During its spring convocation ceremonies to be held on May 16 and 17, 2024, Mount Saint Vincent University will recognize the achievements of several hundred students and bestow an honorary degree on the Honourable Paula A. Cox and Michelle Douglas.

The Honourable Paula A. Cox and Michelle Douglas, in two separate photos, smiling for the camera

The Honourable Paula A. Cox, CBE, JP (at left above)

The Hon. Paula A. Cox, CBE, JP, is the former Premier of Bermuda. First elected to office in a by-election in 1996, she was re-elected in 1998 and appointed the first Progressive Labour Party Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety. She subsequently served as Minister of Education and Development, as well as Attorney General, and succeeded her late father, the Hon. C. Eugene Cox, CBE, JP, assuming the Ministry of Finance portfolio from 2004 to 2012. She became Premier of Bermuda in October 2010 and served until there was a change of government in 2012.

Ms. Cox was named the “Most Effective Politician” in the Best of Bermuda Awards in each of 2001, 2003 and 2006, and across all of her portfolios.

Today, she is Chair of the African Diaspora Consortium, serves on the Advisory Board of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, and is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders. She was the Founding President of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Bermuda Chapter and served three terms as a member of the IWF global board. She has also served on the Board of the Bermuda Credit Union.

Ms. Cox holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from McGill University and a post-graduate Diploma in International Law from Manchester University. She is a UK-trained Solicitor and a member of the Bermuda Bar. She was formerly Corporate Counsel for ACE Limited (now CHUBB) and General Counsel for the Horseshoe Group. Currently, she is the Governance and Compliance Director for Allianz Risk Transfer (Bermuda) Limited.

Michelle Douglas (at right above)

Michelle is a veteran, a former military officer, a survivor of Canada’s “LGBT Purge” and an activist in the movement to seek legal equality for the 2SLGBTQ+ community over the past 30 years. She is a bridge-builder.

Michelle served as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1986 to 1989. Despite a distinguished service record, she was honorably discharged after being deemed “Not Advantageously Employable Due to Homosexuality.”

After being fired by the military, Michelle’s landmark legal challenge in 1992 ended Canada’s formalized discriminatory policy against LGBT members of the military.

This experience launched a decades-long commitment to volunteerism and activism for Michelle. She has been a part of many legal challenges to seek equality for the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Professionally, Michelle had a 30-year career in public service. She retired from the federal Department of Justice in 2019 where she held the position of Director of International Relations. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the LGBT Purge Fund.

Michelle is a member of the board of directors of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and was presented with the Canada Pride Citation in 2023. She was recently named an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces; she is assigned to the organization known as the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture. Michelle is a graduate of Carleton University.

Special note: Michelle Douglas will be making a public presentation while in Halifax in May. She’ll deliver her talk, titled “The LGBT Purge: Why it matters now more than ever,” on Wednesday, May 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Halifax Central Library (in the library’s Living Room). All are welcome.

Convocation Ceremony Details
The Honorable Paula A. Cox will be honoured during the convocation ceremony taking place at 2 p.m. on May 16. Michelle Douglas will be honoured during the 10 a.m. ceremony on May 17. Convocation ceremonies will be held in the Seton Academic Centre Auditorium and will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.