Three visionaries to receive honorary UBC degrees June 5
Dr. Peter Meekison, who served as the public administrator during Okanagan University College’s transformation into UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College four years ago, is one of three people receiving honorary UBC degrees at this year’s UBC Okanagan convocation ceremonies on June 5.
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, two of Canada’s foremost video artists, will also receive honorary degrees, considered to be UBC’s highest honour.
Meekison will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Steele and Tomszak will receive honorary Doctor of Literature degrees.
Meekison has had a distinguished and varied career in law, as a university professor, government administrator, and a leader in public service. He is widely known as the dean of Canadian federalism and an expert on Canadian federal-provincial relations and constitutional policy. He was the author of a proposal for the constitutional amending formula that was incorporated into Canada’s Constitution Act of 1981.
He served as Vice President, Academic, at the University of Alberta in the mid-1980s, and was involved on behalf of the Alberta government in both the 1987 Meech Lake Accord discussions and the 1992 Charlottetown Accord process.
In 1993, Meekison was appointed to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The five-volume report prepared by that commission is considered one of the most significant and extensive studies ever undertaken of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Canada’s Aboriginal population.
Steele and Tomczak are both professors at the University of Toronto, and are recognized around the world for their artistic achievements and applauded here at home for their commitment to art education and Canada’s video art community.
Considered two of Canada’s most important new media artists, Steele and Tomczak have had a profound influence on artistic practice and arts education in Canada. They founded Vtape, an artist-run distribution centre for video art, in 1980 to promote the growth of the video medium as a recognized art form.
The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies’ Visual Arts program at UBC Okanagan houses the CanWest Global Centre for Artists’ Video, the only such university centre in Canada devoted to production and research in video art.
*This citation was originally released on March 17, 2009 on UBC’s Okanagan News website.