Lightfoot Receives Honourary Doctorate Degree From Lakehead University

Orillia-born, Canadian-music legend Gordon Lightfoot is to receive an honorary degree from Lakehead University.

“For us, it's really a dream come true,” said Kim Fedderson, dean of the Orillia campus, of the chance to confer Lightfoot with a doctorate of music.

The presentation will take place June 6 at Rotary Place during Lakehead's local convocation ceremony.

Fedderson said it's something university has long hoped to have happened, especially since the Orillia campus opened in 2006.

“It's been a goal of ours,” Fedderson said.

The presentation will take place June 6 at Rotary Place during Lakehead Univesrity's Orillia campus convocation ceremony.

Decisions on honorary degrees are made by the university's senate, to which people are invited to submit suggestions.

“They're typically well-known and distinguished citizens,” Fedderson said of those to whom the degrees are awarded.

“Gordon Lightfoot is... one of the most distinguished Orillians there has ever been,” Fedderson said.

Lightfoot is not the first to receive an honorary doctorate of music from Lakehead. The university has also conferred them on other Canadian singer-songwriters, including Buffy Ste. Marie and Neil Young.

Honorary Doctorate – Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot is an indelible part of the Canadian national spirit and regarded as perhaps the most prolific and greatest Canadian singer-songwriter of all time.

Born and raised in Orillia, Lightfoot made his performing debut at St. Paul’s United Church at the age of five. He went on to achieve international status as one of the most prolific and successful singer-songwriters of all time.

This year Lightfoot celebrates 50 years of hit song making and international recording success. He has recorded 20 albums, has five Grammy nominations and 17 Juno Awards. In 2012, he was honoured for his role in defining the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and ‘70s with his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The music of Gordon Lightfoot has had a powerful impact, with many of his songs recorded and performed by some of the world’s most renowned recording artists including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand.

In Canada, Lightfoot has been decorated with the Governor General’s Award and the Companion to the Order of Canada Honour of Merit. He is a member of Canada’s Walk of Fame, The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Described as a national treasure, Gordon Lightfoot is a cultural icon whose time-defying style and legendary hits have made him one of Canada’s most anticipated live performers. His classics, such as Canadian Railroad Trilogy and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald have contributed to, and captured, the Canadian spirit.

By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times