Honorary degree recipients announced

Posted: May 31, 2012 1:00 p.m.

The University of Regina will give honorary degrees to three notable individuals:  a longtime public servant; a dedicated patron of the arts, education and corporate governance; and a bestselling author.
The University of Regina will give honorary degrees to three notable individuals: a longtime public servant; a dedicated patron of the arts, education and corporate governance; and a bestselling author. Photo: U of R Photography

The University of Regina is bestowing the highest honour it offers to longtime public servant Patrick G. Binns; dedicated patron of the arts, education and corporate governance, Adrian Burns; and, Dr. Ross King, bestselling author. The three are set to receive honorary degrees at the University of Regina's 38th annual spring convocation to be held on June 6-8, 2012, at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina, beginning at 2:00 p.m. daily. The honorary degrees will be conferred by University Chancellor Dr. William F. Ready, Q.C.

Patrick G. Binns
Patrick G. Binns was born in Weyburn, Sask. and received his schooling in Radville, Weyburn and Lloydminster. He earned a BA in economics and political science and a master’s degree in community development at the University of Alberta. He served as Canada's ambassador to Ireland from 2007-10 and currently serves as consul general of Canada for New England.

His career began in northern Alberta as a community development officer. In 1972 he moved to Prince Edward Island where he worked for the Rural Development Council and as a member of P.E.I.'s public service until 1978. He has received the Queens Anniversary Medal for outstanding public service, three times.

From 1978-84, he served in P.E.I.'s provincial legislature and held several cabinet portfolios. From 1984-88, he was the federal MP for Cardigan and served as a parliamentary secretary.

Binns entered the provincial Progressive Conservative party leadership race in 1996 and won a convincing first-ballot victory. He immediately set about organizing the party for an expected election. Going into the 1996 provincial election, the Conservatives held only a single seat in the provincial legislature. Under Binns leadership, on November 18, 1996, the Conservative party won 18 out of 27 seats.

Binns won a second mandate in 2000 when his party swept 26 of 27 seats, leaving a single opposition member in the legislature. In the provincial election of 2003, the Binns-led Conservatives won their third consecutive majority government and Binns became the first Conservative premier to accomplish the feat in over a century.

During his 11 years as premier, Binns established the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre, founded and led Team Atlantic trade missions abroad and promoted the bio-science industry in the province.

Adrian Burns
Adrian Burns has dedicated her career to Canadian broadcasting, the arts, education, corporate and public governance, and community involvement.

Born in Regina, she earned a degree in art history from the University of British Columbia and did graduate work in archaeology and art history at the British Academy in Rome, Italy. From 1969-79 she taught art history at Calgary’s Mount Royal College and in Calgary’s continuing education program.

Burns served as business editor at CTV's Calgary’s affiliate, CFCN, and also held positions in the broadcaster’s news and public affairs department as anchor, writer, and producer. Her work was recognized with three CANPRO awards, honouring excellence in Canada’s private television broadcasting.

From 1988-95, Burns served as a full-time commissioner of the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the regulator of all broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada. While with the CRTC, Burns helped shape the evolution of competition in the industry, including major reports on Radio FM policy, policy for religious broadcasting and ruled on key telecom rate and service decisions.

During the next six years, she was a full-time member of the Copyright Board of Canada. During that time, the Tribunal implemented a precedent-setting decision with respect to liability for Intellectual Property on the Internet. That decision has been lauded by the World Intellectual Property organization.

Formerly vice-chair of the Board of the National Arts Centre, she now serves as one of its trustees. She also formerly served as chair of Global Television’s $23.9 million Western Independent Producers Fund. Burns is a member of the Executive and Corporate Governance and Nominating committees of Shaw Communications. A business owner of Regina-based Western Ltd., Burns serves on the boards of several business and community organizations including the Carthy Foundation of Calgary and is an ambassador for the RCMP Heritage Centre. She has also served on the boards of the Banff Centre National Campaign and the Ottawa Art Gallery, among others.

In 2001, she received the United Way of Ottawa’s Community Builder Award and in 2003 received Saskatchewan’s Distinguished Service Award honouring non-residents who have made a substantial contribution to the province.

Dr. Ross King
Dr. Ross King grew up in North Portal, Sask. He earned a BA and MA in English through Luther College at the University of Regina before completing his doctoral work at York University. He spent several years as a post-doctoral research fellow at University College, London, England.

King is the best-selling author of five books on Italian, French and Canadian art and history. He has also published two historical novels, Domino and Ex-Libris and edited a collection of Leonardo da Vinci's fables, jokes and riddles. Translated into more than a dozen languages, his books have been nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, and the National Award for Arts Writing. He has won both the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, for The Judgment of Paris, and the BookSense Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the United States for Brunelleschi's Dome.

He has lectured widely in both Europe and North America, including events at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian, the Aspen Institute and the Frick Collection. He has also given lectures and guided tours in Florence, Rome, Paris and Giverny.

His most recent book Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, traces the artistic development of Tom Thomson and the future members of the Group of Seven over a dozen years in Canadian history beginning in 1912. The book is rigorously researched and drawn from archival documents and letters. It details not only the lives of the members of the Group of Seven but also the political and social history of Canada during a time when art exhibitions were venues for debates about Canadian national identity and cultural worth. The book was nominated for the Writers’ Trust of Canada non-fiction prize in 2010.