Mike Harcourt and Poet Patrick Lane to Receive Honours at VIU Convocation Jan. 28-29

Former BC Premier Michael Harcourt (l-r), Alumna and PhD candidate Katelin Albert, and author Patrick Lane will be honoured at VIU Convocation ceremonies Jan. 28 and 29.

January 19, 2016 - 11:45am

Former Premier of BC Michael Harcourt, celebrated BC author and poet Patrick Lane, and accomplished VIU alumna and PhD candidate Katelin Albert will be awarded honourary credentials at VIU’s winter convocation ceremonies at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre January 28 and 29.

Patrick Lane – 2016 Honorary Doctorate of Letters: January 28, 2:30 pm

Internationally acclaimed poet Patrick Lane is considered by many scholars and critics as one of the finest poets of his generation. He has also excelled in the genres of fiction and memoir.

Lane’s life work spans more than 50 years, and he is an admired teacher, workshop leader, and supporter of emerging poets across North America.

Lane graduated from high school in Vernon and worked a number of challenging jobs in the logging industry in northern BC. A self-taught poet, Lane’s early poetry was influenced by working-class concerns. His style was widely praised for its brutal, personal honesty, and evolved to reflect a sense of wonder and spiritual awakening.

Lane and his wife, poet Lorna Crozier, moved to Victoria in 1991 to write and teach at the University of Victoria (UVic). Together, they co-edited and contributed to a collection of essays, Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast in 2001. This book and his memoir, There is a Season: A Memoir in a Garden, has been a source of strength for others recovering from various types of addiction.

Lane has served as Writer-in-Residence and taught at numerous universities and writing schools across Canada. He is an adjunct professor at UVic and frequently leads private writing retreats in Lake Cowichan for writers from across North America.

Lane’s Poems, New and Selected, earned the Governor General’s Award in 1978, along with awards for his fiction, non-fiction and poetry including the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2007.

Quote from Pamela Porter, poet and novelist: “What Patrick is doing in his teaching is nothing less than the moulding and shaping of Canadian literature, and his influence will be remembered long after he has left this Earth.”

Michael Harcourt – 2016 Honorary Doctorate of Laws: January 29, 2:30 pm

One of Canada’s leading proponents on planning for sustainability, Mike Harcourt is a passionate believer in the power of cities and communities to improve the human condition. A UBC alumnus, Harcourt served as BC’s Premier from 1991 to 1996 and Vancouver’s Mayor from 1980 to 1986. He was a Vancouver Alderman from 1972 to 1980.

Among his many career accomplishments, Harcourt shaped a vision for the City of Vancouver leading up to Expo 86; helped to establish BC’s Treaty Commission; introduced the Growth Strategies Act, which promoted regional sustainability; and permanently preserved the jointly shared ecosystem of the Tatshenshini River and Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.

Harcourt’s exemplary career as lawyer, community activist and politician has been honoured with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, Canadian Urban Institute’s Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Order of Canada.

Harcourt is currently chair of the Advisory Board for the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. In addition to acting as chairman of Quality Urban Energy Systems for Tomorrow, he is the lead faculty in The United Way's Public Policy Institute. In 2014, he became a member of Canada’s ECOFISCAL Commission, and AGE-WELL Board chair, for the national research and training network of university, industry and public sector partners aimed at helping older Canadians to maintain their independence, health and quality of life. 

Quote from Dr. David Witty, Provost and Vice-president Academic: “Mr. Harcourt is a passionate believer in the power of cities and communities to improve the human condition. His focus on sustainable development and conservation has played a significant role in promoting quality of life in BC.”

Katelin Albert – 2016 Distinguished Alumni – Early Achievement Award: January 28, 2:30 pm

Katelin Albert, who grew up in Powell River, graduated from VIU with a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction (Majors in Sociology and Psychology) in 2008. She went on to complete a Master’s degree in sociology at the University of Victoria, and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto.

Albert’s doctoral research focuses on the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a vaccine designed to prevent certain HPV related cancers. Examining how parents, adolescents and educators understand this vaccine in relation to adolescent health and sexual health, her research is supported by prestigious scholarships: a $40,000 doctoral award from the Social Science & Humanities Research Council and a $10,000 Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Albert’s teaching, research, and professional associations have garnered her provincial, national and international acclaim. She has two recent solo-authored publications, one in The Canadian Journal of Sociology and another in The American Sociologist. Both have resulted in national and international recognition, unprecedented for someone so early in their academic career.

Quote from VIU Sociology Professor Dr. Linda Derksen: “Katelin is an inspiration, and a reminder of why we work so very hard for student success at VIU. Katelin’s life after high school lacked focus and direction, but her time at VIU, coupled with her own inquisitiveness, her genuine interest in people, her ability to ask and pursue the big questions, have changed her life course for the better.”


Media Contact

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E: Communications@viu.ca

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