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Historian, mental health advocate to get honorary BU degrees

A mental health advocate and an historian will be awarded honorary degrees from Brandon University the spring convocation on May 30.

"The choice of these two recipients of honorary doctorates at this year’s convocations speak to two particular strengths at Brandon University – our focus on Health Studies and on Humanities," said BU president and vice-chancellor Deborah Poff.

One recipient, Rev. Dr. Christopher Laine Summerville, is described by the university as a tireless advocate for recovery-oriented mental health services addressing social prejudice, discrimination and social inclusion.

Working both in the United States and Canada, Summerville has served as teacher, pastor, counselor, and mental health specialist. He is the current CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society. He has contributed to more than two dozen boards including the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

"Reverend Summerville brings a life time of commitment and care as a leader in the field of mental health," Poff said.

The other recipient, Lyle Dick, has authored more than 100 publications in the fields of Arctic, Canadian, and American history and historiography, including four books. In 2012, following a 35-year career with Parks Canada, he became the principal of Lyle Dick History and Heritage in Vancouver.

He is Past-President of the Canadian Historical Association, and recent member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He currently serves on advisory committees for the Canadian Museum of History and the National Capital Commission in Ottawa.  Dick’s work stresses the importance of local knowledge and respect for diversity as key components of cultural survival, for both small communities and Canada.

"Mr. Dick has had a prolific career as a scholar of history," Poff said.

Dick earned his B.A. from Brandon University in 1972 and M.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1978.

Summerville grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and currently resides in Steinbach. His educational background includes studies in religion, psychology, pastoral care, counseling, and mental health, with a BA from Samford University in Birmingham and Master of Divinity and Master of Missiology degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., as well as an earned doctoral degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas.

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