Graduation & Convocation

Honorary degree recipients

Dr. J. Fraser Mustard

From completing his PhD at the storied University of Cambridge to sitting as the Dean of Medicine at McMaster University, Dr. J. Fraser Mustard’s academic resume carries serious weight.

Today Mustard will add a Mount Royal University honorary Bachelor of Arts to that resume.

J. Fraser Mustard“It’s very nice that another institution recognizes my work is important,” says Mustard, who believes education and the open traffic of information are vital to improving the world around us.

Mustard has also established the influential Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Founders’ Network.

Today though, he focuses his time on the field of early childhood development where he’s become one of Canada’s pre-eminent figures.

That’s one of the reasons the Mount Royal Centre for Child Well-Being created the Fraser Mustard Chair in Childhood Development: Knowledge of Early Brain Development. Mount Royal has been honoured to have Mustard volunteering with the program.

But Mustard takes a scientific view of the honour being awarded him.

“Nobody needs to be honoured by my involvement. You’re just making use of neurons that are functioning within me because you want to put that data into your neurons and that’s really what it’s all about.”

Asking him about his prolific career is like asking him why he breathes.

“I’m not really doing anything special,” says Mustard. “I’m just doing what I want to do.”

And he feels the world will be a much better place if current and future graduating classes can find a way to do the same, with an eye towards making a difference in society.

“After graduating, you have to find a way to keep updating your knowledge on science and social sciences. That’s the real challenge of this century.”

Steven Noble, June 4, 2010

Sharon Pollock

Mount Royal University honorary degree recipient Sharon Pollock is no stranger to the stage.

As one of Canada’s most notable playwrights, she is a major part of the development of the Canadian Theatre company.

“I see the making of theatre as an act of social cohesion and community,” says Pollock.

“Essentially I would like audience members to leave with more than they had when they entered the theatre — I want them to engage in discussion and be stimulated emotionally and intellectually.”

Pollock has received many honorary doctorates and awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Blood Relations and Doc, the Canada Australian Literary Award, a Japan Foundation Award, the Nellie Drama Award for her radio play, Sweet Land of Liberty, and a Golden Sheaf Award for her writing for television.

Pollock was also awarded the Harry and Martha Cohen Award for her significant contribution to Calgary theatre.

From backstage to centre stage, front of house to director’s chair, actor to author, teacher and mentor to artistic director of venues both large and small, Pollock continues to encourage new writing and new playwrights and remains committed to the life of theatre.

Watching Mount Royal evolve over the years has been a gratifying experience for Pollock, who values Mount Royal’s community-centered approach and has in fact worked with many graduates from the University’s Theatre program through her work as Board Chair at Downstage Theatre.

“I have been impressed with the quality of Mount Royal graduates,” she says. “Receiving the honorary arts degree from the University holds special meaning for me.

“Although I may be the one receiving this honour, in my mind it’s recognition of the contributions of the arts community as a whole.”

Jondrea De Ruyter, June 4, 2010