Institute founders earn allocades

Two lifelong friends and business associates will receive special accolades from Vancouver Island University.

Two lifelong friends and business associates who have helped thousands of people transform their lives through programs of professional and personal development will receive special accolades from Vancouver Island University.

Dr. Jock McKeen and Dr. Bennet Wong, founders of The Haven Institute on Gabriola Island, will receive honorary doctorate degrees at VIU’s convocation ceremony Feb. 9.

The pair developed a rich variety of courses by blending traditional Chinese medicine with western psychiatry and humanistic psychology into a unique and in-depth approach to self-development.

They believe in an integrated approach in body, mind and spirit, emphasizing responsibility for the self in health, relationships and lifestyle.

“We feel deeply honoured to be receiving honorary doctorate degrees from Vancouver Island University,” said McKeen. “To be recognized for our life work is extremely gratifying.”

Often called the University of the Heart, The Haven is a major employer on Gabriola, and attracts students from all over the world.

McKeen and Wong created the core programs which continue to be taught.

McKeen received medical training at the University of Western Ontario, then worked in street clinics and drug crisis centres and served as an intern in a rural hospital in Jamaica.

Wong earned his medical degree from the University of Alberta and completed training at the Menninger School of Psychiatry.

Gerry Owen, a Nanaimo lawyer, nominated McKeen and Wong for the honorary doctorate degrees. He said their work became a harmonious blending of eastern and western medical approaches.

“Through their courses, people have discovered themselves in new ways, often changing their lives indelibly, and thereby having a positive effect on those around them,” he said. “It is these courses that make The Haven unique, and which continue to attract participants in large numbers to this day.”

Wong and McKeen have travelled the world leading numerous seminars, primarily in Asia, but also in Europe, Africa, Russia, the Middle East, and in North and South America.

Prior to retiring in 2004, Wong and McKeen transferred ownership of their privately owned business into a federal charitable organization, The Haven Foundation, which now owns the institute.