Saint Mary’s celebrates business and research excellence at fall convocation

At this fall’s convocation ceremony, Saint Mary’s University celebrates the exceptional business accomplishments of our newest honorary degree recipient along with the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Research.

A mentor for a generation of entrepreneurs, Dr. Rustum Southwell believes in the power of entrepreneurship to build a stronger province. Originally from the island of St. Kitts, Dr. Southwell has called Nova Scotia home for more than four decades. As one of Nova Scotia’s first Black franchise operators, he understands the challenges of starting a business. In those challenges, he saw an opportunity to help others.

“It is a great honour for me to be selected for and offered the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa, by Saint Mary’s University,” said Dr. Southwell. “I would not be where I am today without the hard work and collective impact of the Black Business Initiative team. This recognition from Saint Mary’s serves as confirmation and validation that our efforts at the BBI are not going unnoticed and that we are making a difference in the community.”

As the first and founding Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Initiative (BBI), Dr. Southwell dedicated almost two decades of his life to helping new entrepreneurs.  He has helped develop the entrepreneurial culture we see in Halifax and Nova Scotia today. During this time, he contributed to the creation hundreds of businesses and more than 800 jobs. Dr. Southwell is currently adding even more to his legacy with BBI, in his current role as interim CEO.

“Dr. Southwell is known for his dedication to aspiring entrepreneurs and his business mentorship,” said Saint Mary’s University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “At Saint Mary’s, we share his commitment to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in Nova Scotia. It is with great pleasure that we present Dr. Southwell with the highest honour that we can bestow, an honorary degree.”

The President’s Award for Excellence in Research will also be awarded at this fall’s convocation. This annual award was established in 1989 and honours outstanding research conducted by a full-time faculty member.

The 2018 recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Research is Dr. Renée Hulan, Professor of English Language and Literature.

Dr. Hulan is an internationally recognized expert in Canadian literature and culture. She is a scholar deeply involved in innovative and timely research initiatives related to scholarship on the North or the Arctic. Letters in support of her nominations, submitted by some of the leading scholars working in the field of Canadian Studies in Canada, and researchers working outside Canada, highlighted not only significant accomplishments but also the breadth of expertise and the innovative investigations which cross many disciplinary boundaries.

Dr. David Bourgeois, Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s, will the keynote speaker at Saturday’s afternoon convocation. Known for offering students interactive, hands-on learning experiences, and for his commitment to the Saint Mary’s community, Dr. Bourgeois is the 2018 recipient of the Reverend William A. Stewart, S.J., Medal for Excellence in Teaching.

Convocation takes place this Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29.