Wycliffe College Announces Honorary Degree Recipients for 2024

Wycliffe announces 2024 Honorary Degree recipients

TORONTO, ON—Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto is pleased to announce its honorary degree recipients for 2024 will be Mrs. Shaila C. Visser and The Rev. Canon Dr Barry Parker. Both will receive their honorary degrees at Wycliffe’s spring convocation, which will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 13 in Wycliffe College’s Sheraton Hall.

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Description automatically generatedFor two decades Shaila Visser has provided leadership to Alpha—the church-based program known around the world for introducing people to the Christian faith. Her association with the course that has transformed the lives and beliefs of millions of people began with Alpha International in 2004, where she headed up Alpha in the Workplace globally.

Today, she is National Director of Alpha Canada, a role she has held since 2010, and the Global Senior Vice-President for Alpha International. A gifted communicator who is known for her strategic leadership and her ability to bring people together, Shaila’s great passion is helping people meet Jesus, and developing young talent for the church in Canada. She will be awarded the degree Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa), after which she will address the graduating class.

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Description automatically generatedThough the Rev. Canon Dr. Barry Parker is best known for serving 22 years as rector of St. Paul’s Bloor Street, he has given a lifetime of service to the church in Canada, beginning at a small rural Alberta parish in 1986, then a large suburban parish in Edmonton, before moving to Toronto, where he ministered until retirement. All three churches were regarded for their health and vitality during his tenure. He taught at Wycliffe College and Tyndale University and served as a Critical Incident Chaplain for Toronto Fire Services.

His leadership has been shaped by three desires: to know God and share the experience with others, to know himself and grow as Jesus’ disciple, and to hone and express his ministry gifts and those of others. He continues to provide leadership coaching to younger Christian leaders across denominations and across the country, and will preach at the celebratory service for graduates preceding convocation, where he will be awarded the degree Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa).

The honorary degree is Wycliffe College’s highest academic distinction. It is awarded to people whose lives and service to the church and society merit recognition.

Founded in 1877, Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto is a graduate school of theology committed to preparing students for lives of practical ministry and theological scholarship. Rooted in the evangelical Anglican tradition, Wycliffe is home to students from a wide variety of denominations seeking to deepen their commitment to Christ and knowledge of the Gospel through study and community. Wycliffe offers diverse programs from part-time certificates to doctoral degrees.