Fall convocation recognizes leaders

UVic honours Aboriginal sports leader, Afghan war vet

  • Nov. 6, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Baptiste Harry (Skip) Dick will be recognized by the University of Victoria Tuesday.

The University of Victoria will grant two honourary degrees during next week’s fall convocation, the first to a dedicated First Nations community sports leader and the second to a veteran of Canada’s Afghan war effort who has become an advocate for brain injury survivors.

Baptiste Harry (Skip) Dick and Capt. Trevor Greene will receive UVic’s highest academic honour during Fall Convocation ceremonies, Tuesday (Nov. 10), at the Farquhar Auditorium.

Dick will receive an Honourary Doctor of Education. Through his decades of work in education and youth athletics, Dick has influenced countless individuals in the Songhees Nation and in communities around the province, impressing upon them the need to “live, speak and work with a good mind and a good heart.”

After a childhood in which he was taken from his home in Victoria and placed in a residential school in Kamloops, Dick has made it his life’s work to ensure a positive impact on people he meets, helps or mentors, the university noted in announcing the degree. At UVic, his involvement in the Elders’ Voices program has supported students, staff and faculty members.

His presence has also been felt at Camosun College (starting from the 1970s, when he was the Aboriginal student counsellor) and in schools across Vancouver Island.

Additionally, Dick co-founded the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, the Victoria T-Bird Soccer Club and, in 1989, he was named Manager of the Year by the BC Lacrosse Association.

Greene, perhaps the best-known non-fatal Canadian casualty of the conflict in Afghanistan, will also receive a Honourary Doctor of Education.

Greene’s life nearly ended in 2006, when during a meeting between peacekeepers and village elders, he set aside his weapon and removed his helmet as a sign of respect.

A 16-year-old boy approached from behind and struck him with a stone axe, shattering his skull and injuring parts of his brain that control movement and walking.

It seemed Greene would remain minimally conscious, requiring long-term care.

However, primarily with the aid of his wife, Debbie Greene, he has made remarkable progress and is able to walk with the use of a walker. He is an effective advocate and inspiration for brain injury survivors, the university notes.

The Greenes have also been long-term collaborators in brain injury research at UVic and Dalhousie University, primarily through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and co-wrote the book, March Forth.

Before joining the army, Greene wrote Bad Date: The Lost Girls of Vancouver’s Low Track, an early account of the serial murder of prostitutes on the Downtown Eastside.

Fall convocation marks the successful completion of studies for 1,330 recipients of degrees, diplomas, professional specialization certificates and certificates.

The four fall convocation ceremonies will be webcast live at uvic.ca/convocation.

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