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Graham Dennis and Dr. Anita Foley to receive honorary degrees from StFX

November 22, 2006

Source: St. Francis Xavier University

Newspaper publisher Graham Dennis and rural physician Dr. Anita Foley will be recognized for their contributions to society with the conferring of honorary degrees from St. Francis Xavier University during fall convocation on Saturday, Dec. 9.

StFX will graduate more than 220 students at fall convocation, plus 41 graduates of the Coady International Institute's diploma program in community development. Fall convocation takes place at the Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre at StFX, starting at 3 p.m.

Graham Dennis, owner and CEO of The Halifax Herald Limited, has been a newspaperman since childhood. Born and raised in Halifax, he started selling newspapers as a boy in 1934 and joined his family's publishing business full-time in 1949. He assumed the role of publisher of The Halifax Herald Limited newspapers in 1954 upon the death of his father. In 1963, he became President and CEO of the Chronicle Herald, The Mail-Star and The Sunday Herald.

As owner of the largest independently owned and operated newspaper in Canada, Dennis is recognized as a man of integrity and a staunch defender of independent journalism. In honour of his steadfast dedication to freedom of speech and expression, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1984 for having "progressively realized the ideal of the public-spirited publisher."

An astute businessman, Dennis is committed to excellence and innovation in the newspaper industry. In order to maintain a competitive edge, he recently invested $26 million in the procurement of the only Wifag printing press in Canada. In honour of this outstanding contribution to independent journalism in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Herald was named Business of the Year by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce and inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dennis places full confidence in his team of committed staff and recognizes them as the key to his success. In fact, The Herald has never laid off an employee. In acknowledgement of the respect and positive working environment accorded to employees, the Halifax Herald was named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers in 2005 and 2006.

A Bachelor of Arts graduate of McGill University, Dennis has long been a supporter and promoter of higher education. He is also a genuine humanitarian and philanthropist. As a result of the tragic death of his son in 2002, Dennis generously contributed $2.3 million to pediatric epilepsy research in Nova Scotia. In recognition of his exemplary contributions to Canadian society, he has received numerous awards, including the Queen's Coronation Medal as well as the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Throughout his career, Graham Dennis has proven to be a man of phenomenal principle and generosity. He has demonstrated a passionate commitment to innovative business enterprise, independent journalism and the power of education. His contribution to society over more than 50 years reflects the traditions and values of Saint Francis Xavier University.

Dr. Anita Foley
Dr. Anita Foley came to the village of Guysborough, Nova Scotia in 1976 as a new graduate from Dalhousie Medical School. She planned to set up a small rural practice for a six-month period. Thirty years later, she is still in Guysborough, providing exceptional rural-based health care as an integral and vital part of the community.

A Bachelor of Science graduate from StFX, Dr. Foley obtained a Master's degree in nutrition from the University of Toronto. She then began a career of service by joining Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO) and teaching nutrition in Tanzania, Africa, for several years. After returning to Canada, she became an assistant professor in nutrition at the University of Windsor. Dr. Foley then attended Dalhousie Medical School.

Soon after her arrival in Guysborough, she began efforts to improve medical conditions in the community. She became Chief of Staff at Guysborough Memorial Hospital, a position she continues to hold, and started providing professional development and medical training to the nurses and other health care professionals serving the hospital. Dr. Foley continues to provide this service and has enhanced the level of care over the years to the extent that Guysborough Memorial Hospital is now recognized for excellence in rural-based medicine.

On frequent occasions, Dr. Foley has been the only physician in the community. As a result, she has touched the lives of nearly all residents of Guysborough. Her dedication has gone beyond the norm. She has made many house calls to those unable to attend her office. On her infrequent days off, Dr. Foley often calls patients to provide test results. As well, she fields many telephone calls at home from patients inquiring about their medical conditions. Dr. Foley has often been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At a time when the threat of closures of small rural hospitals is always present, Dr. Foley ensures that Guysborough's hospital will not be closed because of a lack of physicians to service the area. She has used her many contacts in the medical field to attract doctors to assist her in her community and has sponsored foreign medical graduates to come to Guysborough.

Dr. Foley is widely admired by medical colleagues for her diagnostic abilities. She has also received numerous awards in recognition of the care she provides to citizens of her community.

Outside of her practice, Dr. Foley has a keen interest in theatre and was one of the early directors of Mulgrave Road Theater, one of the longest running professional touring companies in Canada. She continues to provide support for this locally based theater and has been recognized by the company for her significant contribution to its success.

In 2002 Dr. Foley received a number of awards recognizing her outstanding service to her community, including the Rural Service Award of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, the Medical Society of Nova Scotia Physician of the Year Award, and the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Medal.

Dr. Anita Foley epitomizes the spirit of giving to one's community. The people of Guysborough and area have benefited greatly from her selfless commitment to their well-being. She is an outstanding example of the Xaverian commitment to community service.



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