Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

TRU 1999 Honorary Degree Recipients

Leonard Stephen Marchand - Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Leonard Stephen Marchand, an Okanagan First Nations, was born in Vernon, British Columbia in 1933. He spent his early years on the Okanagan Indian Reserve in Vernon, where he completed grades one through eight at the old, one-room school at Six Mile Creek. He attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School for grade nine, and Vernon High School for grades ten through twelve, becoming the first aboriginal Canadian to graduate from Vernon High School when he completed grade thirteen in 1955. He attended the University of British Columbia and received a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1959, continued his studies in range management at the University of Idaho, and in 1964 completed a Master of Science degree in Forestry. From 1960 to 1965 he was a research scientist at the agriculture research station in Kamloops, where he authored and co-authored several research papers.

During the late ‘fifties and early 'sixties, Marchand was an active member of the North American Indian Brotherhood. He worked on various issues such as obtaining the federal vote, self-government and improving education for First Nations. In 1965, Marchand became the first status Indian to work as a Special Assistant to a Cabinet Minister, the Hon. J.R. Nicholson, and from 1966 to 1969 was a Special Assistant to the Hon. Arthur Laing, two positions within the Ministry of Indian Affairs. In the 1968 federal election, Marchand again made history when he was elected Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Cariboo, becoming the first status Indian to be elected to the House of Commons.

He was re-elected in both 1972 and 1974, and during his years in government was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Hon. Jean Chretien, in 1972 and 1973, and to the Minister of Environment, the Hon. Jeanne Sauve, from 1974 to 1976. In 1976, Marchand was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council when he was appointed Minister of State for Small Business, and from 1977 to 1979 he was Minister of State for the Environment.

Following three terms as an MP, Marchand left politics and returned to private business as the administrator for the Nicola Valley Indian Bands in Merritt, and as Director of the Western Indian Agricultural Corporation, an agency designed to encourage advanced agricultural production methods among native Canadians. As Chairman of the Round Lake Treatment Centre Building Committee, he helped to establish Canada's first native drug and alcohol treatment centre, near Vernon.

On June 29th, 1984, the Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau appointed Marchand to the Senate of Canada to represent the province of British Columbia, Kamloops-Cariboo designation. Senator Marchand was active in many Senate Committees, especially those dealing with Social and Aboriginal affairs, Agriculture and Forestry, and Internal Economy, and in 1990 he helped to establish the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and was its first Chairman. He also worked on special projects on Aboriginal Electoral Reform and Aboriginal Veterans.

Senator Marchand was named honourary Chief of the Okanagans in 1984. He is a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Director Emeritus of the Canadian Council for Native Business, Honourary National Patron of the Canadian Native Arts Foundation, and Member of the Financial Trust Committee of the National Aboriginal Veterans War Monument Fund. On March 1, 1998, Senator Marchand retired early from the senate, but continues to work from his home in Kamloops on various projects, including the National Aboriginal Veterans War Memorial. This is Marchand’s first honorary degree.


Nancy Greene Raine - Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Nancy Greene was born in Ottawa, but has always considered herself to be from British Columbia. Her parents are from BC, and the family was only living temporarily in Ottawa when she was born during the war. Returning to the Kootenays after the war. Nancy Greene grew up in Rossland and did her early skiing on Red Mountain, where she skied from the age of three. She started her ski-racing career in local high school races, and her first trophy was a second-place finish, behind her sister Elizabeth. By the age of 17, Nancy was a member of the Canadian National Ski Team, competing at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley.

It was to be the first of three Olympic Games for the Canadian star, who would lead Canada to the top of the ski world, winning seven Canadian ski championships, two World Team Championships, two Overall World Cup Championships and two Olympic Medals in just eight years. Nancy's career also coincided with rapid changes in skiing, both in ski equipment- she started with leather lace boots and wood skis, and retired with plastic buckle boots and fibreglass skis- and in the organization of ski racing. She not only saw the introduction of the World Cup in 1967, she also captured the first overall title, with a victory by 7/100th of a second in the last race of the year.

As the 1968 Olympics approached, Nancy Greene was a favourite to win all three events, but an ankle injury a month before the games jeopardized her chances. A tenth-place finish in the opening downhill was disappointing, but the following day she captured silver in the Slalom. She finally achieved her dream of Olympic Gold in the Giant Slalom, giving everything she had to win by a margin of 2.68 seconds, still considered one of the most decisive wins in Olympic history. During the rest of the 1968 racing season, Nancy put together a string of victories in all three events and easily won her second downhill title. In two years she had a total of 13 World Cup victories, the most by a Canadian and still one of the top overall averages today.

She announced her retirement at the end of the 1968 season, and spent the summer serving on Prime Minister Trudeau's "Task Force on Sport" and assisting the Canadian Ski Team with fundraising and promotion, where she met Al Raine, the new Program Director of the national team. They were married in 1969, and their twin sons, Charley and Willey, were born in Montreal in 1970, the same year they renewed their connections to BC, building a ski cabin in a little-known place called Whistler.

They returned to British Columbia full time in 1975 to begin the next chapter, turning their attention to the business side of sking and tourism. The fact that her name is now synonymous with the development of Whistler Mountain started with her early role as the unofficial "Whistler Ambassador," promoting the area to investors, skiers and the media. In 1985, Nancy Greene Raine put her name and resources on the line to finance and build the first hotel in Whistler. Its success is credited as a turning point in the investment climate of the resort, and over the next decade her focus was promotion and public relations, and the booming business of tourism.

After almost two decades as an integral part of the phenomenon of Whistler Mountain, Nancy and Al Raine decided to turn their energy and talents to a new destination ski area, Sun Peaks Resort, where they now make their home in the lodge that bears her name.

Nancy Greene Raines's impressive list of accomplishments, in both athletics and business, has earned her many forms of recognition, including: Officer of the Order of Canada; Order of the Dogwood, the highest award in BC; the B'nai B’rith Woman of the Year; Whistler Citizen of the Year; BC Ambassador of Tourism; and selection to the National Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the US Ski Hall of Fame. This is Nancy’s first honorary degree.