The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean received an honorary degree Saturday in Chicago from DePaul University, the largest Catholic university of United States.
This honour was awarded during the School for New Learning's commencement ceremony, with 400 master and baccalaureate graduates attending and 3 600 relatives and friends.
This honorary degree feels uniquely special to me, as I join a courageous cohort of adult graduates from DePaul's School for New Learning in implementing life's most important lesson: that our experience, our shared collective experience especially, is the most profound, lasting source of knowledge, said Ms. Jean. I like this innovative spirit, this non-elitist and universal approach to knowledge.
The School for New Learning is designed for adult students who want to advance, change their careers or personal lives. Coming from all walks of society, most of the students have family responsibilities and are often the first of their generation to obtain a university degree. The School's unique programs find ways to incorporate the wide range of experience that these adults have acquired so that they become a source of knowledge while making education a way of life.
I believe the world of education is on the cusp of a vast, global transformation through empowered learning. DePaul University allows these people to surpass themselves, to go forward and to enlarge their horizon of possibilities. It enriches the whole society. Nothing is more beautiful to me than to see people come into their own power, and start to take their rightful place in the world. It is wonderful that a university is accompanying them along this path with interactive and individualized teaching. The emphasis put on the human being is absolutely formidable, said Ms Jean.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean is Chancellor of the University of Ottawa and UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti. She is also co-founder and co-president of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation whose mission is to support underserved youth, across Canada, to use the arts to take action for change in their communities. From 2005 to 2010, Ms. Jean was governor general and commander in chief of Canada.
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