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The U of S to confer an honourary doctorate upon the Hon. Robert Del Frate

Hon Robert Del Frate

During its annual Awards Ceremony to be held virtually on Thursday, March 25, 2021, the University of Sudbury will have the pleasure of awarding an Honourary Doctorate in Sacred Letters to the Honourable Robert Del Frate, a bilingual individual showing great community involvement, notably within the University of Sudbury, the Laurentian Federation, and Greater Sudbury communities.

The Honourable Robert Del Frate hails from Spoleto, Italy and arrived in Canada with his parents and family in February of 1952. His father worked in the mines and then as a barber, and the family lived in Rouyn Noranda, Toronto, and then Sudbury, where the Hon. Del Frate still lives today with his spouse Barbara, now counting 4 children and 4 grandchildren. An avid outdoors-person, he developed roots in Sudbury, while enjoying trips to Italy to spend time with his relatives and speak his mother tongue.

After attending Sudbury High School, he pursued his studies at Laurentian University, graduating with a degree in Français and Political Science. He then attended Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Ontario, graduating in 1970.

He did his articles with Arthur E. Maloney Q.C., an eminent criminal counsel, and then practiced with the Honourable Mr. Justice J. A. Jerome of the Federal Court and Mr. Justice J.-M. Labrosse of the Ontario Court of Appeal. For 29 years, he practiced law with the firm of Lacroix, Forest and Del Frate. He was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Ontario in May of 2001, and was the first to be Italian-born. He retired in January 2020.

As a student, in 1967, he received the Sword of Loyola, the University of Sudbury’s highest award for graduating students who prove to be an outstanding example of the University's ideal in scholarship, leadership qualities, and concern for others. Later on in life, he also received the Spirit of Ontario medal by the Italian community, for outstanding contribution to the community. Throughout his career, he was Chair of the Board of Regents at the University of Sudbury, and Chair of the Board of Governors at Laurentian University. He also served on the Pension Appeal Board, and has been Director of the Advocate’s Society. He has been a member of the Sudbury Law Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Review Board, l’Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario, the Caruso Club, the Montessori Club, and an executive member of Ducks Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society of Canada, and Pheasants Forever, which aim to revitalize or conserve important wildlife habitats and natural environments.

The Honourable Del Frate has been loyal and has dedicated much of his time to the Sudbury community, while helping to ensure bilingual services are available in this city with deep francophone roots. He has also been deeply involved in the University of Sudbury and Laurentian Federation community.

At the University of Sudbury, we prepare students to become engaged citizens such as the Hon. Del Frate, and as part of this ceremony, many students and employees will also be recognized for their leadership.

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