Bow Valley College (BVC) awarded honorary diplomas to two individuals during its spring graduation ceremonies. Eva Friesen, president and CEO of the Calgary Foundation (CF), and Paul Charette, former Colleges and Institutes Canada board member and current chair of the board of directors for Bird Construction, received honorary diplomas in business administration from BVC’s Chiu School of Business in two separate ceremonies.
The honorary diplomas were presented during graduation ceremonies in which over 900 learners crossed the stage of the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
“I am humbled and honoured to be chosen for an honorary diploma by Bow Valley College,” said Friesen, a community partner and organizational donor who has been leading CF since 2005, during the ceremony on June 19. “Bow Valley College plays a significant role in helping people belong to the community. Through learning and skill building, and subsequent employment, people from all walks of life get a new start on the road to success. When people are successful they feel they belong. When people feel they belong, they are more likely to be successful. Belonging is key to building a healthy community.”
She added that CF exists to help build a community where everyone belongs, and that there are many intersections between CF and BVC.
“Eva represents the compassionate and humanistic characteristics that are required of our health-care providers,” says Nora Maclachlan, dean of the School of Health and Wellness. “She has a realistic perspective of our health-care world.”
Charette was honoured during the ceremony on June 20. “I accept this honorary diploma in business administration with a great deal of pride,” he said in his speech to the graduates, “and I must say that it is very humbling to be recognized in this way.”
Charette, who grew up in a small community north of Winnipeg, spoke about the struggles of his youth and the lessons learned from it. He then provided some sage advice for the graduates. “The recipe for success in business and life in my opinion is as follows: get a good education – you now have a great start; but in this age of a knowledge-based economy, rapidly changing job descriptions and new technologies, lifelong learning is more important today than it has ever been,” he said.
He went on to say the jobs the graduates might have for the next five years could disappear, and they may be working in new jobs within the next 10 years that don’t even exist today. “You need to be well prepared,” he warned.
“Paul Charette has been a leader in both the business and post-secondary sectors of the Canadian economy,” says David Allwright, dean of the Chiu School of Business. “We are extremely proud to be able to recognize Mr. Charette’s contribution to Bow Valley College by awarding him an honorary business administration diploma.”
Both honorary diplomas were handed out by Laura Jo Gunter, president and CEO of BVC, which is Calgary and region’s only comprehensive community college with more than 15,000 full- and part-time students.