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TRU announces recipients of spring convocation honorary degrees

Five people will be given honorary degrees during Thompson Rivers University’s (TRU) spring convocation.

According to TRU, the degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the university.

It is awarded to people who have demonstrated excellence in the fields of public affairs, the sciences, arts, humanities, business, law and philanthropy.

This year’s recipients include Dr. Muriel Sasakamoose, Kevin Loring, Dr. Garry Gottfriedson, Kye7e Cecilia Dick DeRose and Dr. Bruce Damer.

Sasakamoose is a member of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, an educator and advocate for justice and equality.

She co-founded the BC Native Women’s Association, was the first Indigenous person to sit on the BC Parole Board, is one of the founding Elders of the Cnukwenten First Nations Court in Kamloops and sits on the Aboriginal Community Justice Council.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

Loring is a playwright, actor and director from Nlaka'pamux First Nation. Loring’s work as a playwright includes the award-winning Where the Blood Mixes. His acting credits include roles in television, film and stage.

He is the artistic director of Savage Society in BC and the inaugural artistic director for Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Loring is a TRU Distinguished Alum and was recognized with the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award in 2017.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed/John Kealey

Gottfriedson is also Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and is an accomplished Indigenous poet, author, academic. He is a spokesperson for the Secwépemc First Nation. He has worked in education for over 50 years, including 37 years at TRU, as a teacher, advisor, researcher and administrator.

He has thirteen published books, including Skin Like Mine, Clinging to Bone and Bent Back Tongue, and was inducted into the International Library of Poetry Hall of Fame in 1997.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

DeRose is a member of the Esk’etemc First Nation and has been nationally recognized as an Indigenous knowledge keeper. She is a Secwepemctsín teacher, advisor and contributes to language programs.

She has been involved in several projects including a comprehensive guide to Secwépemc ethnobotany, research on culturally safe dementia care, and the works of Dr. Marianne Ignace. In the 1980s, she sat on the Katie Ross Inquiry in Williams Lake and provided cross-cultural training for the hospital, RCMP and courts. DeRose received the Indspire Award for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality in 2018.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

Damer is a multidisciplinary scientist, designer, author and world-renowned astrobiologist at the University of California Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering.

He has provided innovative spacecraft simulation and design to NASA and others with the goal of opening a viable path for the expansion of life and human civilization beyond Earth. He is a widely published author and podcast guest and serves as co-founder and president of the Center for MINDS and chief scientist of the BIOTA Institute.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

Convocation ceremonies take place on June 4, 5 and 6, at 10 am and 2:30 pm each day, at the Tournament Capital Centre.

Here is a full breakdown of when each recipient will be awarded:

Tuesday, June 4 at 10 am
Faculty of Law
Honorary Doctorate to Kye7e Cecilia Dick DeRose

Tuesday, June 4 at 2:30 pm
School of Trades and Technology with Faculty of Education and Social Work
Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Muriel Sasakamoose

Wednesday, June 5 at 10 am
Faculty of Science
Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Bruce Damer

Wednesday, June 5 at 2:30 pm
Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics
No honorary doctorate conferred

Thursday, June 6 at 10 am
Faculty of Arts
Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Garry Gottfriedson (address by pre-recorded message)

Thursday, June 6 at 2:30 pm
Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism with School of Nursing
Honorary Doctorate to Kevin Loring (address by pre-recorded message)

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