SURREY â€” Mayor Dianne Watts will be receiving an honorary degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The announcement was made last week by KPU President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis, who will be presenting Watts with the degree this fall.
According to Davis, Watts was a natural choice for the honour, which was unanimously agreed upon as it made its way through the various levels of approval at the university.
"We’re always thinking about our region and the key people who have influenced our institution and the community," said Davis, noting that Watts has had an unmistakable impact on Surrey.
"We are a regional teaching university and we very much try to reflect what our region needs and what it wants and what it’s about. Very soon after I arrived here, I went to see Dianne Watts and she was very direct with me, very tough, and it wasn’t just a courtesy thing. She laid out the things that Kwantlen needed to do to engage more with the community, to better serve the region."
Davis said he was impressed by Watts’ clear vision on the region and how she’s been able to elevate Surrey into becoming the rising star of the Metro Vancouver region.
And while some may argue that Watts was just doing her job, Davis said she’s done much more than that.
"I think it’s just a testimony, she’s the mayor and she’s elected and paid to do it but at the same time she’s risen above that and done a lot more, which is commendable," he said. "She’s also a great role model for our students, particularly our female students. She presents herself in a way that is very admirable and deals with the power and influence that she has in a respectful way, but she’s also uncompromising in wanting the best for her community."
Watts will be presented with the degree in October, the month before the municipal election will determine her successor as mayor of Surrey.
"We tend not to honour politicians that are sitting, but you do honour people who are at the end of their term and have declared their intent not to run again," said Davis. "I thought she was gracious in accepting it as well, she said she would accept it but only ‘on behalf of the citizens of Surrey because they’re the ones that get it done.’"