St. Thomas University will confer honourary degrees on three individuals who have made community and service the hallmark of their work. Sister Sandra Barrett, author Naomi Klein and Fredericton mayor Brad Woodside will receive honorary degrees at Spring Convocation on Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 pm at the ceremony that will confer more than 400 degrees on the class of 2011.

Sister Sandra Barrett

A graduate of the New Brunswick Teachers’ College, Sandra Barrett taught at St. Joseph’s School before entering the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception. She received her Bachelor of Theology from the Newman Theological College in Edmonton where she continued as Registrar and SCIC assistant formation director. She served as SCIC congregational secretary and spiritual director before being elected congregational leader. Founded in Saint John in 1854 to respond to the needs of impoverished Irish immigrants and orphans, the SCIC is comprised of social workers, educators and health-care providers who have dedicated their lives to the service of the sick, vulnerable and those living in poverty. Its missions have spread throughout Canada and in Peru and Ireland.

Inspired by providing a prayerful listening presence, advocating for justice and speaking the “prophetic truth,” Barrett’s leadership of the SCIC has been marked by service to the community, particularly senior citizens, the disadvantaged and women’s groups. The Sisters have worked at and with St. Vincent De Paul, L’Arche, Hesita House, SOPHIA Recovery House, the Boys and Girls Club, Coverdale, First Steps, Second Stage and many other serving organizations.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein’s most recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, has been published in 30 languages and was a #1 international bestseller. Her previous book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was also an international bestseller and was named one of the 100 most important Canadian books ever published. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s and reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, El Pais, L’Espresso and The New Statesman. Klein wrote and co-produced The Take, a documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories that won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival.

Klein’s books are taught in hundreds of political science, cultural theory, journalism, marketing and literature courses. Her writing has been excerpted in dozens of anthologies and she has lectured at universities on every continent. She is a regular media commentator, appearing on such shows as Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN, BBC Newsnight and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. She is on the advisory board of 350.org, PEN Canada, the Human Rights and Social Movements Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice Advisory Board. She has also received numerous awards including the Warwick Prize for Writing, Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism and Le Prix Médiations.

Brad Woodside

After a career in private broadcasting, Brad Woodside was elected city councillor for two terms and first elected mayor in 1986, subsequently serving five consecutive terms. He returned as mayor in 2004 and has been re-elected for a record seven terms to become the longest serving mayor of Fredericton. His areas of focus have been the environment, development and sustainability. Under his leadership, Fredericton has consistently posted record development numbers and received many international awards including North American Micro City of the Future - Financial Times of London, World’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities - Intelligent Community Forum of New York, International Liveable Community Award (Gold for Green Matters & Green Shops) - endorsed by the United Nations, and Top Ten Places to Live in Canada - MoneySense Magazine.

Woodside has advocated for youth dealing with substance abuse and has spoken at conferences in Israel, France and Italy. He was the founding chair of the Nashwaaksis Lions Club substance abuse awareness program for elementary school children and is a director of Portage Atlantic, a residential treatment program for youth with substance dependencies. He has been a member of many advisory committees including I-Canada, an initiative to boost the Canadian economy through the use of high-speed networking, the National Board of Directors of Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the National Steering Committee on Safety and Crime Prevention. He has received the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award.