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Honorary Degree Recipient

The awarding of an honorary degree is a recognition by SAIT of distinguished achievement in scholarship, the creative arts or public service provincially, nationally or internationally. Our honorary degree recipients proudly take the opportunity to speak to our graduates about their own experiences at our bi-annual convocation ceremonies.

As part of its ongoing quest to recognize and support excellence, SAIT's Board of Governors seeks nominations for recipients of its honorary bachelor degrees. SAIT awards the honorary degree(s) to laud distinguished achievement in scholarship, the creative arts or public service, on the provincial, national or international stage. Nominations are currently closed.

Fall 2020 Honorary Degree Recipient

Mark Little

Mark Little, President and CEO, Suncor Energy Inc.

SAIT alumnus Mark Little is president and chief executive officer of Suncor Energy Inc. and a leader in the international energy industry.

Mark has an Applied Technology Petroleum Engineering degree from SAIT and a science degree from the University of Calgary. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Mark joined Suncor in 2008 as senior vice president, strategic growth and energy trading before becoming the senior vice president of integration following Suncor’s merger with Petro-Canada. He has also served as senior vice president, international and offshore; executive vice president, oil sands; executive vice president, upstream; president, upstream; and chief operating officer.

Though Mark was born and raised in Calgary, his impact has crossed continents. Over his 34-year career in the energy industry, his accountabilities in operations have spanned from the Wood Buffalo region and east coast of Canada to Latin America, North Africa, the North Sea and the Near East, where he oversaw significant improvements in efficiency and performance, as well as portfolio growth.

Under Mark’s leadership, Suncor launched Suncor 4.0, a business transformation journey to increase its competitive advantage and business performance for the future. The company is being hailed for its work in technology adoption and industry innovation, and has been involved in SAIT’s own digital transformation strategy.

Mark is currently a board member, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, as well as a member of its Executive Committee and Oil Sands CEO Council. He was recently named Resources of the Future chair on the Government of Canada’s Industry Strategy Council.

A strong community leader, Mark has been influential in developing Suncor’s community investment priorities. Priorities that include learning from and collaborating with Indigenous Peoples, building community resilience, and participating in an energy system transition to support sustainable practices and the future of the energy industry.


Spring 2020 Honorary Degree Recipient, Keynote Speaker

Mandy Rennehan

Mandy Rennehan, Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder Freshco.ca

Mandy Rennehan (a.k.a. Bear) is called the Blue-Collar CEO™ for her ability to seamlessly navigate between the white- and blue-collar worlds and to respectfully ’tell it like it is.’

Mandy is a sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, philanthropist and trade industry ambassador. Freshco.ca and Mandy have received countless business awards including:

  • Canada’s Most Admired CEO
  • Atlantic Business Magazine's Top CEO for the Atlantic Provinces
  • Toronto Region Board of Trade Business Leader of the Year
  • Top 25 Women of Influence
  • The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur “Momentum” Award
  • Growth 500 Excellence in Innovation (WXN’s) Top 100 Most Powerful Women – Hall of Fame
  • CGLCC LGBT Business of the Year
  • Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs.

Mandy’s vision goes well beyond building successful businesses. She is redefining the collar, blue™ to help solve the massive skilled trade shortage in North America. It is a profound economic and social issue that affects everyone. Consumers are paying more and waiting longer for services, companies aren’t able to scale and important infrastructure projects, like roads, transit and hospitals are being delayed.

Mandy is challenging the misconception that white-collar jobs are “better” or “more desirable” than blue-collar ones. Society needs both collars, and if we do not change this, the crippling effects of the skilled labour shortage will only get worse.

Bear is also a lead advisor to the federal government’s national campaign encouraging apprenticeships and promoting the skilled trades as a career. Mandy defies labels.

The description she often gets is “refreshing.” Her (respectfully) uncensored honesty is matched by her quick wit, East Coast humour and big heart. It is impossible to remain unchanged after coming into contact with this authentic, self-taught and self-made powerhouse.


"Hold the belief that you can achieve something even in the darkest moments. The only trick is to be persistent and consistent with a humble heart."

Ning Jia, Business Administration ‘12

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