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Dorothy Dickson receives Honorary Degree as part of RDC’s 56th Convocation

Date posted: 
Fri, 06/05/2020
Dorothy Dickson

Leader. Environmentalist. Community builder. Volunteer. Dorothy Dickson has contributed to her communities in countless ways for more than eight decades. Now, at the age of 92, she continues to inspire others with the energy and enthusiasm she has for sharing knowledge, working with students and advocating passionately to preserve the natural world in which we all live. 

Her perspective was shaped as a youth living in England during the Second World War. Living through the range of experiences presented by the war, she learned to take on a great deal of responsibility and also to speak out and ask questions when she saw something that was not right. These qualities have served her well throughout her immense contributions as a physiotherapist, educator, volunteer, activist and environmental advocate.  

Dorothy, her husband and their two daughters moved to Canada in 1963, first living in Halifax before moving to Calgary in 1968. Once in Calgary, she translated her lifelong love of nature into a commitment to environmental preservation that has resounding impacts to this day. Her many decades of contributions are diverse and impactful, from developing one of the first recycling programs in Canada in 1972 to volunteering countless hours to helping to plan National Parks in Canada.   

A long-time resident of Red Deer, Dorothy has positively shaped this region. As an active member of the Red Deer River Naturalists Society, she was one of the citizens who provided guidance and input into the development of the beloved Waskasoo Park system in Red Deer. She remains active in the community, with her advising on the City of Red Deer’s planning document, Red Deer Vision 2020, demonstrating her expertise.  

Through her work to protect the environment and develop effective policies, Dorothy has always presented well-informed research, blended with practical and effective solutions about environmental protection. As a skilled writer, communicator and community builder, she had formidable ability to put forth a position, defend it and bargain for a fair resolution. Throughout her many years of advocacy and continuing to this day, Dorothy remains whole-heartedly dedicated to creating positive change through education and environmental stewardship.  

Her contributions have been recognized through many awards, including the Douglas H. Pimlott Award, Nature Canada’s most prestigious conservation award. It honours individuals who have demonstrated a significant contribution throughout their lifetime through words and deeds to the conservation of Canada’s biodiversity, landscapes and wilderness. Dorothy has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Environment Award through Red Deer & District Community Foundation’s Women of Excellence, along with honorary lifetime memberships with the Canadian Nature Federation and the Federation of Alberta Naturalists. Dorothy’s professional colleagues and peers from across the country recognize her lifelong commitment and determination to work collectively to preserve our world. 

Now living on RDC’s main campus at Bethany CollegeSide, she continues to educate community contributors, igniting in them a passion for lifelong learning and social engagement. She is enthusiastic to connect with RDC students whenever possible, sharing her wealth of knowledge and helping with their educational projects ranging from health care training to creative works. Students indicate her passion for life and naturalism is sincerely inspirational, modelling how to integrate community building, education and life-long learning into areas you care deeply about.  

Dorothy Dickson is unparalleled in her passion for environmental initiatives, education and community building. Now in her ninth decade, she remains a leader and educator, yet still a student eager to connect with others and learn more about the topics that inspire her most. Even now, she is committed to cultivating vibrant, engaged and active communities, and she is dedicated to carrying forward her life’s work with new vigor and fresh ideas.

Red Deer College is proud to announce Dorothy Dickson as the recipient of the Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for Convocation 2020.  

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