Learn More

Huron confers Honorary Doctor of Divinity on alumnus Michael Medline, President & CEO of Empire Company Limited, at 313th Convocation

Jon Munn, Director, Marketing & Communications
May 11 2020

Huron – the founding institution of Western University – celebrated its 2019 graduates with a very special Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Convocation. During the ceremony, Huron alumnus - Michael Medline, the President & Chief Executive Officer of Empire Company Limited (Empire) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc. - was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity.

The university presented Mr. Medline, BA ’84, with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in celebration of his significant professional achievements, as well as his long record of philanthropic involvement. As one of Canada’s most accomplished business leaders, Medline has curated some of the country’s most significant mergers and acquisitions, including Mark’s Work Wearhouse and Sport Chek at Canadian Tire, and Farm Boy at Sobeys.

Medline’s compassionate and collaborative leadership style, as well as his dedication to community giving perfectly align with Huron’s vision for a more ethical and sustainable model of education. The university’s President, Dr. Barry Craig, highlighted the connection between the university’s new direction and its prominent alumnus during the 2019 Convocation:

“We are calling upon each of our students to be “Leaders with Heart” – engaged and informed citizens who do the right thing, even when no one is looking. That is exactly the type of leader Michael is,” Dr. Craig shared. “We are celebrating him today because his legacy is not only defined by great achievements, but also demonstrates his strength of character, which consistently balances effectiveness with ethical conduct.”
Dr. Craig went on to thank Mr. Medline for his people-first approach to business, as well as his contributions to improving the lives of Canadians by enhancing access to health, wellness and education.

When Mr. Medline spoke to Huron’s class of 2019, he not only reiterated Dr. Craig’s sentiments regarding the importance of a Liberal Arts degree, but also encouraged Huron students to follow their hearts in their lifelong pursuit of both professional and personal success.

“When I sat where you are today, I didn’t take the safe career advice for that time. And I don’t give that kind of advice now, period,” Medline said. “The individuals who succeed are the ones who are able to adapt, embrace change and – most importantly – follow their passions. My time at Huron gave me that foundation for the future, and it led me to where I am today.”