Skip to main content

Dallaire, Schmitz, and Szathmáry to Receive Honorary Degrees

Lt. Gén. (Ret’d) Roméo A. Dallaire

General Dallaire, a career military officer who served for over 35 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, was Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Rwanda in 1993-1994, where he witnessed and attempted to prevent one of the most horrific genocides of the twentieth century, the massacre of over 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus by extremist Tutsis over the course of a few days. Since his retirement in 1999, General Dallaire has devoted his energies to the problem of war-affected children and conflict resolution. His best-selling book Shake Hands With the Devil recounts his experiences in Rwanda, and exposes the failures by the United Nations to prevent the genocide that occurred there. General Dallaire will deliver the Address at the Convocation ceremony on November 6th in St Basil’s Church.

Dr Kenneth Schmitz

Dr Schmitz, Professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. is a Fellow of Trinity College, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. A graduate of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (M.S.L.) and University of Toronto (Ph.D.), Dr Schmitz has taught at Loyola University of Los Angeles, Marquette University, Indiana University and the Catholic University of America, in addition to the U. of T. A widely published scholar, and currently an editor of Communio, he has also served as president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Hegel Society of America, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Dr Schmitz has recently agreed to become the first Associate Fellow of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Dr Emoke Szathmáry

Dr Szathmáry, a graduate of the St Michael’s Class of 1968, and winner of the College Gold Medal in Anthropology, is currently the 10th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, and a distinguished and prolific physical anthropologist. The author of over 80 scientific articles and reviews, and co-editor of three books, her research has focussed on the genetics of the aboriginal peoples of North America, addressing such topics as the causes of type-2 diabetes in Aboriginal populations. She has taught at Trent and McMaster universities, and was successively Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Western Ontario, and Provost of McMaster University, before being named President of the University of Manitoba in 1996. Her extensive external community service has included membership on the Manitoba Electoral Boundaries Commission, the Board of St Boniface Hospital, and the Board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Mary Catherine Birgeneau

Mrs Mary Catherine Birgeneau is a graduate of the St Michael’s Class of 1962 where she completed a B.A. degree in English. Following graduation she worked for two years as a child care worker with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. After marrying Robert Birgeneau (SMC ’63) she worked for a further two years as a social caseworker with Catholic Family Services in New Haven, Connecticut, before becoming a stay-at-home mother to their four children and a community volunteer. In the late 1980’s she returned to her social work career, tutoring welfare mothers, completing a Master’s of Social Work degree at Boston College in 1993, and working with high risk children in inner city Boston. Following her husband’s appointment as President of the University of Toronto in 2000, Mrs Birgeneau began working actively on behalf of the University, including at St Michael’s where she chaired the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee in 2002. Mrs Birgeneau’s Honorary Fellowship will be conferred at the St Michael’s Baccalaureate Mass to be held on June 10th in St Basil’s Church.

Robert Chisholm

Mr Robert Chisholm, a graduate of the St Michael’s Class of 1968, is currently Vice-Chairman of Scotiabank, and President and C.E.O. of its Domestic Banking and Wealth Management division. After completing his B.A. in political science, Mr Chisholm became a Chartered Accountant and spent his early career in the insurance and trust industries. Following ten years as Comptroller of the Crown Life Insurance Company and the Guaranty Trust Company, he joined the Bank of Nova Scotia, rising rapidly through its senior executive ranks to his current position of Vice-Chairman. His extensive record of community service has included membership on the boards of Providence Health Centre and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. He is a Past Chairman of ShareLife, the archdiocesan fundraising campaign, and is Former Campaign Chair of St Francis Xavier University. Mr Chisholm’s Honorary Fellowship will be conferred in June 2005.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

At its spring meeting, the Senate of the University of St Michael’s College voted to confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters (D.Litt.S.). on three distinguished Canadians at the University’s Convocation to be held on November 6th : Lt. Gén. (Ret’d) Roméo A. Dallaire, Dr Kenneth Schmitz, and Dr Emoke Szathmáry. In addition, two new Honorary Fellows of the University were named, Mrs Mary Catherine Birgeneau and Mr Robert Chisholm.