St. Thomas University will confer honourary degrees at its Spring Convocation Sunday, May 16 at 2:00 pm on two individuals who have influenced the national and international literary landscape. Author Sheree Fitch and arts patron and entrepreneur Scott Griffin will receive honorary degrees at the Convocation that will confer almost 450 bachelor of arts, applied arts, social work and education degrees on the class of 2010. “Each in very different but substantial ways, Sheree Fitch and Scott Griffin have contributed greatly to the literary arts in Canada, as authors, advocates and patrons,” said Dennis Cochrane, President and Vice Chancellor. “We are looking forward to acknowledging their unique accomplishments as we celebrate the achievements of our graduating students” Sheree Fitch is an author, educator, and literacy advocate. She grew up in Miramichi, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick, and graduated from St. Thomas University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts. That same year, her first book, Toes in my Nose, illustrated by Molly Lamb Bobak, was published. Since then, Fitch has written more than 25 books, ranging from playful children’s verse to adult fiction. Her best-selling children’s book, Sleeping Dragons All Around, won the Atlantic Booksellers Award in 1990. She has numerous other awards to her name, including the Mr. Christie Award for There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, the Anne Connor Brimer Award for Mable Murple and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work inspirational to Canadian children. Her adult poetry, In This House Are Many Women, was published by Goose Lane in 1992 and reissued in 2005. Last year, her first adult novel, Kiss the Joy as it Flies, was shortlisted for Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Fitch is a tireless advocate for literacy. She worked in the Arctic with women and children helping to establish the literacy program Somebody’s Daughter and taught writing to college students and teachers in Bhutan while participating in that country's first National Reading Week. She has also travelled to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, China, Belize, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam and throughout the United States for readings in schools and libraries. Fitch's multi-award winning book, If You Could Wear My Sneakers, was commissioned by UNICEF and is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. She has earned a Master’s in English from Acadia and taught children’s literature at St. Thomas, and is currently an honorary spokesperson for the New Brunswick Coalition for Literacy and the Nova Scotia Read to Me Program. Scott Griffin is an entrepreneur, author and patron of the arts. He is perhaps best known for establishing the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry to raise awareness of the role of poetry in society’s cultural life. The Griffin Poetry Prize is the largest annual poetry prize in the world, awarding $200,000 annually to Canadian and international poets. He is the chairman and director of the literary publishing company House of Anansi Press which publishes Canadian and international fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Anansi has a long list of Governor General’s Literary Awards for books in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Anansi owns Groundwood Books, a literary children’s book publisher which also includes many authors and illustrators of children’s books and winners of Governor General’s Literary Awards. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Griffin is a venture capitalist and director and main shareholder of General Kinetics Engineering Corporation and Advance Precisions Ltd, companies that manufacture components for the transportation industry. He has devoted much of his time to non-governmental work as a Director of Canadian Executive Services Overseas and as a Director of African Medical and Research Foundation Canada. He is also Chancellor of Bishop’s University, his alma mater, where he studied English and Philosophy and earned a Bachelor of Arts. In 2006, his memoir, My Heart is in Africa, was named to the Globe and Mail’s Top 100 Books and was called a “stunningly beautiful piece of literature” by Books in Canada. It tells the story of a two-year aviation adventure across Africa while working with the Flying Doctors Service.