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University and Project Compass collaborate on the third Distinguished Lecturer of the year

Monday, 25 October 2010

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is pleased to announce that the third Distinguished Lecturer for the 2010-2011 series is The Honorable Judge Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor for the Province of New Brunswick. Judge Nicholas' presentation will conclude an afternoon-long Native Heritage Month celebration, which is being hosted by Project Compass.

Judge Nicholas will speak on Education & Preservation of Native Culture at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the University's Wieden Auditorium. The afternoon celebration will be held in Wieden Gymnasium and include a blessing at 2 pm, a smudging ceremony between 2 and 2:30 pm, a social with traditional drumming from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, and a potluck meal of traditional food beginning at 4:30 pm. The lecture will begin at 6 pm and include greetings from University President Don Zillman, Houlton Band of Maliseet's Chief Brenda Commander, and Tobique First Nation Chief Steward Paul.

Judge Nicholas was born and raised on the Tobique First Nation Reservation. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University. When he received his Bachelor of Law degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1971, Judge Nicholas became the first Aboriginal person to receive a law degree in Atlantic Canada. After earning his Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1974, Mr. Nicholas returned to New Brunswick to work with the Union of New Brunswick Indians serving in leadership roles from 1976 to 1988.

Judge Nicholas served as a New Brunswick Provincial Court Judge for 18 years following his appointment on May 31, 1991. During this period, he continued his advocacy on behalf of New Brunswick's Aboriginal communities serving as Co-Facilitator of New Brunswick's Aboriginal Task Force on Aboriginal Issues.

Community leadership and service have garnered honors for Judge Nicholas including the New Brunswick Human Rights Awards, the Fredericton YMCA Peace Medallion, and the Canada 125 Medal. In addition, he was an inaugural recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal. He was awarded Honorary Degrees from both St. Francis Xavier and Wilfred Laurier Universities, and was awarded the Ilsa Greenlblatt Shore Distinguished Graduate Award at the University of New Brunswick Law School in 2004.

"Project Compass is privileged to serve as host for Judge Graydon Nicholas' visit to our university campus," said Eddy Ruiz, Project Compass Director. "It is an honor to have him participate in our celebration of Native Heritage Month, and I am certain that his presentation will provide astute insight on the connections between education and Native culture."

Project Compass is a program of the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Its mission is to advance Native education, retention and degree attainment by developing and improving culturally responsive and innovative institutional programs and strategies for the campus' Native American students.

The University Distinguished Lecturer Series (UDLS) was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints.

The public is invited to attend all or part of Project Compass' special Native Heritage Month celebration which includes the third 2010-2011 University Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation. For more information, contact the University's Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452.