes, Colette does not shy away from competition. She attended many Para Sport competitions around the world competing in both summer and winter sports during her athletic career. Representing Canada in seven winter Paralympic Games in sit skiing and three summer Paralympic Games as a wheelchair racer, she has brought home medals of all three colours – gold, silver and bronze. Colette was not deterred from her ambition for athletics when she was in a life changing car accident in her final year of high school. She went on to be the first graduate from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Physical Education who used a wheelchair, and she worked as an elementary school teacher for many years in Saskatoon. In 2017, Colette Bourgonje School was opened in the growing Saskatoon Rosewood neighbourhood. Today, Colette resides on a farm near Prince Albert and continues to work as a substitute teacher and coaches cross country skiing. Ms. Bourgonje was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2019, and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. She never wavers when it comes to the importance of involvement in sports and physical activity, and continues to seek out and support young paraathletes in pursuit of their athletic dreams.

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BRIGITTE BAPTISTE, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Whether Brigitte Baptiste is speaking on environmental issues and biodiversity, representing the transgender voice for the rights of sexuality and other minorities, or combining the two, she is a role
model at the forefront of her profession. Brigitte’s passion for the preservation of land, conservation and the protection of endangered species in her home of Bogotá, Colombia has received attention from national and international governments, and Brigitte has become one of the world’s most influential environmental experts. She has brought a confident self to a country where she braved conservatism regarding sexual identity, transitioning in the 1990s at a time when the LGBTQ2S+ community was far less visible. Brigitte continues to be sought out for her views on emerging concepts such as “queer ecology” and “green capitalism”. Among her many achievements, Brigitte is a recipient of the Prince Claus Fund Award in 2018, the Fulbright Excellence Prize in 2018, the Exemplar Colombian Citizen Award in Environment in 2019, and was awarded a PhD Honoris Causa in Environmental Management from Unipaz (Instituto Universitario de la Paz) in Colombia in 2016. She served as Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, a world-renowned research center on biological resources from 2011 to 2019 and is currently the Chancellor of the University EAN, Colombia, a business school being transformed into a sustainability school under her guidance.

 

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 DR. SAQIB SHAHAB, Doctor of Science, honoris causa

Wide open spaces, a prairie relaxed pace, and clear blue skies greeted Dr. Saqib Shahab upon his arrival from Pakistan to Saskatchewan in 2001. Now a well-known figure as our provincial Chief Medical Health Officer, he has grown to love the warmth of Saskatchewan people and has made good use of his knit sweater vests and cardigans to brave the prairie cold. Graduating top of his class from Rawalpindi Medical College, he completed his internal medicine training in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow in Public Health and Preventive Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, having completed his training at the University of Alberta, and received a Masters of Public Health from John Hopkins University. As one of Canada’s longest serving chief medical health officers, Dr. Shahab leads with calm and confidence, and has been an exceptional leader in Saskatchewan’s public health response during the COVID-19 pandemic.