The University of Prince Edward Island will confer honorary degrees on four outstanding citizens, Wayne D. Gray, Nona Macdonald Heaslip, James Carter and Joe Ng, at two convocations on Saturday, May 10, in the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre.
Carter and Gray will receive their honorary degrees during the morning ceremony, which will start at 10 a.m. Macdonald Heaslip and Ng will be awarded their degrees during the afternoon ceremony, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. Gray will deliver the convocation address in the morning, and Macdonald Heaslip in the afternoon. About 600 undergraduate and graduate students will receive their degrees during the convocation ceremonies.
Wayne D. Gray is the power behind the Vogue Optical chain, with 55 stores in Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and over 250 employees. He and his late wife Doreen Gray established Vogue Optical in 1979. Gray’s desire to own the buildings housing the optical stores created the need for a property development and management company. This company's holdings have grown to over 40 properties with more than 100 tenants. Gray and his companies are strong supporters of the Queen Elizabeth, PrinceCounty and IWK hospitals, the Children's Wish Foundation and many other causes. In 2000 he created the Doreen Gray Memorial Endowment Fund in memory of his wife. Wayne and Doreen Gray were inducted into the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame in 2006.
Nona Macdonald Heaslip and her late husband, William Arthurs Heaslip, have been generous supporters of health care, the arts and education. They have established ongoing undergraduate scholarships at 10 Canadian universities, including UPEI. Macdonald Heaslip’s career included journalism, and radio and television production. As PR manager for her alma mater, the University of Toronto, she received awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the UofT Alumni Award. Her volunteer roles included executive positions with the Couchiching Institute of Public Affairs, the Shaw Festival, the Shakespeare Globe Theatre Canada, the Empire Club of Canada, and Theatre Museum Canada. Her P.E.I. links go back to 1772 when 210 Macdonald Clan Ranald émigrés claimed land near Summerside. Her late father, Colonel Ronald Hugh Macdonald, attended St. Dunstan’s University.
A native Islander, James “Jim” Carter, of Fort McMurray, Alberta, is a visionary business and community leader. He attended Prince of Wales College and UPEI, completing his engineering diploma in 1971. He worked for Syncrude Canada Ltd. for 27 years, serving as president and chief operating officer from 1997 to 2007. His work has contributed to improvements in environmental performance, increased workplace safety, and advancements in technical and scientific knowledge. He has also strengthened relations with Aboriginals affected by development of the oil industry, and has increased the industry’s capacity to meet its need for highly skilled workers. Carter has received many prestigious awards, including honorary degrees from the University of Alberta and the Technical University of Nova Scotia. In 2005 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Born in Canton, China, Joe Ng moved to Hong Kong as a teenager and then to Canada in 1968. After studying engineering at UPEI in 1969-70, he went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering at UNB. He then settled in Hamilton, Ontario, as a permanent Canadian resident, where he founded JNE Consulting Ltd., which now employs a staff of 300. He supports his community through involvement with the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Hamilton Health Sciences Network, research grants at McMaster University, the United Way and children's sports programs. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary degree from McMaster University, and in 2006 the McMaster University Faculty of Engineering Leadership Award. He has also been actively involved in the development of the Chinese Cultural Association in Hamilton.
More information about UPEI Convocation 2008 is available at www.upei.ca/convocation/.