The Hour host George Stroumboulopoulos and EnCana founder Gwyn Morgan are two names rarely heard in the same sentence. However, they will now be considered classmates as the University of Calgary announced it will be giving them both degrees.
The pair will receive their honorary degrees--equivalent to a PhD--at fall convocation Nov. 13. They will join a graduating class including Al Gore, Stephen Lewis and Lester B. Pearson.
"The honorary degree committee is looking for someone you really admire who just by association will bring honour to the university," said U of C external relations spokesperson Allison MacKenzie. "They can be really well known or a rising star, any walk of life professions, business, academics, community, church, arts, volunteer, NGO. They should provide leadership and inspiration to our graduates."
MacKenzie explained Strou-mboulopoulos was a bit of an anomaly because he's younger than most nominees.
"He was chosen for his ability to turn young people on to current events, global affairs, to engage them," she said. "He really resonates with youth and that's why he was chosen, his ability to engage youth with real issues of this era."
Stroumboulopoulos--a Humber College radio broadcasting graduate--explained he was surprised to hear he was chosen.
"The first time I heard it I kind of went 'What, what is that?'" he said. "I suspect it's because there's not a lot of people doing what we're doing on the Hour, at least not on TV. It's bizarre. It's an honour, absolutely."
Despite his surprise, Stroumbo-ulopoulos noted he was happy to receive the degree--especially tuition-free.
"I think it's nice," he said. "It's kind of fun and my mother got a kick out of it."
Stroumboulopoulos did note that his partner recipient was almost a polar opposite of himself.
Morgan had been an innovator in business since almost the moment he finished his engineering degree from the University of Alberta, spending two years at the U of A Calgary Campus and two at the U of A.
"Gwyn has been an inspirational business leader on a local, national and international level," said MacKenzie. "He has, for more than three decades, been a mentor and a leader. A mentor to students, to members of the business community and even to politicians--he's extremely well known and respected."
Despite criticisms that when Morgan retired from EnCana he left an environmental disaster behind in Ecuador, Morgan has received two other honorary degrees, one from the U of A and one from the University of Lethbridge.
"It's not really for me, I've already had so much recognition in business and in other ways in the country," said Morgan. "It's more a question of indicating to young people who are going to university who are planning to go to university or any other endeavor of what is possible if you pursue your goals, have a focus and carry out your life with as high a level of integrity and ethics as you can."