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Lakehead Orillia Convocation Ceremonies to Celebrate Honorary Degree and Civitas Recipients

Press Release

April 26, 2017 – Orillia, ON

A journalism pioneer and a Lakehead alumnus will be among those recognized during Lakehead Orillia’s upcoming convocation ceremony, which will be held Saturday, June 10 at Rotary Place in Orillia.

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell – who has worked as an academic, broadcaster, television producer, journalist and theatre artist – will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her contributions to Canadian journalism and media in general.

“Dr. Deverell’s strong work ethic has allowed her to have many exceptional achievements, such as being one of the first black women in Canada to be a television host and network executive,” said Dr. Brian Stevenson, Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor.

“This drive and commitment to excellence continues to be an inspiration for young media creators,” Dr. Stevenson added.

Lakehead University will also recognize alum Rob Jamieson with the 2017 Civitas Award, presented annually to a community member who has made a significant contribution to the Orillia campus.

A Lakehead University graduate, Rob has been actively engaged with Lakehead University through his work with the Alumni Association and the Lakehead University Orillia Campus Advisory Committee.

“Rob has been an incredible supporter of Lakehead University,” said Kim Fedderson, Principal of Lakehead University’s Orillia campus. “His effort and enthusiasm has been vital for the growth and development of our campus.”

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell C.M., Ed.D. – Honorary Degree

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, C.M., Ed.D. is a theatre artist, broadcaster, scholar, and television producer/director/writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Adelphi University (1966), a Masters of Arts in the History of Religions from Columbia (1968), and the Doctor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (1985).

Dr. Deverell has received numerous awards, including two Geminis, the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network Leadership Award, and she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005 for her pioneering work in broadcasting, notably being one of the founders of Vision TV and mentoring her Aboriginal successor at APTN National News.

She was the first CanWest Global Fellow at Western University. From 2009-2012 Dr. Deverell also held the title of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, and she has taught in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead Orillia.

In the last 15 years Dr. Deverell has produced eight nationally broadcast independent TV dramas; written and performed three one-woman plays, authored or edited seven books; been an actor in 10 professional theatre productions, and executive produced a multi-media kit “Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance,” acquired by the National Film Board’s CAMPUS e-learning portal.

Her current projects include a theatre script, a screenplay, and a book on “American Refugees” to Canada. Dr. Deverell is an active volunteer with the Canadian Senior Artists Research Network, MediaSmarts, and a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Rob Jamieson – 2017 Civitas Award

Rob Jamieson graduated from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay with an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation/ Bachelor Arts (Geography).

With the creation of Lakehead University’s Orillia campus in 2006, Rob re-engaged with the University, joining the Board of Directors of Lakehead’s Alumni Association (AALU), serving as Vice-President.

In 2012 Rob became the first person from outside Northwestern Ontario to serve as President of the AALU, a position he held until 2015. During that time Rob was also a member of the Lakehead University Orillia Campus Advisory Committee under the direction and leadership of Principal Kim Fedderson.

After graduating from Lakehead, Rob joined the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in 1995. He has served in Dutton, Nottawasaga and Dufferin as a Platoon Sergeant and Central Region Professional Standards Bureau as a Detective Sergeant. He was Acting Staff Sergeant and Aboriginal Critical Incident Coordinator and Provincial Coordinator of the Crisis Negotiation Program. Rob has provided policing services to community members in Pikangikum First Nations Territory on several occasions.

In 2015 Rob was elected President and CEO of the OPP Association, representing over 9,000 uniform and civilian members who provide community-based policing and specialized policing services across Ontario.

Rob is also a Board Member of the Canadian Police Association. He is actively involved in all OPP Association Board committees, focusing on government relations, negotiations, northern issues and the Future of Policing Advisory Committee.

Rob has served as Coordinator of Cops Kids and Community with Big Brothers Big Sisters while at Nottawasaga OPP. He continues to advocate for persons living with Epilepsy. He credits his success to the support he received from family and friends, especially his wife Lea and daughters Josselyn and Eva.

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Media: For more information, please contact Jaclyn Bucik, Communications and Marketing Associate, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or [email protected]

Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit


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