John A. Young

Saint Mary’s recognizes two outstanding Canadians with honorary degrees


Fall Convocation

September 27-28

Saint Mary’s University will recognize the accomplishments of two outstanding Canadians with honorary degrees at this year’s fall convocation ceremony.

“Honorary degrees celebrate individuals whose accomplishments are an inspiration to our students and people who are exemplars for our entire community,” said Saint Mary’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “I am proud to bestow this honour to Gloria and John for their leadership, and the way in which they embody a key value of our institution, keeping community at the heart of all that we do.” 

The university is pleased to recognize the extraordinary achievements of:

  • Gloria Borden, a trailblazer and champion for the arts. One of 18 children raised in New Glasgow, from a young age Borden grew to cherish music, community, sports and boxing. All of these interests represent areas in which she would excel. Borden was the first Black hematology specialist in Canada and participated in research related to the field. Borden was also the first female boxing promoter in Canada and was inducted into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame for her time as a student-athlete. In music, she has been involved in numerous productions and produced the acclaimed God’s Trombones and founded the Nova Scotia Mass Choir.

  • John A. Young, Q.C., a community builder and legal advocate. Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Young’s interest in commerce and law led him to pursue post-secondary degrees in both those fields in Halifax and England. After a time spent working on Parliament Hill, he joined three other young lawyers starting a small law firm in Halifax. Young became an important part the firm’s growth from four lawyers to the fourth-largest firm in Atlantic Canada. Young has balanced the needs of a growing law firm with his commitment to community service and volunteerism throughout his career.

The honorary degree recipients will receive their degrees at convocation on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

Honorary Degree: John A. Young, Q.C.

John A. Young, Q.C.
Community builder and legal advocate

John A. Young, Q.C.

John A. Young, Q.C.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, John Young’s interest in commerce and law would lead him to pursue post-secondary degrees in those fields in Halifax. He would later travel to England where he received a Master of Laws from the University of London. 

After graduating from law school at Dalhousie University, Young would spend the next four years working as a political aid on Parliament Hill. It was there that he first heard about three young lawyers starting a law firm in Halifax. After his time in Ottawa, and after he had completed his Master of Laws, he returned to Halifax and remembered what he had heard about that ambitious new firm. Young would choose the new firm, BOYNECLARKE, over a larger firm, becoming their fourth lawyer in the mid-1970s.

Young would be an essential part of the firm’s growth, as they focused on the specialization that allowed them to develop skills that set them apart from larger firms. During this growing period, the firm would go on to win a case in the Supreme Court of Canada over a much larger firm. They were the upstart in some respects, the only new firm in that period when most Halifax firms had been around for a while. Young was an important part of the firm’s growth from four lawyers to the fourth-largest firm in Atlantic Canada today.

Young was most recently Counsel at BOYNECLARKE LLP, having served as the firm Chair from 2012-2018. He acts on behalf of a wide variety of businesses, government agencies, institutions and not-for-profit organizations and advises their senior management in the creation, operation and expansion of their activities.

He is currently serving as a Chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (NS), Chair of the Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation, Director of the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo Society, and Trustee of St. Andrews United Church, Halifax. He recently completed a term as Director of the Nova Scotia Health Authority and has served on a wide variety of boards of Canadian corporations.

Young enjoys golf, politics and community service.