An Honorary Doctorate is an honour bestowed by the University and is intended to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the academy and/or society and whose accomplishments, leadership, and/or community service are deemed to be extraordinary and thus worthy of honoris causa – “for the sake of the honour.”

To view the 2018 Honorary Degree Recipients, please click here.

To view past recipients, please visit

How are recipients selected?

Acadia’s 2018 Convocation will be the final time outgoing Chancellor Dr. Libby Burnham (’60) presides over the University’s degree-granting ceremonies and greets students on stage. Her term will end when incoming Chancellor Dr. Bruce Galloway is installed during Monday afternoon’s Convocation for graduates of the Faculty of Professional Studies.

This year's honorees are:

The Right Honorable Kim Campbell – Doctor of Civil Laws

Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, PC, CC, OBC, QC

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell’s life has been marked by firsts. From becoming her high school’s first female student president to becoming the first female Prime Minister of Canada, she has been breaking barriers for over fifty years.

Born in Port Alberni, BC but raised in Vancouver, Ms. Campbell attended the University of British Columbia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science. She attended the London School of Economics where she worked on a PhD in Soviet Studies. After returning to British Columbia, Campbell taught for six years before returning to UBC to pursue a law degree.

After being elected to positions in both municipal and provincial government, Ms. Campbell turned her focus to federal politics in 1988 when she ran successfully in the riding of Vancouver Centre.  In 1989, Ms. Campbell was appointed Minister of State for Indian Affairs and Northern Development and in 1990 as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, becoming the first woman in Canada to hold this position. In January of 1993, Ms. Campbell was appointed Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, making her the first woman in any NATO country to hold this office. In June of 1993, she became the first and only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Canada, also making her the only Prime Minister to have held office in all three levels of government. Following her time in office, Ms. Campbell served as Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles from 1996-2000.

Using her extensive understanding of leadership, Ms. Campbell now speaks all over the world on major issues related to teaching leadership, international politics, democratization, climate change, gender, and Canadian/American relations. Her expertise in these areas is fueled by her service as head of several global organizations. She is a founding member of and has held a number of high level positions within Club Madrid, an organization of former heads of government and state who work to promote democratization through peer relations with leaders of transitional democracies. Ms. Campbell served as the chairperson of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments, chaired the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy, is a member and chair emerita of the Council of Women World Leaders, and served as President of the International Women’s Forum.

In 2001, Ms. Campbell became one of the inaugural fellows of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s J.F. Kennedy School of Government. She taught there for three years, developing courses on democratic transition and consolidation as well as gender and power. She continues to visit and speak at the Centre. Today, Ms. Campbell dedicates much of her time to serving as the Founding Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta.

The Reverend Dr. David Watt – Doctor of Divinity

Rev. Dr. David Watt

Reverend Dr. David Watt is a well-known member of the Acadia campus community, whose ministry career spans over 50 years and across multiple countries. Born and raised in Marysville, New Brunswick, he left home to attend Acadia University where he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts. After a year spent studying in Scotland, Dr. Watt returned to Acadia to pursue a Bachelor of Divinity (’65). He would return twice more to Acadia as a student, obtaining a Master of Theology in 1980 and a Doctor of Ministry in 1999. 

During his time at Acadia, Dr. Watt was a member of the Acadia Axemen hockey team, where he played alongside his brother, Bruce. Bruce served as captain with David serving as assistant captain. He was inducted into the Acadia Hockey Hall of Fame in the Fall of 2007. Dr. Watt credits lessons learned in the hockey rink as being of great value throughout his time in the ministry.

After his ordination in 1965, Dr. Watt spent 32 years serving as a pastor to churches both large and small in Nova Scotia and Alberta. He led First Baptist Church Dartmouth to become one of the largest and most active churches in Atlantic Canada. During this time, he recruited the largest number of students to study for ministry in the Baptist Convention.   

His passion for cross-cultural ministry led him to serve as the Regional Supervisor for the Canadian Baptist Ministries in Europe and the Mediterranean. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dr. Watt and his late wife, Florence, served as missionaries overseas. His strong support and encouragement, as well as his ability to build relationships, allowed for a number of partnerships to occur. Through his leadership, Katowice, Poland became a centre of missionary experience for many teams from Canadian churches and Acadia students over the years.

In 2004, Dr. Watt returned to the Acadia campus, taking on the role of Director of Development and Recruitment and lecturer in the Acadia Divinity College, a role he served until his ‘retirement’ in 2014. In his active retirement, he has served as chaplain in hospital and continuing care facilities.

Dr. Watt was awarded the Acadia Divinity College Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2009 for his dedication and service to the ministry of the Christian Church both in Canada and around the world. 

Dr. Robert (Bob) Fournier – Doctor of Science

Robert Fournier, PhD

Dr. Robert O. Fournier is a renowned scientist, advisor, administrator and educator. Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, he received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Rhode Island (1961). He went on to earn a Master’s from the College of William and Mary and a PhD from the University of Rhode Island both in Biological Oceanography. Following the completion of his doctorate, Dr. Fournier held fellowships in England and Norway before joining the faculty of the University of Hawaii in 1969.

Moving to Canada in 1971, Dr. Fournier joined Dalhousie University’s Department of Oceanography where he is now a Professor of Oceanography (Emeritus). His research interests include studies of the physical and chemical processes that contribute to the high biological productivity on continental shelves. From 1985 to 2000, Dr. Fournier served as Dalhousie’s Associate Vice-President – Research and International Relations, and Executive Director of Ocean Studies where he was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of a number of important research initiatives.

An acknowledged expert worldwide, Dr. Fournier has acted as an advisor on a number of projects provincially and nationally. He is a former member of the Science Council of Canada and the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology where he reported directly to the Prime Minister. He chaired the Nova Scotia Council of Applied Science and Technology, advising the Nova Scotian government on science and technology policy. At the request of the Premier, he acted as chair of the Halifax Harbour Task Force and served as member of the Northern Cod Review Panel. Additionally, he chaired the Joint Public Review Panel for the Sable Offshore Energy Project, the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee, and the Joint Review Panel for the proposed White Point Quarry on Digby Neck.

A well-known interpreter of science to the public, Dr. Fournier has been a regular contributor of science commentaries to many local and national CBC radio and television programmes since 1974. He appeared as a regular science commentator on the local radio show Information Morning and on national television on Midday, delivering over 2000 weekly contributions. In addition, he was a science columnist on This Country in the Morning for five years during the mid 1980s, hosted a one-hour TV documentary - Iceberg Alley, and has delivered numerous speeches, both locally and nationally, usually on contemporary science issues.

Dr. Fournier is presently active in marine-related projects in Uruguay and Nunavut and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Nova Scotia tidal energy test centre FORCE.

Elder Albert Marshall – Doctor of Humanities

Elder Albert Marshall

 Albert Marshall is a highly respected and much loved Elder of the Mi’kmaq Nation who lives in Eskasoni First Nation in Unama’ki (Cape Breton). Known for his passionate advocacy for cross-cultural understandings and healing, Elder Albert is the acknowledged voice for the Mi’kmaq people on environmental issues affecting lands, forests, and fisheries. He sits on various committees that develop and guide collaborative initiatives and understanding in natural resource management that inform First Nations’ governance issues and work towards ethical environmental, social, and economic practices.

Growing up, Elder Albert attended the Shubenacadie Residential School. Deeply affected by his experiences, he set out to connect with and understand both the culture he was removed from, and the culture he was forced into. Using his experiences, he became an advocate for a number of causes, including preserving, understanding and promoting cultural beliefs and practices among Mi’kmaq communities, encouraging a strong future for the Mi’kmaq nation and its people.

Together with his wife Murdena, Elder Albert is a strong advocate for Etuaptmumk, or “two-eyed seeing”, a phrase he coined for the concept of multiple perspectives, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, being used together to solve pressing issues. Through his work, two-eyed seeing has been embraced across the globe, being used in a number of diverse projects both locally and internationally.  It was included in the global sciences celebrations for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 and in October 2011, Elders Albert and Murdena highlighted the message of two-eyed seeing at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s National Atlantic Event in Halifax, NS.

Additionally, Elders Albert and Murdena developed Knowledge Education & Culture Consultant Associates (KECCA) to better enable their work seeking the preservation, understanding, and promotion of cultural beliefs and practices among all Mi’kmaq communities thereby encouraging a strong future for the Mi’kmaq Nation and its people. Elder Albert was instrumental in the development of Cape Breton University’s Integrative Science academic and multi-faceted research program in 2006. The institute was the major research and outreach entity for Integrative Science. While it is no longer active, its Elders remain very much in demand. In the first half of 2017 alone, Elder Albert delivered nine major speeches and presentations on two-eyed seeing across Canada.

For his tremendous work promoting Mi’kmaw language and culture and fostering cross-cultural reconciliation, Elder Albert has received numerous awards. In February 2009, he was awarded the Marshall Award for Aboriginal Leadership as part of the Eco-Hero Awards delivered by the Nova Scotia Environmental Network. In October 2009, he and Murdena were awarded Honorary Doctorate of Letters degrees by Cape Breton University. 

The Honorable Mayann Francis – Doctor of Civil Laws

Hon. Mayann E. Francis, ONS

The Honourable Mayann Francis has spent her life dedicated to trying to effect change. She attended Saint Mary’s University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1972. Ms. Francis went on to complete a Master of Public Administration at New York University in 1984, and holds a certificate in Equal Opportunity Studies from Cornell University, a certificate in Paralegal Studies from Long Island University and a certificate in Theological Studies from the Atlantic School of Theology.

Ms. Francis’ career can be defined as one of leadership, tirelessly working to advocate for and advance diversity and equality in all social settings. Her roles have included human rights officer for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, assistant deputy minister with the Ontario Women’s Directorate making her the first black woman to hold the position, the first employment equity officer for Dalhousie University, and CEO and Director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Additionally, she became the first woman ombudsman of Nova Scotia where her job was to address complaints involving provincial or municipal government departments, agencies, boards, and commissions. In 2006, Ms. Francis was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, a position she held until 2012. She is the first African Nova Scotian and second African Canadian to hold this position. Her notable achievements during this time include invoking royal prerogative to posthumously grant a free pardon to civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, making her the first vice-regal representative to grant the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, Free Pardon in the history of Canada. In the fall of 2015, Dalhousie University appointed Ms. Francis to the Faculty of Management, School of Public Administration as the first Distinguished Public Service Fellow. Adding to her already impressive list of accomplishments, she is also a published author; her first children’s book, Mayann’s Train Ride, was published in October 2015.

Ms. Francis has received many awards and honours for her work challenging systemic racial and gender barriers including the Harry Jerome Award from the Black Business and Professional Association, the Multicultural Education Council of Nova Scotia Award, the Silver Plaque Award from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals. In 2006, she became a member of the Order of Nova Scotia and has honorary degrees from the Atlantic School of Theology, Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie, and York Universities. She was awarded an Honorary Diploma from Nova Scotia Community College.  In 2015, the Nova Scotia Community College, Marconi Campus in Cape Breton, renamed the campus library The Honourable Mayann Francis Library. She has established awards at both the Nova Scotia Community College and the Atlantic School of Theology. Ms. Francis has also established the Honourable Mayann Francis Hope and Inspiration Award, to provide financial assistance to students enrolled on all thirteen campuses.

Lorie Kane – Doctor of Humanities

Lorie Kane, CM

Professional golfer Lorie Kane’s connection to Acadia extends far beyond this weekend’s convocation. Her sister Mary (’84) is an alumna and Ms. Kane herself came to Acadia in 1984 before leaving to pursue her dream of playing professional golf.

Ms. Kane began playing golf at the age of five in her home province of Prince Edward Island. Coached by Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Jack McLaughlin, she found great success in her junior and amateur careers. She was the P.E.I Junior Girls Champion twice and P.E.I Women’s Amateur Champion nine times between 1983 and 1992. Her impressive amateur career saw her represent Canada numerous times on the international stage. She won the Mexican Amateur championship in 1991 and was a member of the Canadian Commonwealth Team in 1991 and the 1992 Canadian World Amateur Team. She was also a member of Team Canada, Women’s Golf, 2015 Pan Am Games.

Ms. Kane turned professional in 1993, and three years later earned exempt status on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. That same year she recorded her first top-ten finish, with an eighth place at the PING Welch’s Championship in Boston. Following this, she found immense success, recording 34 top-ten finishes, including nine second-places, before earning her first LPGA tour victory at the Michelob Light Classic in August of 2000. She won on the LPGA tour three more times, the New Albany Golf Classic, the Mizuno Classic, and the LPGA Takefugi Classic. She was also the Canadian PGA Women’s Champion from 1996-1999 and again in 2001.

Since 1997, Ms. Kane has been an advocate for KidSport, an organization that aims to help eliminate financial barriers to allow children to participate in sport. She has served as an honourary spokesperson, promoter and ambassador of the program, and is also one of its most generous contributors. Her annual golf charity, the Lorie Kane Charity Golf Classic, has raised over $850,000 for organizations like KidSport, the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities, the ALS Society, and the QEH Foundation.

Ms. Kane has been recognized dozens of times for her outstanding commitment to the game and her promotion of access to sports for kids. In 1998, she was awarded the Heather Farr Player Award in 1998, and the William & Mousie Powell Award in 2000. In 2006, she was presented with the Order of Canada and in 2011 she received the Humanitarian Award for Prince Edward Island for her work with charitable organizations, and promoting access to sports. In 2014, Ms. Kane was inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame and in 2016 was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.