A leader in Indigenous education, an Abbotsford-based developer, an agri-business entrepreneur, and an innovator in Indigenous-focused counselling have received honorary doctorates from the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).
The degrees were presented at UFV’s convocation ceremonies held Tuesday and Wednesday (June 14 and 15) at Abbotsford Centre to Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Diane Delves, Peter Dhillon, and Shirley Turcotte
Jo-ann Archibald — Doctor of Letters
Archibald, whose Indigenous name is Q’um Q’um Xiiem, grew up in Soowhalie near Cultus Lake, part of the Stó:lō community, and attended the Chilliwack public school system.
Three academic degrees and a 50-year career later, Archibald is well-known as an Indigenous education scholar who has played a key role in weaving Indigenous content and ways of knowing into the curriculum at the K-12 and post-secondary levels in B.C. and leading other Indigenous education-related initiatives.
At the heart of her practice is Indigenous Storywork, an approach to teaching, learning, curriculum, and research that incorporates Indigenous traditional and life-experience stories as a way of understanding Indigenous culture.
She started her professional working life as an elementary school teacher and her last role was associate dean for Indigenous education in the faculty of education at UBC.
Throughout her career, she has worked collaboratively with partners to Indigenize the curriculum and encourage the recognition of Indigenous ways of knowing. She is now retired and a professor emeritus and continues her work on a volunteer basis.
Diane Delves – Doctor of Laws
Delves has always been an entrepreneur.
As a young child, Delves and her neighbour, who was her best friend, took over a small stake of her friend’s mother’s garden, harvesting their own vegetables.
As she grew older, she shifted that entrepreneurial spirit from produce to real estate. Delves spent the first half of her career as a real estate appraiser, even starting her own appraising business.
In 2000, she co-founded Quantum Properties, becoming sole owner in 2006.
In two decades, her development group has built over 1,300 new homes, including Mahogany at Mill Lake, which is Abbotsford’s tallest building.
Quantum was recently ranked 13th in Business in Vancouver’s Biggest BC Businesses Owned by Women in 2021 list. She has served on many boards, including the Abbotsford Airport Authority, Partnerships BC, and the BC Expropriation Compensation Board.
She currently serves as a vice-chair at large for the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region.
She is also a benefactor on behalf of Quantum to charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Abbotsford Hospice, and Hawthorne Senior Care Community.
Peter Dhillon – Doctor of Laws
Dhillon is a ground-breaking businessman from humble beginnings whose company now produces billions of pounds of cranberries and employs hundreds across the world. He is a business leader and CEO of the Richberry Group of Companies.
As the youngest, first non-American, and first visible minority to serve as chairman in the history of Ocean Spray — the world’s premier cranberry cooperative with more than $2 billion in annual sales — Dhillon often uses his platform to empower others.
Appointed to the Bank of Canada’s board of directors, he has held the governorship of such leading public entities as the BC Agricultural Land Reserve, Atomic Energy Canada, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.
He has also served on boards for the Vancouver Airport Authority, BC Ferries, Greater Vancouver Advisory Authority, and many more.
Born in Burnaby, Dhillon holds a bachelor of arts in history from UBC and a law degree from the University of Leeds. He was honoured with the Order of British Columbia in 2009 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.
He has also received recognition through the NRI India Award, Darpan Magazine Extraordinary Achievement Award, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce CEO of the Year, and as a Canada Sikh Centennial Gala inductee.
Shirley Turcotte – Doctor of Laws
Improving the circumstances of Indigenous people on a systematic level and developing mental health support and tools has been Turcotte’s life’s work.
She has been the recipient of B.C.’s Woman of Distinction Award in Health and Education.
Turcotte was born in Winnipeg to a Métis father and a mother who was raised Russian Mennonite. Her father was physically violent with her family and routinely sexually abused Turcotte and her older sister.
Confronting and surviving the abuse, incest, and trauma Turcotte experienced as a child was the topic of To a Safer Place, a critically acclaimed and controversial documentary released in 1987.
In her career as a Métis knowledge carrier and registered clinical counsellor, Turcotte created new tools and forms of therapy to help survivors of childhood abuse and complex trauma.
She created a health program called Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy, which blends Indigenous traditions of healing with current needs of Indigenous individuals and communities.
The program focuses on addressing trauma resulting from a range of causes, from residential schooling to the child welfare system, to the contemporary aftermath of colonization in Canada.
Turcotte also conceptualized a workshop series called “Indigenous Tools for Living,” designed to provide social workers with the means to assist people in remote and urban Indigenous communities.