Whitby paddleboarder, mental health advocate honoured by Loyalist College

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Published June 7, 2023 at 9:35 am

An athlete, author and public speaker who crossed all five Great Lakes on a paddleboard last year – the first person with a disability to do so – was honoured with an Honorary Diploma by Loyalist College at the Belleville school’s Convocation ceremonies.

Mike Shoreman, a Loyalist grad and former paddleboard coach, made history with his multiple lake crossings last summer – four years after having to re-learn how to walk after developing Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.

Now the Whitby champion for mental health – especially for youth – travels across North America speaking to organizations about corporate wellness and resilience, and is a sought-after, award-winning leadership speaker. A feature length documentary following his journey and the Canadian mental health crisis will be released to the Canadian and International film festival circuit this August.

Shoreham also delivered the convocation address to this year’s graduates from the schools of science, which he called “an incredible honour.”

“My parents were in the audience and watched me receive an Honorary Diploma from Loyalist College,” he said. “I’m very honoured. When I was 17 I brought my dad’s car home without the side mirror. Today is a better day.”

Six other community leaders also received honorary diplomas at the college’s graduation ceremonies.

“We are proud to welcome these exemplary community leaders and Loyalist alumni to address graduating students at this year’s Convocation ceremonies,” said Loyalist President Mark Kirkpatrick. “Each honorary diploma recipient personifies our core institutional values of being caring, inclusive, engaging, creative, and accountable, and I know their stories will inspire Loyalist’s Class of 2023 as they move toward their career destinations.”

This year’s honorees also include:

  • Monique Belair, Fire Chief, Kingston Fire & Rescue Services and Kingston’s first female Fire Chief
  • Hanna Bunton, professional hockey player and coach and former Team Canada, Cornell University and Whitby Wolves star
  • Josiah Fallaise, founder and owner of FDF Raceshop, a leader in high-quality automotive engineering and manufacturing, specializing in racing
  • Shelby Lisk, Indigenous photographer, filmmaker and journalist whose work has been showcased all over the world
  • Lisa Kirbie, founder and CEO, Blackbird Strategies – a firm focused on reconciliation and social justice.
  • Henry Saulnier, Warden, Millhaven Institution
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