Current Students Info

Royal Roads announces honorary degree and Chancellor's award recipients

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 12:57pm
Susan Down

An artistic director, former politician and the founder of an international school will be honoured by Royal Roads University during the spring convocation, to be held at the Royal Theatre on June 19.

Pacific Opera Victoria artistic director Timothy Vernon and international school founder Sherman Jen will receive honorary degrees. Community activist and former federal and municipal politician Denise Savoie will receive the Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award.

The honorees will join a convocation ceremony for more than 350 students graduating from degree and certificate programs in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Management and the Centre for Applied Leadership and Management.

“This year’s honorees come from very different fields – education, performing arts and politics – but they share the attributes of creative leadership and strong community spirit. They are an inspiration to the university community,” said Royal Roads president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “We are privileged to have them join us today as we celebrate the achievements of our graduates. We wish them continued success as they make a difference in their lives and in their communities.”  

Vernon is the founding artistic director of Pacific Opera Victoria (POV), leading most of POV’s more than 100 productions since the company’s inception in 1980. Raised in Victoria, Vernon studied here and in Vienna. He received the Order of Canada in 2008 for his role in promoting opera.  

Jen is the founder and CEO of Maple Leaf Educational Systems and Maple Leaf International Schools. Born and raised in China, Jen opened the first international school recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Education, and the first offshore school accredited by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Classes are taught in Chinese and English, and graduates receive high school diplomas from China and British Columbia.  

Savoie served in elected office for 13 years, first as a Victoria city councillor and Capital Regional District director and then as a member of parliament where she served until 2012. During her career in education, she was a French teacher at Royal Roads Military College, the predecessor of Royal Roads University.  She is well known for her commitment to social justice and sustainability.

The convocation ceremonies are being held at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St. The morning ceremony, during which Vernon will be honoured, starts at 9:30 a.m. The afternoon ceremony, during which Savoie and Jen will receive their honours, begins at 1:30 p.m.


The public is invited to nominate outstanding individuals for honorary degrees and the Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award. Learn more at