June 11, 2024

It’s Dr. Maxwell: drumming great receives honourary degree from Simon Fraser University

Pipe band drumming legend J. Reid Maxwell received his official honourary degree for his lifetime of service to the art today by Simon Fraser University at the university’s convocation ceremony in Burnaby, British Columbia, along with nine other individuals with a similar level of accomplishment in research, writing, music, cultural knowledge or business acumen, for being “trailblazers in their fields and making a difference in the world.”

A native of Cardenden, Fife, Scotland, Reid Maxwell began his drumming career with the famous Dysart & Dundonald / Ballingry School program. With Dysart & Dundonald, he won two World Championship titles under Pipe-Major Bob Shepherd and Leading-Drummer James King.

“From a small mining village, Cardenden in Fife, how could this be happening to me?” – Reid Maxwell in his speech to SFU graduates

“Surreal and humbled,” Maxwell said in his speech to SFU graduates. “From a small mining village, Cardenden in Fife, how could this be happening to me? All I ever wanted to do was play drums. I guess that worked out okay.”

After emigrating to Canada in 1980, Maxwell became leading-drummer of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, with which he won another World Pipe Band and World Pipe Band Drumming title in 1987.

He moved from Ontario for Vancouver in 1992, and has been SFU’s leading-drummer ever since, winning six World Pipe Band Championships and eight World Pipe Band Drumming titles, including back-to-back wins in the last two years.

Most importantly, Maxwell has taught scores of drummers in British Columbia and worldwide, playing a crucial role in sustaining the band’s remarkably consistent success.

Reid Maxwell is the third SFU Pipe Band leader to receive an honourary degree. Former Pipe-Major Terry Lee and current Pipe-Sergeant Jack Lee were conferred with the recognition in 2013 for their continuing lifetime of service to piping and drumming.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes was awarded an honourary doctorate from Queen’s University in Belfast in 2019 for services to piping.

Congratulations to Reid Maxwell on Simon Fraser University’s official recognition of his contributions.






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