The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston

Doctor of Education

(honoris causa) DEd

The Right Honourable David Johnston was born in Copper Cliff, near Sudbury, Ontario. He attended Harvard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963, and was twice selected to the All-American hockey team on his way to being named to Harvard’s athletic hall of fame. He later obtained Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Cambridge and Queen’s University.

Mr. Johnston’s professional career began in 1966 as assistant professor in the Queen’s University law faculty. He moved on to the University of Toronto’s law faculty in 1968 and became dean of Western University’s law faculty in 1974. He was named principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University in 1979, serving for 15 years before returning to teaching as a full-time professor in McGill’s Faculty of Law. In 1999, he became the fifth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, serving until 2010.

Mr. Johnston became the 28th governor general of Canada, in 2010, and served in that capacity until 2017. His seven-year vice regal mandate—the third longest in Canadian history— was characterized by inclusiveness, dedication, energy and ambition in quest of a smarter, more caring Canada and a better world.

Sharon Johnston was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario completed her studies in physical and occupational therapy at the University of Toronto in 1966. She completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Science at McGill University, and obtained her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at McGill University. 

Mrs. Johnston began her working career in Kingston, Ontario, as a psychiatric occupational therapist with young adults at Kingston General Hospital, and then as a therapist at Beechgrove, a treatment centre for young children with learning and behavioural problems. When the Johnston family moved to Toronto, she worked at the Crippled Children’s Centre in Occupational Therapy.

An avid horse-riding enthusiast, Mrs. Johnston ran a horse-training centre for 12 years out of Chatterbox Farm, in Ontario, which she shared with her husband. She published her first novel, Matrons and Madams, a fictional account of life in southwestern Alberta during a colourful, post-Great War era, based on her grandmother’s experiences. 

In 2016, Mrs. Johnston was appointment Honorary Captain (Navy) for Military Personnel Command of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Honorary Degree Recipients: The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston