Global humanitarian receives honorary doctorate and supports food security for students

September 3, 2021 | Campus Life

Dr. Brenda Barton and her son Matteo Aloi after she was officially presented with her parchment as one of the first recipients of an honorary doctorate from MacEwan University.

Dr. Brenda Barton, a global humanitarian and key member of an organization awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, returned to MacEwan University on September 2 to receive her honorary doctorate parchment in person.

Dr. Barton, who was officially awarded the honorary doctorate during an online ceremony in June, is currently the World Food Programme’s (WFP) country director in the Philippines, in charge of a five-year, $48.5-million strategic plan aimed at improving food security and reducing malnutrition. She graduated from MacEwan’s Advertising and Public Relations program in 1981 before embarking on a distinguished career working in Europe, Africa and south Asia.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Barton at the small, in-person event where MacEwan’s first chancellor, Dr. Tony Fields, presented her with the parchment. “The honour you’ve given to me is one that is shared with the thousands of people that I work with at WFP. Every day I am reminded of why we do the work we do. Every day, my colleagues, instead of fleeing, are staying behind in places like Afghanistan and Haiti to help people.”

Barton added that the food security crises that appear in headlines are not the only ones that exist. “We don’t see the toll that food insecurity takes on people,” she said. “There are a large number of people coming forward for help – not just in developing countries, but around the world. I’m happy to hear about the work that is happening here at MacEwan and to see the work being done in The Pantry.”


Dr. Barton toured The Pantry, the Students’ Association of MacEwan University’s confidential food program that provides hampers to students and their families.

While on campus, Dr. Barton lent her support to an upcoming food drive for The Pantry organized by MacEwan University’s United Way Committee. Volunteers are preparing for the annual “Pop the Trunk” event on Saturday, September 11 in support of The Pantry – the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU)’s confidential food program that provides hampers to students and their families. Pop the Trunk helps stock the shelves of The Pantry as the Fall term gets underway. Last year’s event raised over $4,000 in grocery donations.

Pop the Trunk on September 11 in support of The Pantry

Fill your trunk with non-perishable goods and head to MacEwan’s 109 Street parking lot (north of the SAMU building) on Saturday, September 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Simply pop your trunk and volunteers will collect your donation, contact-free!

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