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Former Premier Bob Rae officially a Fanshawe graduate

Diana Forbes | Interrobang | News | November 14th, 2005

The future of education was on everyone’s mind at the 2005 Fanshawe Graduation ceremony last Friday when former Ontario Premier Bob Rae was awarded the second ever Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies from the college Board of Governors.

“My fundamental belief is that as a society we have to put education at the forefront of everything we do,” Rae said to a crowd of 400 graduates and their families.

Howard Rundle and Bob RaeThe former leader of the New Democrat Party was commissioned by the McGuinty Liberals to assess the condition of colleges and universities in terms of cost effectiveness and accessibility. Rae’s findings were released earlier in February of 2005 in a document often referred to as the Rae Review. He suggested that the Ontario Government increase post-secondary investment by at least $1.3 billion dollars and ensure all qualified students, irregardless of income, be given the chance to receive a diploma or degree.

As a result, Premier McGuinty announced that the government of Ontario would commit $6.2 billion over the next five years to post-secondary education in the May 2005 budget.

In his address, Rae said graduates should be proud of their achievements, but also recognize the support they have received from the government, taxpayers, college donors as well as their parents.

“Be grateful to the people who have helped you get to where you are today,” advised Rae, who told graduates they have a responsibility to go out and help the next generation of students.

Rae was chosen as a recipient of the honorary degree by Fanshawe’s Board of Governors, which is comprised of 16 representatives from the community who govern the college by developing and overseeing the completion of policies. Fanshawe President Howard Rundle and a student representative also sit on the board.

“We are recognizing his role as former Premier of our province and his accomplishments,” said the Chair of the Board of Governors, Bruce Smith.

Smith said the work Rae has done on behalf of Premier McGuinty in formulating the Rae Review was also a contributing factor.

Each year the President of Fanshawe College chooses three to five nominees to receive the honorary degree. The list of candidates is then presented to the Board and screened according to achievements, contributions to society and the candidate’s past ability to promote Fanshawe or the Ontario college system.

Smith said there is a possibility that more than one exceptional candidate can be chosen in a year.

Former London Conservative MPP and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham, was awarded the first Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies in June 2004, shortly after Fanshawe was accredited as a degree-granting institution.

Rae was elected as the 21st Premier of Ontario in 1990 and served until 1995. Before his retirement from politics in 1996.
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