You are now in the main content area

Laurentian honours four distinguished Canadians for improving lives and communities

Nurse, Indigenous educator, noted architect, and dedicated philanthropist to receive Honorary Doctorates at 2017 Spring Convocation

Laurentian University will award honorary doctorates to four distinguished Canadians during its 2017 Spring Convocation ceremonies in Sudbury. This year’s recipients have dedicated themselves to helping people and improving their communities through the fields of healthcare, education, architecture, and law.

“The honorary doctorate recipients this spring have contributed to the betterment of society through their wisdom, dedication, and commitment,” said Dominic Giroux, President and Vice Chancellor, Laurentian University.  “Their selfless contributions and achievements have touched the lives of many and we are thrilled to welcome them as part of our Laurentian Alumni family.”

Among those who will receive honorary doctorates are; noted nursing researcher and advocate Louise Picard, Indigenous Elder and educator Rita Corbiere, internationally renowned architect Marianne McKenna, and Toronto lawyer and philanthropist Perry Dellelce.

“These distinguished Canadians have spent their lives doing good for others,” said Laurentian University Chancellor Steve Paikin. “I am delighted to award these honorary doctorates to these outstanding people who have excelled in their own fields while also turning their talents to improving the world around them.”

The following individuals will be awarded Honorary Doctorates at Convocation ceremonies to be held at Laurentian’s Sudbury campus:


Louise Picard

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa)

Headshot of Louise Picard

Louise Picard has played key roles in public health as a nurse, researcher, evaluator, educator, administrator, mentor, leader and innovator since graduating from Laurentian University’s School of Nursing. Louise began her career as a public health nurse doing home visits. In 1977, she played a key role in establishing genetic counseling services at the Sudbury and District Health Unit (SDHU), a model adopted across northern Ontario and internationally. After completing her master’s degree, she was coordinator, and later director, of the Sudbury Public Health Research, Education and Development (PHRED) program. From 1998 until 2005, she was director of the Resources, Research, Evaluation and Development (RRED) Division at SDHU. Louise’s passion for research is evidenced by her Teen Prenatal Study of health outcomes for pregnant adolescents and two provincial reports on francophone health status for which she played a lead role. Louise is recognized for her ability to encourage various sectors and disciplines to work effectively together. She initiated discussions that led to the creation of the Public Health Research Initiative Grant, now renamed the Louise Picard Public Health Research Grant. In addition, she has received the Ontario Public Health Association Honorary Membership Award and was named the Nursing Practice award recipient by the Registered Nursing Association of Ontario Sudbury and District Chapter. She is also recipient of one of Laurentian University’s 50 Years of Alumni Recognition Awards.


Perry Dellelce

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa)

Headshot of Perry Dellelce

Born and raised in Sudbury, Perry Dellelce is Managing Partner and co-founder of one of Canada’s largest standalone corporate finance transactional law firms, Wildeboer Dellelce LLP. Perry’s willingness to give to the ongoing prosperity of Ontario and Canada is remarkable. Perry has served in volunteer leadership roles for the Sunnybrook Foundation, Western University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Notre Dame and the Canadian Olympic Foundation. He has given of himself to drive improvements in healthcare, education, arts and culture and athletics to the benefit of all Canadians. In addition to his community service in Toronto and across Canada, Perry is a passionate advocate for Laurentian University. He was one of the most active volunteer cabinet members of Laurentian’s The Next 50 Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Northern Ontario. Perry also spearheaded the Sudbury Families Campaign, which was directly responsible for securing $15 million in contributions from prominent members of the Sudbury community. He proudly proclaims his passion for Laurentian University and the City of Greater Sudbury each year as founder and co-chair of Toronto Celebrates Sudbury, a gala fundraising event which brings together Sudbury expatriates living in Toronto for an evening of reminiscence and celebration in support of various Sudbury-based causes. Perry Dellelce is recipient of the Albert Citation and the Purple and White Award from Western University, was inducted into the Honour’s Society of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and has been honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the College of Business – University of Notre Dame.


Rita G. Corbiere

Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa)

Headshot of Rita Corbiere

Ms. Rita Corbiere is an Anishinaabe Elder and a remarkable educator whose wisdom has been generously shared with many learners. Ginii Kwe (Wild Rose) is Ojibway/Odawa and is a member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve, where she has mostly lived. She has touched many students as an educator, has led by example and has set her students on a good path by providing leadership in Indigenous ways of knowing, in health and in education. Rita’s education began in Wikwemikong where she was a student at the local school, followed by five years in residential school at the Spanish girls’ school. She then completed her Bachelor of Arts in Native and Environmental Studies at Laurentian University and her teacher training at North Bay’s Teacher College. Rita had a remarkable career as a teacher for several decades and was an elementary school principal for seven years. She is a proud speaker of the Anishinaabemowin language and a strong supporter of the language revitalization initiative in Anishinaabe territory. Rita has spent the last decade collaborating with Laurentian University, where she has made significant contributions to the academic literature in her capacity as Elder, research collaborator and co-author. She continues to be an active member in many community-based research projects, contributing as an Elder, advisor, co-author and co-presenter.  Her role has been critical in integrating Anishinaabe perspectives in academic research and helping to frame research in ways that acknowledge and contribute to Anishinaabe knowledge. Rita Corbiere is the recipient of the Anishinabek Nation Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laurentian University Native Education Person of Distinction Award.


Marianne McKenna

Thursday, June 1, 2017 – 2:30 pm (convocation for the charter class of the McEwen School of Architecture)

Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa)

Headshot of Marianne McKenna

Marianne McKenna founded KPMB Architects with her partners in 1987 as a hybrid model of practice based on gender equity, collaboration, diversity and excellence. Today KPMB is globally recognized as an award-winning Canadian practice. Born in Montreal, and educated at Swarthmore College and Yale University, Marianne has devoted her career to design excellence in architecture. In 2010, Marianne was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women and in 2014, one of the 50 Most Powerful People in Canada by Maclean's. In 2012, she was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for creating "architecture that enriches the public experience." Marianne is internationally acclaimed as the architect of the Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre and its iconic Koerner Hall, which has been praised by artists ranging from Chick Correa to Yo-Yo Ma. Her distinguished projects include the Rotman School of Management at the University Toronto, the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, described by the Chicago Tribune as a “spatially complex design that promises to teach valuable lessons of collaboration.” Currently Marianne is working on projects for the Brearley School in New York, historic Massey Hall in Toronto, and the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Banff National Park, Alberta. Marianne's love of architecture extends to teaching, mentoring, and advocacy. In the fall of 2016, she was the Lord Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at Yale University and she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Metrolinx.


About Laurentian University

Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.  Laurentian University, situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe peoples of Atikameksheng First Nation, prepares students as agents of change and empowers them to create innovative responses to local and global challenges. Laurentian’s students benefit from small class sizes and exceptional post-graduation employment rates.  With nine Canada Research Chairs and eighteen research centres, Laurentian is a recognized leader in its specialized areas of research strength, which include mining innovation and exploration, stressed watershed systems, particle astrophysics and rural and northern children’s health. Laurentian University has secured over $200 million in research income in the past five years.