posted on May 31: Faculty of Social Sciences graduands celebrate Convocation today


Graduands from the Faculty of Social Sciences will be centre stage at Hamilton Place today as Convocation continues.

This morning's graduands hail from Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Labour Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies and Teaching. The honorary degree recipients at this morning's ceremonies are Robert Giroux, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and Colin Millar, retired Hamilton-Wentworth police chief.

This afternoon, graduands come from the fields of Gerontology, Kinesiology, Social Work and Sociology. Honorary degrees will be awarded to retired nursing professor Mary Buzzell, who is recognized as a leader in the fields of gerontology and long-term care and Hamilton lawyer Jack Pelech.

Two graduands of the Department of Religious Studies, one of the smallest departments on campus, are among those who will receive medals as the outstanding graduands in Social Sciences.

The honorary degree recipients at today's Convocations are:

Faculty of Social Sciences Honorary Degree Recipients (Morning)

* will give Convocation address

Robert Giroux*

Doctor of Laws

Since 1995 Robert Giroux has been president and CEO of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), an organization that provides public policy, advocacy and communication services and develops partnerships for post-secondary institutions across the country.

Prior to becoming AUCC president, Giroux was secretary of the Treasury Board and comptroller general of Canada (1994-1995). From October 1990 to May 1994 he was president of the Public Service Commission of Canada.

He has held various posts in the Canadian government including assistant deputy minister, fitness and amateur sport, Health Canada (formerly called National Health and Welfare Canada); deputy minister, customs and excise, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada); and deputy minister, Public Works Canada.

Giroux is a member of the Order of Canada and received the Trudeau Medal from the faculty of administration at the University of Ottawa. He is a member of various boards and organizations including the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Colin Millar

Doctor of Laws

Colin Millar has spent a lifetime preserving law and order and teaching others how to do it. Millar spent 37 years in law enforcement, retiring from his role as police chief of the Hamilton-Wentworth regional police in 1992.

He led a staff of 932 police officers and civilians and was responsible for a $58-million operating budget.

Millar began his career in 1955, graduating first in his recruit class and starting as a uniform patrol officer. After a stint in patrol and identification/records he was promoted to sergeant. During this period he began his remarkable association with the training and education of police officers.

After attending night school at McMaster and Mohawk College, he graduated from the Law and Security Administration Program and was seconded to the Ontario Police College as an instructor in 1971. He was promoted to inspector in 1973 and then loaned to the Ontario Police Commission to evaluate police training procedures across the province. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1976 and implemented a senior command training program for Ontario command officers after graduating from the National Senior Command Course in Exeter, England.

In addition to his professional contributions, Millar has served as a volunteer on numerous community boards and non-profit organizations including the Canusa Games committee, the Tiger-Cat trust fund and the Canadian Cancer Society. He received the City of Hamilton's Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award in 1995.

Faculty of Social Sciences Honorary Degree Recipients (Afternoon)

Mary Buzzell

Doctor of Laws

Mary Buzzell is a teacher, a scholar, a clinician and an advocate whose life and work exemplify excellence, commitment and caring. Her work in the area of caring for life and health, especially of older and dependent individuals, spans four decades and crosses the domains of health, social sciences, humanities and gerontology.

A native of Montreal, she received her bachelor of nursing from McGill University and holds master's degrees in both nursing and education from Boston University. Buzzell was a professor in the School of Nursing from 1972 until 1988 and held a joint appointment with the Victorian Order of Nurses, Hamilton-Wentworth. During this time she was director of McMaster's pioneering nurse practitioner program and worked as a consultant in Australia, Kenya, Pakistan and Tanzania.

After retiring from McMaster in 1989, Buzzell joined the VON, Hamilton-Wentworth as director of community relations until 1997. She is the author of numerous articles and continues to teach and present workshops on ethics and humanizing long term care.

Buzzell has been honoured by many of the organizations she has served including a national award for Service of the Greatest Distinction from VON Canada.

John (Jack) Pelech*

Doctor of Laws

Lawyer Jack Pelech has been a prominent member of the Hamilton legal establishment since he was called to the bar in 1959. Pelech graduated from McMaster in 1955 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and business. He studied law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

He has served on the Ontario Legal Aid Committee since its inception in 1967, acting as committee chair in 1975, and has been a member of the Lawyers' Club in Hamilton for 34 years.

Pelech has served two terms as chair of the McMaster Alumni Fund and has served on the executive of the McMaster Alumni Association.

An avid sports fan, Pelech coached football at McMaster from 1962 to 1966 and in 1987 was inducted into the McMaster Sport Hall of Fame. He has been involved in the Hamilton Metropolitan YMCA, the Hamilton Board of Park Management, the Hamilton Pan American Games bid committees and 1994 Commonwealth Games bid committee, and the National Advisory Council of Fitness and Amateur Sport.

The Inter-Provincial Sports and Recreational Council instituted the Jack Pelech Award to be handed out at all Canada Games to the province or territory whose mission staff, coaches, managers and athletes best exemplify a combination of competitive performance, sportsmanship, co-operation and friendship.