The tradition of Mount Allison University offering honorary degrees at Convocation dates back to 1866, when George Scott received the first Doctor of Divinity. Since, more than 650 individuals have been recognized for their contributions to society. Honorary degrees are awarded on an annual basis to individuals who are nationally or internationally recognized in their fields, who have demonstrated service to Mount Allison or the wider community, or to prominent public persons. The first Acadian to receive this distinction from Mount Allison University was Père Clément Cormier, one of the foremost leaders and educators of the Acadian people and founder of l'Université de Moncton. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws at the Centenary Convocation in 1958.
The following list provides more information on every member of the Acadian community who has been commended by Mount Allison University for their philanthropic work.
Père Clément Cormier was born on 15 January 1910 in Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. He was the son of Clément Cormier (1878-1928) and Léontine Breau (1884-1954). He received his early education at l’École Saint-Bernard in Moncton and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from the Collège Saint-Joseph in 1931. His father’s journalistic career, first as the administrator of L’Évangeline and later as owner and editor of L’Acadien, appealed to Cormier, but upon his father’s death in 1928, he turned towards religious vocation. He entered the Séminaire des Pères de Sainte-Croix in Montreal in 1931, earning a master’s degree in theology from l’Université de Montreal. He was ordained as a priest in 1936. Between 1936 and 1938, Cormier taught at the Collège Sainte-Croix in Montreal, and in the fall of 1938, he undertook further studies at l’École des sciences sociales, économiques et politiques, recently founded by Father George-Henri Lévesque at l’Université Laval. In 1940 at the age of 30, Clément interrupted his studies at Laval in order to fill the position of Dean of Studies at l’Université Saint-Joseph, where he had received his Bachelor of Arts in 1931. In 1948, Cormier was made President of the l’Université Saint-Joseph, and in 1963, he became President-founder of l’Université de Moncton. Between 1968 until his retirement in 1974, he acted as the director of the Centre d’études acadiennes, and continued to serve the university as Chancellor until 1978.
Cormier was a prolific author of Acadian history and an important figure in the promotion of Acadian culture and language, serving as a member of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1963. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967 and promoted to Companion in 1972, and became a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1977. He was the first Acadian to receive an honorary degree from Mount Allison University, nearly a century after Mount Allison began awarding honorary degrees in 1866. The award was bestowed upon him at the Centenary Convocation, held in the Charles Fawcett Memorial Hall on 16 August 1958.
Louis J. Robichaud was born on 21 October 1925 in St-Antoine, New Brunswick, one of ten children born to Amédée Robichaud and Annie Richard. He received his early education at the Juvénat Saint-Jean-Eudes in Bathurst and attended the Collège du Sacré-Coeur (now part of the l’Université de Moncton), graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1947. Robichaud subsequently made his way to l’Université Laval, where he studied economics and political science. Financially unable to undertake studies in Law, he apprenticed under Albany Robichaud and was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1952. That same year, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick and became provincial leader of the Liberal Party in 1958, leading it to victory in 1960, when he became the first Acadian to be elected Premier of New Brunswick. Robichaud is remembered by many for providing Acadians with equal status and opportunity in the province. His administration saw the establishment of l’Université de Moncton and the passage of the Official Languages Act, which made New Brunswick the first bilingual province in Canada. During his ten years as Premier, Robichaud implemented a number of controversial progressive reforms, including the “Equal Opportunity Program.”
Following his term as Premier, Robichaud was called to the Senate in 1973, where he continued to support bilingualism and national unity until his retirement in 2000. He was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967 and was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 1971. He received an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Mount Allison University in 1961. The honor was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Charles Fawcett Memorial Hall on 16 May 1961.
Adélard Savoie was born on 21 November 1922 in Neguac, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, the son of Prudent B. Savoie and Jeanne Marie Geneviève Basque. Savoie was elected deputy at the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1948. Savoie apprenticed under Albany Robichaud and was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1950. That same year, he established his own law firm in Moncton. In 1952, he became the founding mayor of the City of Dieppe. He also served as a member of the Westmorland City Council and was appointed to the Queen’s Counsel in 1966. After sitting on the Board of Governors of l’Université de Moncton for a number of years, he succeeded Père Clément Cormier as President of the University in 1967.
During his time as rector, Savoie served as vice-president of l’Association Acadienne d’Éducation and as member of the Executive Council of the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Executive Council of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and the International Association of University Presidents. In his professional capacity, he has served as an organizer of the Bicentennial celebrations of Acadians, as director of the Caisse populaire of Dieppe, as president of the Imprimerie acadienne ltée, as vice-president and legal counsel of Société l’Assomption, and as legal adviser to La Société Nationale des Acadiens, to name a few. Savoie was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) from Mount Allison University at the Fall Convocation of 1969. The award was bestowed upon him at the Founder’s Day Convocation, held in the Charles Fawcett Memorial Hall on 23 October 1969.
Hédard J. Robichaud was born on 2 November 1911 in Shippagan, Gloucester County, New Brunswick. He was the son of politician Jean George Robichaud (1883-1969) and Amanda Boudreau (1884-1972). He received his early education at Académie Ste-Famille in Tracadie, l’Université du Sacré-Cœur in Bathurst, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from l’Université St. Joseph in Memramcook in 1931. Robichaud worked as an inspector for the Federal Department of Fisheries before being made Director of Fisheries for the province of New Brunswick in 1946. In 1953, Robichaud was elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal candidate and was re-elected in the 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963 and 1965 elections. Following the election of 1963, Robichaud was invited by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson to join the Cabinet as Minister of Fisheries. In this capacity, Robichaud organized a conference where representatives from all ten provinces met to inaugurate a national program on Canada’s fisheries. Robichaud was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1968. In 1970, Robichaud was selected by Queen Elizabeth II to act as Special Ambassador of Canada on the occasion of the inauguration of President Allende of the Republic of Chile.
On 8 October 1971, Robichaud tendered his resignation as a member of Senate to assume the Office of Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of New Brunswick. He was the first Acadian to occupy this important office, and remained in this position until his retirement in 1981. In 1985, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 1974. The award was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Charles Fawcett Memorial Hall on 6 May 1974.
Roméo LeBlanc was born on 18 December 1927 in Memramcook, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. He was the youngest of seven children born to Philias LeBlanc (1878-1962) and Marie Lucie Claire LeBlanc (1887-1936). He earned a Bachelor of Arts (1948) and a Bachelor of Education (1951) from Collège St. Joseph in Memramcook and subsequently won a scholarship to attend l’Université de Paris, where he studied French civilization from 1953 to 1955. Upon his return to New Brunswick, LeBlanc taught education in Fredericton before pursuing a career in journalism with Radio-Canada in 1959. He became Press Secretary for Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in 1967 and continued in this capacity under Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau until 1971. In 1972, he was elected to the House of Commons as a representative of the Liberal Party. This position paved the way for his 1974 appointment as the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Trudeau. LeBlanc became the longest-serving fisheries minister and gained a lasting reputation as “the fisherman’s friend.” He was appointed to the Senate in 1984 and was made Speaker of the Senate in 1993. In 1995, LeBlanc became the first Acadian to serve as Governor General of Canada. As vice-regal, LeBlanc focused on the “unsung heroes” of Canada, creating the Caring Canadian Award and inaugurating National Aboriginal Day as an annual observance.
Roméo LeBlanc was seen as a symbol of reconciliation between Acadians and the Canadian Crown. His time as politician and as Governor-General drew national attention to the culture and history of Acadians. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 1977. The award was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Charles Fawcett Memorial Hall on 9 May 1977.
The works of Antonine Maillet have been crucial in the preservation of the cultural and linguistic past of the Acadians. Maillet was born on 10 May 1929 in Bouctouche, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. She was the daughter of Léonide Maillet (1883-1954) and Virginie Cormier (1892-1943). She received her early education in Bouctouche and at l’Academie Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur in Memramcook, earning a Bachelor of Arts from the Collège Notre-Dame d'Acadie in 1950. She subsequently earned a Master’s of Arts from l’Université de Moncton, a degree in literature (license en lettres) from l’Université de Montréal, and a Doctorate in Literature from l’Université Laval. Maillet taught literature and folklore at several universities, but it is as a writer that she is best known.
Her first novel, Pointe-aux-Coques, was published in 1958, and like many of her subsequent titles, the work focused on Acadian identity and culture. She has published over fifty novels, stories, plays, and essays, and her large body of work has earned her numerous awards, including the Prix Champlain (1960), the Prix du Conseil des Arts (1960), the Governor General’s Award for fiction (1972), the Chalmers Canadian Plays Awards (1980), the Royal Society of Canada’s Lorne Pierce Medal (1980), and the Prix Samuel de Champlain (2002). In 1979, she became the first non-European recipient of the Prix Goncourt for her work Pélagie-la-Charrette.
Maillet was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and was promoted to Companion in 1981. She became an Officier des Arts et des Lettres de France in 1985. She served as chancellor of l’Université de Moncton between 1989 and 2000 and was made a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1992. In 2005, Maillet was inducted into the Order of New Brunswick. She received an Honorary Doctor of Literature from Mount Allison University in 1979, which was bestowed upon her at the Founder’s Day celebrations and the 10th anniversary Canadian Studies on 19 October 1979.
« Les oeuvres d'Antonine Maillet nous rappellent Port-Royal, Grand-Pré, le Grand Dérangement, le retour d'exil . . . Elles soulignent la vivacité du souvenir, la vitalité d'un peuple qui affirme maintenant, 'on est venu, c'est pour rester.' » - Kathryn Hamer, citation for the honorary degree, 19 October 1979
Florine Després, formerly Sister Marie Lucienne, was born on 12 October 1913 in Cocagne, Kent County, New Brunswick. She was the daughter of Joseph Després (1869-1947) and Amanda Sutton (1870-1965). She received her early education in St. Anselme and attended the convent in Memramcook, New Brunswick. She started teaching music at the Collège St-Joseph in Memramcook and in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. In 1943, Després attended the Mount Allison Maritime Summer School, studying with Professors James Noel Bunton, Harold Hammer, and Ethel Peake. In 1946, she undertook studies at the prestigious école Vincent D’indy in Montreal, Quebec, earning a Bachelor’s of Music with concentrations in piano and singing in 1949. She also obtained a diploma in Gregorian chant from Laval University in 1952.
Després was the founder of the school of music at the Collège Notre-Dame d’Acadie, where she was director and professor between 1949 and 1965. Under her direction, the school choir won the City of Lincoln Trophies on five occasions, the Canadian emblem of excellence in choral singing. From 1968 until her retirement in 1982, Després was professor of methodology in elementary and secondary education at l’Université de Moncton, playing a leading role in music education for Francophone teachers in the Maritime Provinces.
L’Université de Moncton awarded her an honorary degree in 1981. In 1990, the French Minister of Culture raised her to the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre francais des arts et des lettres (Knight in the French Order of Arts and Letters), highlighting her contributions to the dissemination of the French language and culture. She received an Honorary Doctor of Music from Mount Allison University in 1984. The honour was bestowed upon her at the fall convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 14 October 1984.
"Her own standards have gone a long way to establish the reputation enjoyed by many Acadian convents throughout the Maritimes today. Many of the finest teachers in these institutions and the University of Moncton had passed through her sentitive and capable hands." - Citation for the honorary degree, 14 October 1984
Donald Joseph Savoie was born in 1947 in Saint-Maurice, Kent County, New Brunswick and grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from l’Université de Moncton, and also holds a Masters degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Doctorate in Politics from Oxford University.
Savoie has worked extensively in both government and academia. He has held senior positions with the Government of Canada and has advised governments in Canada, Russia, China, Brazil, Hungary and Bosnia Herzegovina. Savoie has also served as an advisor to several international organizations, including the OECD, the World Bank, and the United Nations, and was called upon to participate on various advisory and editorial committees, including the Advisory Committee of the Order of Canada and the National Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery. In addition to his numerous executive accomplishments, Savoie has published forty-five books and more than two hundred articles on the topic of political science, public administration, and public policy.
Savoie was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1992, made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, and a member of the Order of New Brunswick in 2011. He has been awarded nine honorary doctorates, including a Doctor of Literature from Oxford University in 2000. He was presented with the Prix-France-Acadie in 1993 for his book Les défis de l’industrie des pêches au Nouveau-Brunswick and has won numerous other awards, including the Vanier Gold Medal (1999), the Trudeau Fellowships Prize (2004), the Canada 150 Medal, and Yvan Allaire Medal (Royal Society of Canada, 2018). In 2015, he became the first scholar from an Atlantic Canadian university to be awarded the Killam Prize in Social Sciences. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 1997. The honour was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 12 May 1997.
Michel Bastarache was born on 10 June 1947 in Quebec City, Quebec, the son of Alfred Bastarache and Madeleine Claveau. He grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, where he received a Bachelor of Arts from l’Université de Moncton in 1967. Bastarache was subsequently awarded a diploma in public law (Licence d'études supérieures en droit public) from l’Université de Nice (1972), a Bachelor of Law LL.L. in civil law from the University of Montreal, and an LL.B. in common law from the University of Ottawa (1978). He was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1980, the Alberta Bar in 1985, and the Ontario Bar in 1986.
Bastarache became professor of law at l’Université de Moncton in 1978, where he was made Dean of the Law School in 1980. That same year, he became a legal translator for the Government of New Brunswick, and in 1983 was appointed Secretary General of the Société des Acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick. He held this position for a year before joining Assomption-Vie (Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company). In 1984, he accepted a position as Associate Dean of Common Law with the Department of Law at the University of Ottawa, and continued to practice law in Ottawa until 1989, when he returned to Moncton to serve as President and CEO of Assomption-Vie. He was appointed to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in 1995 and in 1997 was made a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Bastarache was a fervent supporter of minority language rights, and he worked tirelessly to advance the rights of linguistic minorities across Canada, from Francophones in British Columbia, to Anglophones in Quebec, to Acadians in the Maritime Provinces.
He was awarded the medal of the 125th Anniversary of Canada,was appointed member of the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique in 1981, and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2001. The honour was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 14 May 2001.
« Dans notre petite communauté universitaire, nous sommes fiers de pouvoir aujourd’hui rendre hommage à un fils de la province et de l’Acadie, qui apporte à l’exercice de ses fonctions un sérieux et un dévouement profonds, élargissant le rayonnement de la francophonie canadienne par sa présence à la Cour Suprême. Connu dans tout le Canada comme juriste, il l’est tout autant comme Acadien. » - Kathryn Hamer, citation for the honorary degree, 14 May 2001
Herménégilde Chiasson was born on 7 April 1946 in Saint-Simon, New Brunswick. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from l’Université de Moncton in 1967, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University in 1972, and a Masters in Esthetics from the University of Paris in Sobornne in 1975, and a Masters of Fine Arts from the State University of New York in 1981. Chiasson subsequently returned to the University of Paris, where he earned a Doctorate in 1983.
Chiasson has been actively involved in many areas of Acadian art and culture throughout his acreer. Between 1968 and 1985, Chiasson served as director, playwright, journalist and researcher with Radio-Canada. During this time, Chiasson also served as a founding member of the Aberdeen cooperative (1965), director of the Galerie d’Art at l’Université de Moncton (1974), president of the Galerie Sans Nom (1980), and founding president of the publishing house Éditions Perce-Neige (1984). In 1988, Chiasson became a professor of the history of Art and Cinema at l’Université de Moncton, a position he held for fifteen years. He continued to be of extraordinary service to the arts, serving as founding member of Imago (1987), founding president of Productions du Phare-Est (1998), curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (1994), and president of the Association acadienne des artistes professionnel(le)s du Nouveau- Brunswick (1993-1995). In addition to his numerous administrative accomplishments, Chiasson has found great success in art, poetry, theatre, and film. He has published 18 books of poetry, written 25 plays, directed 15 documentary films, and participated in more than 100 exhibitions. His literary endeavours have earned him the Prix France-Acadie twice (1986 and 1992) and his film Épopée (1996), which explored music as a symbol of the resistance and perseverance of the Acadian people, won Best Documentary Film at the Festival international du film francophone de Namur.
Chiasson was made Chevalier de l'Ordre français des Arts et des Lettres in 1990 and was honored with l'Ordre des francophones d'Amérique in 1993. He is the recipient of le Grand Prix de la francophonie canadienne (1999), the prestigious Prix quinquennal Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie (2003) and le Prix Montfort (2004). He has also been awarded membership in the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of Canada, the Order of New Brunswick and the Order of Canada. Between 2003 and 2009, Chiasson served as the 29th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2004. The honour was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 10 May 2004.
“Hermé, as he will always be known to his friends and colleagues . . . is an accomplished painter, poet, journalist, film maker and playwright whose visual and literary talents have added materially to the flowing of Acadian arts and letters.” – Thaddeus Holownia, citation for the honorary degree, 10 May 2004.
Marie-Marthe Aldéa Landry was born on 27 December 1945 in Sainte-Cécile, New Brunswick. She received a Bachelor of Arts from l’Université de Moncton and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick, and was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1971. Landry begun her career as a civil servant with the New Brunswick Department of Justice, where she served as legal cousel on the 1973 Revised Statues of New Brunswick Project from 1971 to 1975, and as Director of Legal Translation and Computerization from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, Landry co-founded the law firm Tremblay, Landry, Landry, where she worked as a legal practitioner for ten years. She subsequently served as a Member of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly from 1987 to 1991. In 1993, Landry became president of Landal Inc., a consulting firm offering integrated services in organizational and business development and in International Cooperation based in Moncton, New Brunswick. Landry became the first woman to serve as chair of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and has sat on
the board of directors of several corporations.
Landry was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987 and to the Privy Council of Canada in 2005. She was also awarded the Order of Canada in 2006 and received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2009, the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce presented her with the Prix Murielle Fergusson Award, which recognizes outstanding women in business and leadership roles. Landry was named one of the Top 100: Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network in both 2009 and 2010. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2008. The honour was bestowed upon her at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 26 May 2008.
Suzie LeBlanc was born on 27 October 1961 in Edmundston, New Brunswick. As a child, LeBlanc participated in the young choir Les Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie and also played the piano and the flute. In 1976, her family moved to Montreal, where she continued to pursue her interest in music. She studied harpsichord performance at the Université de Montréal, Concordia, and McGill, and studied voice in Amsterdam and London. From there, she began an international singing career, specializing in the repertoires of Renaissance and Baroque France, Italy, Germany, England, and Spain. She has worked with The Consort of Musicke, Fretwork, Musica Antiqua Köln, Sequentia, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Tragicomedia, the Hilliard Ensemble, Concerto Palatino, Redbyrd and the Purcell Quartet as well as with several symphony orchestras in Canada and the US. Her records have also garnered international praise, including her two albums of Acadian folksongs, La mer jolie (2004) and Tout passe (2007). Her interest in Acadian traditional music was the subject of Donal winkler’s film suxie LeBlanc: A Musical Quest (2007).
In 2000, LeBlanc founded Le nouvel Opéra, of which she remains co-artistic director. She was also the founder and first artistic director of the Académie Baroque de Montréal, where she teaches baroque singing at the Université de Montréal. In 2014, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada for "contributing to the development of early-period music and Acadian culture as a singer and teacher.” She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2009. The honour was bestowed upon her at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 25 May 2009.
“The goal of historically informed performance is to perform a work in a manner that the composer would recognize if he were to return to earth. This is achieved by careful attention to contemporary performance practices gleaned from working with original instruments or reconstruction, as well as examining treatises and other writings. But above all it requires a high degree of musicality and musical intellect, qualities that Suzie LeBlanc possesses in abundance.” – Stephen McClatchie, citation for the honorary degree, 25 May 2005
Bernard Richard was born on 11 April 1951 in Toronto, Ontario and was raised in Cap-Pelé, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from l’Université de Moncton and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick.
Richard first entered politics as a candidate for the Parti Acadien in the 1974 provincial election. He ran unsuccessfully, and subsequently turned his attention to municipal politics in his native village of Cap-Pelé, where he served as deputy mayor from 1977 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1984, he served as secretary general of the Société Nationale de l’Acadie. In 1991, Richard returned to provincial politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick as a Liberal candidate. He was re-elected in 1995, 1999, and 2003. During this time, he held several Cabinet positions, including Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, Acting Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Minister of Education. In 2001, Richard was chosen as Leader of the Official opposition and subsequently served as caucus chair, and house leader.
In 2004, Richard was named ombudsman of New Brunswick, and in 2006 was appointed New Brunswick’s first Child and Youth Advocate. In this capacity, he focused primarily on issues of mental health in early childhood and adolescence and and the success and protection of indigenous youth. He retired from both positions in 2011, but has remained a staunch advocate of children’s rights across Canada.
Richard has been a member of numerous organizations. He has chaired the Board of Directors of Plan Canada as well as the Fondational Nationale de l’Acadie, and is founder and first chair of the First Nations Children’s Futures Fund. He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Léger-Comeau Medal of the Société Nationale de l'Acadie, l’Ordre de Mérite de l’Université de Moncton, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, an award of merit by the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick (AEFNB), the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award, amongst others, and has also been named Queen's counsel. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2013. The honour was bestowed upon him at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 13 May 2013.
France Daigle was born on 18 November 1953 in Moncton, New Brunswick, where she received a Bachelor of Arts from l’Université de Moncton in 1976. In her early career, Daigle worked as a journalist with l’Évangeline, as a translator for Marine Atlantic, and spent more than a decade with Radio-Canada Acadie.
Her first book, Sans jamais parler du vent, was published by Éditions d’Acadie in 1983. Since, Daigle has published more than a dozen works of prose and poetry, six of which have been translated to English, as well as seven plays, most of which were produced by the Collectif Moncton-Sable. With her highly-poetic postmodernist style, Daigle quickly established herself as one of the foremost voices in Acadian literature. Several of her works explore themes of Acadian identity and the intricacies of Chiac, an idiom spoken most commonly by Acadians in her native south-eastern area of New Brunswick that mixes an old and modern French with English words and syntax. In works like Pour sûr (2011), Daigle has captured in dialogue the linguistic reality of many present-day Acadians.
The quality of Daigle’s work has earned her multiple awards, including the Prix Pascal-Poirier d'excellence en littérature francophone (1991), the Prix France-Acadie (1998), the Governor General’s Literacy Award for Fiction (2012), the Prix littéraire Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie (2012), and the Prix Champlain (2012). She sits regularly on juries for the Canada Council for the Arts and the New Brunswick Board, and has been a writer-in-residence at l’Université de Moncton and the University of Ottawa. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2015. The honour was bestowed upon her at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 11 May 2015.
Marguerite Maillet was born on 23 March 1924 in St. Norbert de Kent, New Brunswick. Maillet completed Normal School at the Collège St. Joseph in Memramcook in 1945, and after teaching for a number of years went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Laval in 1957. She subsequently earned a Master’s degree in sacred sciences from St. Mary’s College in Indiana in 1960 and a second one in lettres francaises from l’Université de Moncton in 1971. She was awarded her PhD in Lettres francaises from the University of Ottawa in 1982.
Throughout her career, Maillet made incredible contributions to the study of Acadian literature. She published her first anthology, Anthologie de textes littéraires acadiens, 1606-1975, in 1973. That same year, she joined the faculty of l’Université de Moncton, where she served as chair of Acadian studies from 1987 until her retirement in 1990. As a teacher and a researcher, she helped formally introduce Acadian literature across the Americas and in Europe, and was welcomed on the Mount Allison campus numerous times to share her pioneering work. She served as the Winthrop Pickard Bell Visiting Fellow in Maritime Studies at Mount Allison in 1984.
After her retirement from the university, Maillet co-founded Bouton d’or Acadie, a publisher of children’s literature in French, English, Mik’maq, and Passamaquody. She wrote several illustrated books for children and adapted a number of classic children’s tales for publication. Since 2016, she has volunteered with the Lire et faire lire Acadie program, telling stories and reading books to young students to encourage them to develop a love of reading.
Maillet is the recipient of numerous awards. She was awarded the Prix Sormany from the Société des Acadiens du Nouveau Brunswick in 2000, the Prix du Conseil International d’études Francophones in 2001, the Prix Hommage Eloizes in 2004, the Médaille Léger-Comeau in 2007, and the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Consel Literacy Award in 2001. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and a member of the Order of New Brunswick in 2008. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Allison University in 2016. The honour was bestowed upon her at the spring convocation, held in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall on 13 May 2019.