UFV to present honorary degrees to four people

Former Abbotsford mayor George Peary is among the recipients

George Peary

George Peary

Four Canadians who exemplify leadership and excellence will receive honorary doctorates from the University of the Fraser Valley this spring.

Business titan Luigi Aquilini, lawyer and Paralympian Halldor Bjarnason, artist and activist Linda Frimer, and educator and community leader George Peary will each be honoured at one of UFV’s four convocation ceremonies on June 2 and 3 at Abbotsford Centre.

“These distinguished and visionary leaders are being honoured for exemplary contributions that align well with our University’s vision and values,” said UFV president Mark Evered. “Each has had a significant impact on his or her community and the world.”

Aquilini is the patriarch of one of the most successful family businesses in Canada. The family is well-known as the owners of the NHL Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, and Luigi is deeply involved with philanthropic contributions and partnerships with First Nations communities, in land conservation, and agriculture.

Bjarnason has spent much of his 27-year legal career making life better for British Columbians with disabilities. He overcame both the challenges posed by his cerebral palsy and the attitudes held by some within his profession to become a successful lawyer and champion for clients with disabilities.

In 1988, Bjarnason set a world record and won a gold medal in sprint cycling at the Paralympic games in Seoul, Korea.

Frimer is an artist who has spent her life encouraging others, including those living with the legacy of the Holocaust, to discover art’s healing powers and to use creativity to heal trauma.

Since 1982, her paintings have formed a part of significant collections and benefited countless organizations. She is currently working on a series of interactive books on the theme of healing through creativity.

Peary is a pioneering educational and community leader. A former Abbotsford mayor, councillor, and school principal, Peary is active in his community and innovative in his approach to education at all levels.

In partnership with UFV, Peary created the Career Technical Centre, the first school in Canada where secondary teachers and university instructors worked side by side, teaching the same students and collaborating.

Peary is involved in many charitable causes, principal of Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford and has taught for UFV’s bachelor of business administration program in Chandigarh, India.