Captain of the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team awarded honorary degree

President Davis discusses how Christine Sinclair embodies the Kwantlen spirit

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

She’s an Olympic bronze medalist, captain of the Canadian Women’s National soccer team, and is Canada’s all-time leading scorer. Born and raised in Burnaby, B.C, Christine Sinclair is a pioneer in Women’s soccer.

She was awarded an honorary degree from KPU during a special convocation ceremony on Oct. 6. The university defines an honorary degree as being awarded “in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public.” Sinclair joined the ranks of honorary degree recipients in the Lower Mainland which include Bill Nye (from SFU), and Rick Mercer (from UBC). President Dr. Alan Davis shares his insights on KPU selecting Sinclair as the recipient of this honor.

“It was a very strong nomination for acknowledgment of her success and her leadership as an athlete representing Canada,” says Davis. “She represents Canada very well—she’s very strong, she’s a great team leader, and she’s very passionate about her sport.”

The university had nominated Christine back in 2013 but, due to scheduling conflicts, she couldn’t attend the convocation until this fall.

“We’re trying to reflect our community and reflect the values of the university when we give honorary degrees” says Davis. “There’s a number of different ways that we look at it. In the end, I think you’re looking at people who have really given themselves and advanced the community as a result of the work that they do. We take pride in them accepting the honor.”

Among her many achievements, Sinclair has also been named Player of the Year by the Canadian Soccer Association 12 times, and is also a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

This past summer, Sinclair and the Canadian Women’s team competed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup—a record-breaking tournament. Team Canada got an all-time-high of 112 goals and it was the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup ever.

“In many different ways she exemplifies the values at KPU in terms of her tireless pursuit of excellence,” says Davis. “I think she’s very much a role model for young people, it doesn’t matter what field they’re in. Everybody respects her as a leader. She took it to a level at a time when women’s soccer wasn’t that popular. She’s been the person everybody looks to as the face of Canadian soccer.”

Davis hopes that KPU has built a relationship with Christine so that when she has the opportunity, she can come visit and engage with students. He wants students to understand the values that Christine has demonstrated—to be in it for the long-term, be persistent, be dedicated, and to strive for the very best.

“It’s the notion of tireless pursuit, just like the ‘tireless runner,’ where we get our name from,” explains Davis. “She does that. She doesn’t just sit back and rest on her laurels, she’s always striving for more. Find your passion, go for it, and stick with it. There’s always going to be ups and downs as I’m sure Christine has experienced.”

Even though Canada didn’t make it to the finals of the 2012 Olympics, she came back strong, as is the case with the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was a tough loss but she’ll come back and try again. Davis hopes that that notion of dedication and persistence is what students take from her example.

“The pay off to her is individual. It’s taking responsibility for your own success and for the richness of your own life. What you put into life is what you get out of it. I think Christine chose that that’s the case. I’m sure she’ll be a force in women’s soccer for many years to come.”

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