Courage and advocacy celebrated during Fall Convocation

York University will confer honorary degrees on justice activist and former pro boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and on leading scholar, research advocate and administrator Thomas Brzustowski during its Fall Convocation ceremonies tomorrow and Saturday.

“We are proud to bestow honorary degrees on Mr. Carter and Mr. Brzustowski,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden. “Rubin Carter’s personal journey for justice helped to mobilize the civil rights movement and inspired a generation. We are also indebted to Thomas Brzustowski, who has helped the Canadian public and industry understand the vital importance of university research to this country’s future.”

Rubin Carter
Honorary Doctor of Laws degree
Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business
2:30pm, Friday, Oct.14

Rubin CarterRubin Carter (right) dedicates his time and energy to securing justice for the wrongly convicted in Canada, the US and in a growing number of other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Mexico. After reaching international prominence as the number one contender for the world middleweight championship, Carter was wrongly convicted for the 1966 murders of three people. He was sentenced to three life terms of imprisonment, but never ceased to maintain his innocence.

In 1974 he published his autobiography The 16th Round, which, together with recantations of two key witnesses, garnered a re-trial. In February 1988, after a 22-year struggle for justice, all indictments were finally dismissed.

A former executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), Carter has testified before the United States Congress about the need for preserving federal review of state court convictions, and was invited to the White House to speak with former US President Bill Clinton on issues related to the death penalty in America. Carter has also addressed the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, and has spoken alongside President Nelson Mandela at the first World Reconciliation Day in Australia.

Carter is now a sought-after inspirational speaker. He has brought his message to hundreds of audiences drawn from virtually every industry and profession, as well as students from many of North America’s leading schools, colleges and universities.

Thomas Brzustowski
Honorary Doctor of Science degree
Joseph E. Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Glendon College, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science & Engineering, and  School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
10:30am, Saturday Oct. 15

Tom BrzustowskiThomas Brzustowski (left) has been a leader in Canada and internationally in the movement to raise awareness of the importance of scientific research and innovation. From 1995 to 2005, he served as the president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). His presidency at NSERC was marked by a remarkable increase of industry support for research and innovation in universities, and NSERC programs supporting education and training have flourished.

He is currently RBC Professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of Management and RBC Chair in the Commercialization of Innovation. He also acts as senior adviser to the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. In this new role, Brzustowski continues to help Canadians understand why research and innovation are so crucial to Canada’s future.

Brzustowski graduated with a BSc in engineering physics from the University of Toronto in 1958 and received a PhD in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University in 1963. He was a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo from 1962 to 1987 where he taught and undertook research in thermodynamics and combustion. He served as Chair of Waterloo’s Mechanical Engineering program from 1967 to 1970 and as vice-president, Academic of the University of Waterloo from 1975 to 1987. Brzustowski served as deputy minister in the government of Ontario from 1987 to 1995, first in the Ministry of Colleges & Universities, and later in the Premier’s Council. He was appointed president of NSERC in October 1995, reappointed in 2000, and recently resigned in September 2005.

Brzustowski is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Canada.

All convocation ceremonies will be held on York’s Keele campus in the Convocation Pavilion located between Osgoode Hall Law School and the Atkinson Bldg.

The ceremonies will also be streamed live over the Internet. To view the ceremonies, click here.