His Excellency talks with International student Ashafu Lawal during the luncheon on January 29


During his tour of Western Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston stopped in Nanaimo to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from VIU. During his visit, VIU held a luncheon for students to meet with his Excellency.
Held in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on January 29, the luncheon provided a chance for the Governor General and his wife, Sharon Johnston, to meet students from each faculty.
The students were also given the opportunity to speak with VIU’s new chancellor, Louise Mandell Q.C., and University President Ralph Nilson.
In his opening remarks, his Excellency cracked jokes and shared a story from his trip, and talked about his grandchildren. He commended Nilson on his progress here in “just eight years” being an official university.
Her Excellency, Sharon Johnston, spoke with students about her novel, The Last Post, coming out April.  Set in post WWI Alberta,  the story is based on her grandmother’s experience in Canada.
Before meeting students, their Excellencies visited Harmac Mill near Duke Point. The paper and pulp mill went bankrupt in 2008, and was then purchased by its employees the same year.
Following the luncheon with students, his Excellency met with community members, including Bill McKay, the new Mayor of Nanaimo. That same afternoon, the Governor General attended VIU’s convocation ceremony at The Port Theatre, where their Excellencies received their honorary doctorates.
According to VIU, an “Honorary Doctor of Laws is awarded for accomplishments and contributions in areas such as politics, justice, and social activism.”
His Excellency spoke at VIU’s convocation ceremony to the 655 graduating students. “I never tire of seeing the determination and idealism on the faces of a new generation of graduates,” he said.
According to viu.ca, there were students “graduating from a range of disciplines in the Faculties of Art and Humanities, Management, Social Sciences, Education, Health and Human Services, Science and Technology, and Trades and Applied Technology.”