Governor General Mary Simon announced 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada in late December — a list of esteemed individuals that includes philanthropist and property developer Jim Spatz (MD’74, LLD’22), Elder Albert Marshall, Dal Architecture Professor Richard Kroeker, and physician and medical educator Dr. Ronald Stewart (MD’70, LLD’17).  

By Emily MacKinnon 


Four people with strong connections to Dalhousie were among the 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada, announced in late December 2023.  

Josef (Jim) Spatz (MD’74, LLD’22), Elder Albert Marshall (Architecture and Planning) and Professor Richard Kroeker (faculty member of Architecture and Planning) were made Members of the Order of Canada, for distinguished service in or to a community, group, or field of activity. Dr. Ronald Stewart (MD’70, LLD’17), who was first made a Member in 1993, was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada, an honour that recognizes outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large. 

Josef (Jim) Spatz (MD’74, LLD’22) 

Jim Spatz

Honoured for his business and community leadership as well as his philanthropic support of diverse causes and initiatives, Halifax-based property developer and CEO of Southwest Properties Jim Spatz described his appointment to the Order of Canada as one of the biggest thrills of his life.  

Among his many charitable contributions to his community, Spatz has been steadfast in his devotion to Dalhousie. Appointed to the university’s Board of Governors in 2001, he became its chair in 2008 and served in that role through until 2014. During that time, Dal completed the largest fundraising campaign in its history, expanded its global profile significantly and constructed several new buildings (the latter being an area in which Spatz says he was always eager to provide advice and guidance).  

Spatz was also instrumental in establishing the Simon and Riva Spatz Chair in Jewish Studies, named for his parents, who were Holocaust survivors. The appointed Spatz Chair was announced and their inaugural public lecture was delivered at Dalhousie last January. Spatz was presented with an honourary doctorate degree in 2022, acknowledging his inspirational leadership and outstanding contributions to the Dalhousie community. 

Elder Albert Marshall (Faculty of Architecture and Planning) 

Alum Aaron Prosper (BSc’19) and Elder Albert Marshall. Prosper, who grew up in Eskasoni First Nation, has known Elder Marshall his whole life and has collaborated with him on a few projects. Prosper considers Marshall one of his lifelong community Elders / teachers / mentors.

Elder Albert Marshall of Eskasoni First Nation was made an Officer for his contributions to the understanding of Two-Eyed Seeing or Etuaptmumk and for promoting Mi’kmaw culture, language and sustainability. (Etuaptmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing, is a Mi’kmaw guiding principle that refers to learning from both Indigenous and Western knowledge to gain a greater understanding of the world for the benefit of all.)  

Elder Marshall is known for his application of Etuaptmumk to the built environment, and he has inspired generations of Dalhousie Architecture faculty and students to consider the concept in design and build projects that he led from his Eskasoni home. Marshall and his late wife, Murdena, spent decades welcoming architecture students into their home to teach them about Indigenous ways of building and the notion of Etuaptmumk. Marshall has also encouraged students and alumni to consider the collective environment in their designs. 

Marshall says he was humbled and honoured to accept this acknowledgement on behalf of all the Elders and knowledge holders who have shared their knowledge with him. 

The Marshall Bursary, which was established in 2021 with the help of Professor Emeritus Richard Kroeker, provides financial support to an Indigenous student pursuing a degree in architecture, planning or engineering. These design professions play a major role in defining our communities and give Indigenous students the opportunity to shape the world in which they live. 

Richard Kroeker (Faculty, School of Architecture) 

Richard Kroeker

Richard Kroeker, Professor Emeritus in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning, was inducted for his innovative leadership as one of Canada’s leading architects who uses multiple perspectives of Indigenous and Western artistic and environmental models in his work.  

Kroeker’s research and practice focus on design in the context of communities and cultures at risk. Kroeker has been strongly influenced by the teachings of Elder Albert Marshall and his late wife Murdena Marshall. Kroeker’s work has explored how ideas and knowledge systems embedded in Indigenous ways of thinking and building are expressed through architecture, as well as how they can support cultural continuity and inform the surrounding cultural context.  

At Dalhousie, Kroeker co-designed with community and Elders through a Two-Eyed Seeing approach, which ultimately led to such influential designs as the West Wing project in Eskasoni and the Pictou Landing Health Centre. His current research includes building energy modelling methods, shell construction techniques and innovations in structural wood use. 

Dr. Ronald Stewart (MD‘70, LLD’17) 

Dr. Ronald Stewart

Dr. Ronald Stewart has worked in emergency medicine for over 50 years and was originally made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993 for his commitment to the field, including the creation of Nova Scotia’s current Emergency Health Service (EHS), which encompasses ground ambulance and LifeFlight service. His promotion to Companion of the Order of Canada recognizes his continued groundbreaking contributions, as well as his sustained leadership in the public health sector.  

Dr. Stewart has long been a champion of Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia medical community. In 2017 he received an honourary doctorate degree from Dal, and he is the namesake of the Dr. Ronald Stewart Student Award for student leadership in global health. Dr. Stewart also generously pledged $1.3 million to Dalhousie to create the Ronald Stewart Fund in Emergency Medical Services Research, which funded the Ronald Stewart Symposium in Emergency Medical Services Research in 2017 and will continue to fund research around emergency medicine for years to come.  

Dr. Stewart said when he learned of his initial appointment as Member of the Order of Canada in 1993, and of his latest promotion within the Order to Companion (reserved for those who demonstrate outstanding level of talent and service), it made him happy because it showed an acceptance and appreciation of his area of interest and expertise. 

The Order of Canada 

The Order of Canada was created in 1967 and is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Appointments are made for sustained achievement at three levels: Companion, Officer and Member. Officers and Members may be elevated within the Order in recognition of further achievement, based on continued exceptional or extraordinary service to Canada.  

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada announced the newest inductees on December 28, 2023, in Ottawa, saying, “As governor general, I have seen first-hand that our communities are rich in both excellence and diversity, which we need to do our utmost to recognize.”  

Congratulations to all appointees!