About the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, in recognition of outstanding contribution to journalism at the morning ceremony on November 10, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
The Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After fleeing the brutal regime of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, she arrived in Canada with her family as a refugee in 1968. Excelling in school, she pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in Italian and Hispanic languages, literature and comparative literature at the University of Montreal, where she taught at the Faculty of Italian Studies.
During her studies, Jean worked for 10 years with shelters for battered women, helping to establish a network of emergency shelters across Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later became an award-winning journalist and anchor of news programs at Radio-Canada and the CBC. Jean also took part in several documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond.
In 2005, Jean became Canada’s 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief. Throughout her mandate, she promoted dialogue and community engagement among citizens, with particular emphasis on empowering youth. A fervent practitioner of cultural diplomacy, she led 40 missions and state visits in Afghanistan and China, as well as across Africa, the Americas and Europe. She is fluent in five languages, including French, English, Italian, Spanish and Creole, and fluently reads Portuguese.
Jean is now co-president of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti and Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. She was Grand Témoin de la Francophonie for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
About the Hon. John D. Richard, O.C.
The Honourable John D. Richard was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, in recognition of outstanding contribution to public life in defence of the independence of the judiciary and service to Carleton University at the afternoon ceremony on November 10, 2012 at 2 p.m.
Born in Ottawa on July 30, 1934, Richard graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Political Science in 1955 and from the Osgoode Hall Law School in 1959. He was called to the Ontario Bar the same year. In 1960, he graduated from Louvain University in Belgium with a Licentiate in Political and Social Sciences.
He practiced law with Gowling & Henderson from 1960 to 1988 and with Lang Michener from 1988 to 1994. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1976, and Judge of the Federal Court of Canada in 1994. In 1999, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada. With a change in the law in 2003, he became the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal and served there until he retired in 2009.
He had been involved in many charitable and philanthropic organizations prior to his appointment to the judiciary. In 2009, he was made the Honorary Chairperson of Reach Canada.