Robert (Rob) G. Steele, Doctor of Commerce, Honoris Causa
President & CEO, Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited CEO, Steele Auto Group
Recognized as one of Atlantic Canada's top chief executive officers, entrepreneur Rob Steele is a natural-born trailblazer.
With more than 18 years in the communications industry, Mr. Steele, a Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame inductee, also has an impressive record of success in the auto sales sector; he has built the region’s largest and most diversified automobile group.
Through meaningful and targeted philanthropy, Mr. Steele’s companies, Newcap Radio and the Steele Auto Group, support many charitable causes, and he is personally involved with the Alzheimer's Society, the Mental Health Foundation, Family SOS, Daffodil House, Feed Nova Scotia, and the Arthritis Society.
Committed to giving back to the community, Mr. Steele currently sits on the boards of Montreal-based Stingray Digital and Atlantic Signature Mortgage of Halifax. He also serves as a director of the Halifax Mooseheads and is on the advisory committee for Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia; he will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame in June of this year.
Mr. Steele is past co-chair of the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) event committee and continues to be involved with the ECMAs in an advisory capacity. He is also a former Halifax Metro Chamber of Commerce board member and former director of Advancement Nova Scotia, an advocacy organization designed to help build a stronger Nova Scotia economy.
Dr. Bernie Francis, Doctor of Civil Law, Honoris Causa
Author, Linguist, Advocate
A thoughtful and passionate voice for the Mi'kmaw people, Dr. Bernie Francis, along with his mentor and friend, Doug Smith, helped preserve the Mi’kmaw language through an easy-to-learn orthography, which is officially recognized by Mi’kmaw chiefs across the province and by the Canada-Nova Scotia-Mi’kmaw Tripartite Forum.
Raised in Cape Breton’s Maupeltu (Membertou) First Nation, Dr. Francis initiated Nova Scotia’s Court Worker Program (CWP). Facing opposition and some harassment, he worked for five years to establish the CWP to ensure the fair and proper treatment of Mi’kmaw people within the provincial and federal court systems.
Dr. Francis, a Grand Chief Donald Marshall Senior Memorial Elder Award recipient, later introduced a Mi’kmaw Language Studies Program at Cape Breton University. He also visited First Nations’ communities across the Atlantic provinces, helping teachers produce curriculum materials.
An author of academic articles on Mi’kmaw law, Mi’kmaw spirituality, the conceptual differences of thought between Mi’kmaw People and Europeans and books explaining Mi’kmaw tradition and language, Dr. Francis has contributed to the Saint Mary's University community through participation in numerous colloquia, seminars, and conferences.
As a published storyteller and successful linguist, Dr. Francis has expanded people’s understanding of the Mi'kmaw language and geographical vision of traditional Mi’kmaw territory, including Nova Scotia. His work has contributed so much to the appreciation of Mi'kma'ki – even among his own people.
Pride has arisen in leaps and bounds, raising great hope for future generations of the First Peoples of this land, Mi’kma’ki!
Paul Gauthier, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
Founder & President, Cole Harbour Foundation
Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native Paul Gauthier is one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. As founder and president of the Cole Harbour Foundation, a non-profit focused on improving educational opportunities for children and youth, Mr. Gauthier has a close connection to Saint Mary's through the many students his Foundation has helped over the years.
The Cole Harbour Foundation supports the children and youth of Cole Harbour, from birth through university graduation. It provides thousands of free books each month for parents to read to their infants and pre-schoolers. The Foundation supports students through math and literacy tutoring and by offering classroom materials to teachers. And this year, the Foundation will award its 100th university scholarship.
Previous to launching the Cole Harbour Foundation, Mr. Gauthier was the chief technology officer at Groupon, where he worked to scale the global platform for local e-commerce. Before his time there, he co-founded Inktomi, a Silicon Valley-based software business that developed search engine technology employed by some of the world’s biggest brands. He was also a co-founder of Ludic Labs; there, he designed and developed a new class of online promotional tools.
With a bold and ambitious vision to protect The 100 Wild Islands along Nova Scotia’s eastern shore, Mr. Gauthier is also a strategic environmentalist. He donated what is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift to environmental conservation in Nova Scotia’s history.
Dominic Barton, Doctor of Commerce, Honoris Causa
Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company London-based
Dominic Barton, global managing partner of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, is committed to the internationalization of Canadian universities and colleges; he leads his company’s focus on the role business leadership plays in creating long-term social and economic value.
Author of more than 80 articles on business and society, the issues and opportunities facing markets worldwide, and other related topics, Mr. Barton is the chair of the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council.
A trustee of the Rhodes Trust and the Brookings Institution, Mr. Barton has received multiple accolades for his corporate leadership and contributions to the communities in which he has lived and worked.
Ahead of becoming McKinsey’s managing partner, Mr. Barton served as its Shanghai-based Asia chairman. Before that, Mr. Barton headed McKinsey's Korea office. In recognition of this work, he was awarded South Korea’s Order of Civil Merit and received the Singaporean Public Service Star.
Mr. Barton, an honorary fellow at Brasenose College and an adjunct professor at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, is also a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council. He also serves on the boards of the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and FCLT Global.