Algoma U Convocation Honours 252 Graduates


Shirley Horn Sworn in as First Chancellor, Errol Caldwell to Receive Honorary Degree

Algoma University will celebrate its largest graduating class during the annual convocation ceremony on the waterfront of Sault Ste. Marie this Saturday, June 13th at 2:00pm. The ceremony at the Roberta Bondar Park Tent Pavilion will see 252 students receive their degrees, as well as Shirley Horn being installed as the University’s first-ever Chancellor.

“On behalf of Algoma University, we extend our warmest congratulations to the Class of 2015!” said Dr. Richard Myers, President of Algoma U. “This year represents our largest graduating class to date, and demonstrates the ongoing success of Algoma University. We are also pleased to have an opportunity at the convocation ceremonies to install Shirley Horn as our first-ever Chancellor, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our post-secondary institution.”

In March, it was announced that Shirley Horn would become Algoma U’s first-ever Chancellor. Algoma U’s Chancellor serves as the titular head of the institution. The Chancellor participates in major ceremonies and events, including the annual September induction as well as convocation. The Chancellor confers all degrees. By acting as an ambassador of Algoma U, the Chancellor also helps to raise the profile of the University as well as assist in both relationship-building and fundraising initiatives. The Chancellor provides support to the University President and promotes the University’s special mission in regards to Anishinaabe education. Horn is from Chapleau, Ontario, and attended the Shingwauk Indian Residential School. In 1981, she helped found the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, a constructive organization that has been a leader at the national level on the residential school issue. She remained in a leadership position with the organization for 34 years. In 2005, Horn returned to the Shingwauk School site – now the home of Algoma University – to enrol in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. A graduate of both the Residential School and the University, she received a standing ovation at Convocation in 2009. Horn has been Chief of the Missanabie Cree First Nation for 10 years and has also been a member of the Missanabie Cree Elders’ Council.

As part of the ceremony honouring the graduates, the University will confer an Honorary Degree, a Doctor of Science, on Errol Caldwell. Caldwell has been a defender and supporter of science-based and conservation-minded economic development and growth in Sault Ste. Marie. Caldwell has worked for over 22 years with the Canadian Forest Service on Biotechnology, pest control, and invasive species management in Sault Ste. Marie. In 2005, he created Science Enterprise Algoma, a non-profit organization, which promotes connections between the life sciences and commercialization, which later merged with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre in 2008. Caldwell is currently an advisor to the Rural Agricultural Innovation Network (RAIN) and is the Managing Director of the Invasive Species Research Institute at Algoma U, which he helped to develop. He was instrumental in advocating for the local food festival Eat Algoma, which attracted 2,000 participants in 2014, and has helped secure funding through grants for biology faculty members at Algoma U. Caldwell also worked with the University to spearhead the Remedial Action Plan for St. Mary’s River.

Justus Veldman, CEO of Riversedge Development, will be recognized as an Honorary Member of Algoma University, an award granted by the Algoma University Senate. The award is presented to individuals who have contributed distinctive and distinguished service to Algoma University, as well as the community. Initially, Veldman came to the community as a representative of the company who had purchased St. Marys Paper. Falling in love with the site and the infrastructure, Veldman has undertaken a massive urban renewal initiative, which includes a market, insectarium, recording studio, concert hall, and later, a new station for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The original Administration Building and Machine Shop have become homes to Algoma U’s Music and Fine Arts program, which has allowed each academic program to grow in numbers and attract students from outside of the community to study at Algoma U.

Madeleine Brodbeck is receiving the Governor General’s Silver Medal for exceptional academic achievement. Established in 1873, the medal is one of the most prestigious awards that can be received by a student in a Canadian educational institution. The Silver medal is awarded to the undergraduate student who achieves the highest academic standing upon graduation from a Bachelor’s degree program.

“Convocation is a special day when the University has an opportunity to highlight the academic achievements of our graduating students,” added David Marasco, University Registrar. “This Convocation will be exceptional since we will be recognizing our largest class as well as installing our first Chancellor.”

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the Office of the Registrar for more information by emailing [email protected] or by calling the University at 705-949-2301, ext. 4216.

About Algoma University

Algoma University offers a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences degree options including programs in Psychology, Computer Science, Business Administration, Fine Arts, Community Economic & Social Development, and Biology in Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton and Timmins. As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma U is committed to respecting Anishinaabe knowledge and culture. To learn more about Algoma University, visit