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Stars on ice

Honorary graduates: Looking for Memorial's next role model

Campus and Community

By Nora Daly

Not every honorary degree recipient wears a suit or sits in an office.

Sister Elizabeth Davis wears a habit. Romeo Dallaire wears a uniform and The Princess Royal occasionally wears a tiara. Others are at home wearing hockey jerseys or curling sliders.

Successful athletes inspire us.

It’s not just because of the awards they’ve won. They train hard, maybe for years. They maintain a high level of motivation and remain committed to their goals. They deal with excitement, anger, success and failure. And they never quit.

Three stars on ice – one team and two individuals – rank among those who have been named honorary graduates of Memorial.

Hayley Wickenheiser

Hayley Wickenheiser strapped on skates at age three – hockey skates and never looked back. Olympic silver in 1998 in the women’s hockey competition, followed by back-to-back Olympic gold in 2002 and 2006 as a member of Team Canada.

But Dr. Wickenheiser plays to win at more than hockey. As her orator noted, “Her determination on the ice is the manifestation of an approach to life that does not accept half measures or an attitude of ‘good enough to get by’… Her example encourages us to challenge the odds against achieving our full potential by facing off against whatever stands in our way.”

She is a trailblazer.

Team Gushue

Who doesn’t remember where they were when Team Gushue took home Olympic gold? Or when Brad Gushue turned to the CBC camera moments later and implored his mom to pick up the phone? They were our heroes and we were captivated.

Dr. Gushue admits when they started out on their journey, they knew they would have to work harder than anyone. And work they did, with some detours along the way, to Torino, Italy and the Olympic podium.

“Through it all, they held faith with their mission to be the best sports team in Canada, to become the best in the world and to do it from this place,” said Dr. Annette Staveley, deputy public orator. “They are… young people who have achieved excellence through fortitude, self-sacrifice and teamwork and through the love of their families and support of this community.”

Honorary degree recipients and most not yet 30 years old.

Howie Meeker

Howie Meeker admits that, “I am sure that many of my teachers, when I left them, thought: Good kid, too bad he won’t amount to much.”

He became a Canadian legend.

Howie Meeker
Dr. Howie Meeker
Photo: Chris Hammond

Dr. Meeker has been a hockey player, coach, general manager, announcer, broadcaster, colour commentator, storyteller and studio analyst.

In one of many examples of his devotion to service, he put his promising junior hockey career on hold to become a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

He went on to earn the 1947 Calder Memorial Trophy National Hockey League Rookie of the Year, was a three-time player in the National Hockey League All-Star Game and a four-time Stanley Cup winner.

Dr. Meeker’s coaching legacy and his contribution to Canada’s national sport is respected from coast-to-coast in Canada.

His teachers couldn’t have been more wrong.

Help us inspire our graduates and nominate our next honorary degree recipient.


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