Exceptional Canadians recognized with honorary degrees

The accomplishments of two exceptional Canadians will be recognized at the end of September with honorary degrees at Saint Mary’s University’s fall 2017 convocation ceremony.
Saint Mary’s is pleased to recognize the extraordinary achievements of:

  • Commander (Retired) Heather J. Armstrong, BComm’83, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran and Saint Mary’s alumna who has dedicated her life to serving Canadians; and
  • Dr. Ian McKay, a well-known historian, researcher, professor and author who has helped shape the public’s understanding of Canadian history. 

“These degrees represent the highest honour that we can bestow,” said Saint Mary’s University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “Both Commander Armstrong and Dr. McKay are commendable leaders. Their accomplishments exemplify what it means to be engaged global citizens, and are deserving of recognition and acclaim.” 

A Saint Mary’s alumna, Commander Armstrong began her career in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1978, serving in both the regular and reserve components of the Personnel Administration and Logistics branches.  Commander Armstrong followed those years of military service in Halifax, Shearwater, Cold Lake and Ottawa, with another 10 years in senior civilian leadership positions with the Department of National Defence in Ottawa. Commander Armstrong graduated from Saint Mary’s with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1983.

Dr. McKay began his career as a historian after completing his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1975. His time spent in Halifax inspired him to base his honours essay on the area, entitled The Working Class of Metropolitan Halifax, 1850-1889. He would later return to Halifax to complete his PhD, Work and Community in the Cumberland Coalfields, 1848-1927.  As an author, Dr. McKay has won numerous awards for his works, including the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, the pre-eminent prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association for best book each year in Canadian history.