New Glasgow native to receive honorary doctorate from King’s

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Accolades are pouring in for New Glasgow native Sherri Borden Colley.

The CBC journalist will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of King’s College.

“I am at a loss for words,” said the daughter of Ruth and the late Hugh (Sparky) Paris of New Glasgow. “I am so grateful to the University of Kings’s College, Halifax, and to the person or persons that nominated me for this honorary degree. I am humbled and honoured.”

Borden Colley has been telling stories that matter to Nova Scotians since she was a journalism student at King’s in the 1990s. Over the course of her career she’s filed more than 3,000 stories for print and broadcast mediums. Strong personal convictions and a commitment to reporting excellence have led Borden Colley to write about issues involving justice, race, culture and human rights. Her work demonstrates the power of journalism to do good.

“Thank you to each and every person that has played a role in the development and success of my 25-year journalism career. This could not have happened without the encouragement and support of thousands of people that have allowed me to interview them for stories, helped me find proper resources for research, acted as sources in stories, given me news tips and story ideas and mentored me,” Borden Colley said.

“And to the African Nova Scotian community, to Dr. Sylvia Hamilton who gave me my first real job in journalism and is still my mentor, and to my late cousin, Mrs. Aleta Williams, one of the first black women to work in mainstream media in Nova Scotia, thank you. Much love to all of you. “

The University of King’s College will award Borden Colley the honorary doctorate at its 231st Encaenia ceremony scheduled for May 29.

According to the announcement made by the university, Borden Colley spent 21 years with the Chronicle Herald newspaper and for the past four years, has been a reporter/editor with CBC.

Since graduating with an honours Bachelor of Journalism degree from King’s in 1997, Borden Colley has given back to the university in multiple ways. She’s taught a course called News Media and the Courts within the School of Journalism and acted as a valued member of the journalism school’s advisory’s board. Her King’s colleagues praise Borden Colley’s dedication and generosity with students, faculty and staff. She is also a long-standing member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.

It was Borden Colley who, more than 60 years later, resurfaced the story of Viola Desmond’s civil rights action in 1946. Desmond’s story had largely fallen from the public consciousness until Borden Colley interviewed Wanda Robson, Desmond’s sister, in 2010 and wrote a series of articles about Desmond. In the wake of those articles, Desmond was posthumously pardoned by the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, a Halifax-Dartmouth ferry was named after her, and her image was eventually selected to appear on the Canadian $10 bill. Borden Colley was recognized for her contributions to Viola Desmond’s renaissance by receiving a Canadian Association of Journalists Award nomination in 2010.

Borden Colley’s commitment to community extends beyond the newsroom. She is active in the New Horizons Baptist Church where she directs the children’s choir, is a member on the Board of Management and serves as communications chair. She’s also a member of the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and she serves as their media representative. She was also a facilitator with the Community Justice Society Restorative Justice Program.

(Photo by Kelly Clark)