First Honorary Degree
The Honorable Jake Epp - Minister of Health and Welfare in the late 1980s - was presented with Trinity’s first Honorary Degree, that of ‘Doctor of Laws’ on April 26, 1987. The degree was conferred on Mr. Epp because of his exemplification of a positive, goal-oriented Christian leader, someone who is a living example of TWU’s Mission Statement.
After receiving the degree, Mr. Epp gave the graduation address. He used Daniel as an example of how one can be a Christian and integrate one's faith in all fields of work.
[TWU Archives: Pillar Yearbook Collection, 1987, Addendum p. 196]
Jake Epp with President Snider, 1987.
[TWU Archives: 1998-01-3950]
Graduation program, 1987.
[TWU Archives: Coll. 4 B 8 File 4]
Presentation & Response
Excerpts from Trinity’s twenty-fifth annual commencement exercises, 1987.
[TWU Archives: Audio Visual Collection. Aud 183]
Ken Davis [Academic Vice President]: Mr. President, I present to you the honourable Arthur Jacob Epp, a Christian statesman known to most Canadians both for the quality of his life and his dedicated service to his country. In the judgment of the governors and the administration of Trinity Western University, he models the mission of this university to a high degree – probably as well as anyone could. That is, he has integrated effectively and well the qualities of Christian leadership, of commitment to a Christian world-and-life view, and of Christian concern for the well-being of others and his country. In honouring him - as we know he would desire it - we honour also and above all the God whom he loves and serves, and who enables him to exercise the gifts of leadership and service for which he is respected by his colleagues and by Canadians of all political parties.
Neil Snider: Arthur Jacob Epp, by authority of the Board of Governors, and by virtue of the powers vested in Trinity Western University by the province of British Columbia, I hereby admit you to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Jake Epp: Mr. President, Mr. Minister, Members of the Board of Governors, Members of Faculty, Members of Provincial and Federal Houses of Parliament, Members of Municipal Governments, students of Trinity Western, my fellow parents, and friends of the University: I am honoured today to have the opportunity to address this assembly, and there are a number of reasons why I consider it to be such an honour. First, I recognize the pioneering efforts of this university, of its founders, who had a vision to build an outstanding educational institution and to send a very clear message to Canadians. And that message: that academic excellence and Christian faith are compatible. Secondly, as parents - and all parents of graduates, I hope, join in my words - Lydia and I have seen the positive influence of that combination of faith and academic excellence on a member of our family – our daughter Lisa. And so, Mr. President, faculty members, members of the Board of Governors – everyone associated with the University – would you please accept our thanks, the thanks of all of us as parents of the 1987 graduating class as a collective public expression of the esteem, the respect, and the love that we all share for you here at Trinity Western. I believe your graduates, as before, will influence Canadian life by bringing a new dimension of Christian faith and leadership to our country. Lastly, Mr. President, I am deeply humbled by the honour that you and the Board of Governors have bestowed on me today.