Carol Goar and Earle Toppings Awarded Honorary Degrees at Victoria University ConvocationIt has been said that that the pen is mightier than the sword. Indeed, with a sheet of paper and a writing implement, Friedrich Nietzsche claimed he could turn the world upside down. Accepting the validity of this statement means that the opposite must also be true: with pen and paper, the world can be turned right-side up. In the spirit of using the power of the written word for good, for justice and for change, Victoria University recognized the achievements of journalist Carol Goar and writer and broadcaster Earle Toppings at Victoria University’s May 12 convocation. Both have been named Doctors of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of their careers and dedication to journalism and the arts.
Carol Goar is devoted to the pursuit of justice and the analysis of critical social issues through writing.
Goar graduated from Carleton University in 1974 with a bachelor of journalism. She has worked at various publications, including the Ottawa Citizen, The Canadian Press, Maclean’s Magazine and the Toronto Star. She has received two National Newspaper awards for her work as a columnist (1986) and for her editorial writing (1997). As a columnist, she has been recognized by numerous associations for her commitment to social justice including: the Canadian Mental Health Association for using her writing to raise awareness about mental health issues (2005–2016); the Daily Bread Food Bank for her commitment to public education; York University for providing a voice for the poor; and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations for her writings on human rights (2012). She was presented for the degree by The Hon. Hugh D. Segal C.M. and hooded by Nettie Hoffman Emm 5T0.
Earle Toppings’ career is distinguished by his commitment and contribution to Canadian arts, media and cultural education. A graduate of both the Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto (1951) and University of British Columbia (1954), he became an editor with Ryerson Press, where he worked with prominent Canadian writers including Alice Munro. From 1971–1980, he taught radio and television arts at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (Ryerson University). While at Ryerson, Toppings produced the first university-credit course to be broadcast on radio, entitled “The Canadian Novel.” As associate editor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education from 1968–1971, he devised and produced two series of interviews called “Canadian Writers on Tape” and “Canadian Poets on Tape.” From 1980–1996, he worked as a script editor at the CBC and then became a writer, producer and program director at CJRT-FM. He continues to be an active volunteer and participant in Canadian institutions, including ArtWalk and Canadian Stage. Toppings was presented for the degree by Lisa Sherlock, Victoria University’s chief librarian and hooded by Anne Urbancic, academic programs coordinator at Victoria College, Vic One program coordinator and lecturer.