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Peter Mansbridge and Mary Simon honoured during convocation ceremonies

Award-winning Canadian news anchor and one of Canada’s foremost Indigenous rights activists to receive honorary degrees

Mary Simon and Peter Mansbridge

By Holly Kerr

The honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, is the University of Calgary’s highest academic honour, bestowed on individuals whose notable achievements and community service merit recognition. 

Peter Mansbridge and Mary Simon will have honorary degrees conferred upon them at the June convocation ceremonies for the Faculties of Arts, Graduate Studies and Social Work. 

As Canada’s longest serving active news anchor on a major national network, Peter Mansbridge, OC, LLD, has been one of the most trusted voices in Canadian journalism for close to 50 years. He is the chief correspondent of CBC News, anchoring CBC's leading nightly news program The National, all CBC News specials, and is host of the weekly interview program Mansbridge: One on One.

Mansbridge accidentally fell into his career while working as an airline ticket agent in Churchill, Manitoba. Filling in for absent staff, he was announcing flights and was discovered by a CBC station manager who was travelling through. His media career took off from there and in 1968 in Fort Churchill, Manitoba, Mansbridge helped develop CBC Radio's news service to Northern Canada. He then moved to Winnipeg followed by Regina and Ottawa, landing in Toronto to anchor The National in 1988.

Mansbridge’s special interest in the Canadian North has helped educate Canadians about this globally important geographic area and its peoples. He has provided comprehensive coverage of the most significant stories in Canada and around the world and has interviewed countless international leaders. He was the only Canadian journalist to interview President Barack Obama during his term in office. He has been chancellor of Mount Allison University in New Brunswick since 2009, and was named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 2015.

While the global media landscape evolves and transforms daily, Mansbridge brings a rare and uniquely consistent, credible and impartial reporting style to the national and global news he delivers to millions of Canadians each night.

Mary Simon, OC, QC, FRCGS, DHumL, is a respected Inuit elder and statesman, and a noted Canadian leader who has demonstrated successfully bridging cultures with hope, respect and vision. For over 40 years, her leadership as a nation builder has been widely honoured. She has devoted her life’s work toward gaining further recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights and equality, promoting education and the study of Northern issues, and achieving social justice for Inuit and other Indigenous peoples in Canada and abroad. 

Simon has served in leadership positions with numerous boards and Inuit organizations, including as president of Makivik Corporation, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (Canada’s national Inuit organization), Canada’s Ambassador to Denmark, and she was the first Inuit person to be named Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs. Simon was also a senior negotiator for Canadian Inuit during the repatriation of the Constitution, and she is the founding chair of the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation.   

For her lifetime of dedication to seeking justice for Inuit and other Indigenous peoples, Simon has been honoured with many awards, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Gold Order of the Canadian Geographic Society, the Gold Order of Greenland, the National Order of Quebec and the Governor General’s Northern Medal. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. 

Simon continues to be an inspiring role model and one of Canada’s strongest voices in the evolution of Canada’s Northern policies, and in promoting and protecting the rights of Canada’s Inuit and other Indigenous peoples.

» View slideshow of photos of HD recipient Peter Mansbridge's reception, and June 7 morning and afternoon Arts convocation ceremonies