Four business and community leaders receive honorary degrees at NAIT convocation

Four business and community leaders receive honorary degrees at NAIT convocation

Published on May 06, 2019

Graduates from more than 120 programs celebrated at weekend ceremonies

EDMONTON – NAIT’s 56th convocation celebrated about 7,700 graduates and recognized four community leaders with honorary degrees.

Paul Verhesen, president of Clark Builders, received an honorary Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management degree at the Thursday, May 2 ceremony. During his tenure, Clark Builders has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2007, and as one of Canada’s Top Employers since 2008. In 2018, he received the Edmonton Construction Association Claude Alston Award, recognizing extraordinary achievements and contributions to Edmonton and the construction community. He supports the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Edmonton Opera Association, Edmonton Public Library and NorQuest College.

William Andrew Jean Morin, chief of Enoch Cree Nation, received an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Friday, May 3 afternoon ceremony. He was elected the youngest chief of Enoch Cree Nation in 2015, at the age of 28. He is a two-time NAIT alumnus (Civil Engineering Technology ’11 and Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management ’13) who has worked to develop and diversify the First Nation’s businesses. He was honoured with the Aboriginal Role Models of Alberta Youth & Academic Award in 2012.

Diane Brickner, vice-chairman of the board of directors of Peace Hills Insurance, received an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Saturday, May 4 morning ceremony. She has worked with Peace Hills, a company owned by the Samson Cree Nation, since its inception in 1982. She was appointed president and CEO in 1990, becoming the first female president of an insurance company in Canada. She retired as president and CEO in 2015. She served on NAIT’s board of governors from 2010 to 2016 and as part of the campaign cabinet for Essential: The NAIT Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in NAIT’s history. She has received many awards and accolades, including Alberta Venture’s Business Person of the year in 2013.

George Schluessel, founder of ProCura Real Estate Services, received an honorary Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management degree at the Saturday, May 4 afternoon ceremony. He attended NAIT’s Architectural Technology program (1976-78) and has been involved in commercial and residential development across Western Canada since 1979. In 2008, he was named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture magazine and his buildings have won multiple awards. ProCura also supports various health, education, arts, youth and community-based organizations in Edmonton and Calgary.

The polytechnic hosted convocation ceremonies at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from May 2-4. About 1,850 students crossed the stage during five ceremonies, receiving degrees, diplomas and certificates.

QUICK FACTS

  • About 10,000 guests cheered on the graduates
  • The class of 2019 joins an alumni family of more than 200,000 NAIT grads from 95 countries

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QUOTES

Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT President and CEO
“I am so proud of our graduates. They are essential to our city, province and country. NAIT grads can be found making an impact in so many areas from health and life sciences, to skilled trades, business and science and technology. I am also thrilled to be honouring exceptional individuals who are making a real difference with honorary degrees.”

Dr. Sue Fitzsimmons, NAIT Vice-President Academic and Provost
“Everywhere I go, I meet NAIT graduates. They always tell me how amazing this institution is. Congratulations to this year’s graduates, who are joining thousands of others in this province and beyond who work every day to create a prosperous Alberta!”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With nearly 40,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta’s prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.