../Morning Post
Posted October 4 , 2010

Author Lawrence Hill to receive honorary degree at Laurier’s fall convocation

Gerry McGrath to be appointed inaugural member of the Order of Wilfrid Laurier University

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University will honour award-winning writer Lawrence Hill with an honorary doctor of letters degree at the university’s fall convocation on Oct. 29. The university will also make its inaugural appointment to the Order of Wilfrid Laurier University. The inaugural appointee is Gerry McGrath, a former long-serving member of Laurier’s Board of Governors.

Hill will receive his degree and speak to the convocating class at the morning ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. McGrath will be appointed to the Order of Wilfrid Laurier University at the afternoon ceremony, which begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Hill, who spent the past week as Laurier’s writer-in-residence, is the author of the best-selling novel The Book of Negroes, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Ontario Library Association's Evergreen Award and CBC Radio's Canada Reads Award. He is the author of three novels and four works of fiction, including his best-selling memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada.

Gerry McGrath is a partner and chief financial officer of Perseis Partners Inc., a Toronto-based investment firm. He served nine years as a member of the university’s Board of Governors. During that time he was active on many committees and chaired the board’s audit and compliance committee. He also volunteered with many other board activities, and was a frequent supporter of student-centred events in the Laurier School of Business & Economics. McGrath also inspired the School to create the Centre for Excellence in Business Education in 2008. In 2006, McGrath was named Laurier’s Honorary Alumnus of the Year, and in 2009 he received the university’s Distinguished Governor Award.

The Order of Wilfrid Laurier University was created to recognize members of the Laurier community who make outstanding contributions to the university, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a post-secondary institution in 2011. Eligible recipients include current or former faculty, staff, students, alumni, volunteers, and friends of the university.

Approximately 1,167 students are eligible to graduate at Laurier’s fall convocation — the largest number ever for the fall ceremony. The convocation ceremonies will take place at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. The morning ceremony starts at 10:00 a.m. for graduates of the faculties of Arts, Science, Music, Social Work, Education, and Laurier Brantford and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. The afternoon ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. for graduates of the School of Business & Economics.

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