Lang, Patricia A.

Degree conferred: Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)

Orator: Mason, Gordon

to be Doctor of Letters

A native of Rouyn-Noranda and a 1970 graduate of UNB in nursing, Patricia Lang began her career both practicing and teaching nursing. Her talent for academic leadership led her to assume progressively more senior administrative positions in the Ontario College system. For several years she was vice-president academic and student services at Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology, and since 2000 she has been president of Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology in Thunder Bay.

Ms. Lang’s resume includes many firsts. At Georgian College she set up Ontario’s first bilingual Health Sciences program in nursing, radiography and emergency care and the first collaborative nursing program in Ontario, between Georgian and Seneca Colleges and York University. She also established the Centre for Automotive Parts Expertise in partnership with the Industrial Research and Development Institute. She founded The Georgian Source, a multi-million dollar business venture, providing customized training for business and industry, and secured Magna International as a corporate client. At Confederation College she raised an extraordinary $15.5 million to establish the Aviation Centre of Excellence. There are but a few examples of what has made her a leader in academic-business liaison and cooperation.

Dr. James Downey, president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, who well knows the Ontario College system, draws attention to what may be one of her most valuable achievements, namely her contribution to the educational and training needs of Indigenous Peoples in northern Ontario. Of particular note is the Thomson Highway project at Confederation College, named after the award winning author and playwright who serves as its creative director. The purpose of this program is to create an accessible body of Aboriginal knowledge and literature and to draw on pride-in-identity as a motivation for learning among Aboriginal learners.

Pat Lang holds a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, has presented papers at some 20 conferences, and, at the 2004 Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards, she won the Public Sector Award for Northwestern Ontario. One striking item on her c.v. is her appointment in March of this year as an honorary Captain in the Canadian Navy. This was in recognition of her work in providing community college programs for selected navy occupations including captains of Great Lakes vessels. One result of this collaboration was the adjustment of accreditation procedures to meet the needs of learners at various stages in their lives and careers. As a nurse she fully understood the need for strict requirements, but she was able to devise more flexible means to that end. This example demonstrates some of the things which her colleagues identify as among her strengths: high standards, creativity and a highly student-focused approach to education.

They are also quick to identify other traits, not visible on a c.v., which contribute to her success and make her so deserving of awards and honours. These are boundless energy, and an infectious humour. In her present position she oversees seven campuses in an area exceeding half a million square kilometers and makes a point of regular visits not only to the campuses but also to many small communities, even those accessible only by plane or ice road. And I’m told her sense of humour is a great help when applied to her just-in-time approach to boarding aircraft!

Pat Lang is proud of her UNB connection, an attachment perhaps strengthened by the fact that this is where she met her husband Bob. We are in turn extremely proud of her accomplishments and are most pleased to recognize these today with the awarding of this degree.

From: Honoris Causa, UA Case 70

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