Voyageur receives Douglas’ highest honour
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
Since 2011, Douglas College has awarded a community member a special designation recognizing outstanding achievement or distinguished service by an individual on a community, provincial, national, or international scale.
According to the Douglas College website, the Honorary Fellow designation is the highest award the College bestows on individuals and is typically presented to an individual during the winter and summer Douglas commencement ceremonies.
According to the Honorary Fellows policy found on the Douglas College graduation page: Douglas believes that the Fellow will “serve to inspire graduates and reflect the values of the College.”
The Honorary Fellow for the winter 2020 commencement was announced during the February 19, 2020 ceremony: the recipient is Dr. Evelyn Voyageur.
Dr. Voyageur is a trained nurse and an Elder of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. A residential school student during her early years, Voyageur went on to complete a nursing degree and a PhD in Psychology. In recent years, Voyageur has received numerous accolades for her work—including the 2018 Indspire Award for outstanding career achievement, and a honorary doctorate from Thompson Rivers University.
Voyageur joins a group of thirteen individuals who have received the Honorary Fellow designation by Douglas College.
The first fellows were Bill Hughes and Tim Agg. Agg, the executive director of PLEA Community Services Society of BC, was recognized for his advocacy in youth justice. Hughes, a New Westminster native, was a long-time radio announcer for CKNW, now Global News Radio 980 CKNW (fun fact: the ‘NW’ in CKNW stands for New Westminster, the original home of the radio station). Additionally, Hughes and his family are the namesakes for Douglas College’s New Westminster library.
Other past recipients include former New Westminster Police Chief and current Chief Officer of Metro Vancouver Transit Police Dave Jones, and Elaine Golds—the Port Moody native whose works include strong advocacy in environmental conservation.
An Honorary Fellow selection committee—comprised of Douglas College community members—meets to decide the nominated individuals. The assignment of the Honorary Fellow designation is confidential until the announcement at commencement, and previously unsuccessful individuals are reviewed to see if their nominations are worthy of designation.
Interestingly, Douglas also has a clause in the Honorary Fellow policy that allows the College the right to revoke any Honorary Fellow designation conferred—a stipulation that is not known to have occurred.