York’s president named to Order of Canada

York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden has been named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.

Lorna R. MarsdenMarsden is renowned as a pioneering educator, administrator and community leader who has guided York University since 1997. This recognition of her accomplishments represents a York tradition, as all five of the University’s past presidents have also been honoured by the Order of Canada.

Right: Lorna R. Marsden

Marsden was among the 56 new appointments to the Order of Canada made by Governor General Michaëlle Jean on Friday. Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall on a date yet to be determined.

“I am honoured to be named to the Order of Canada,” Marsden said. “It is a testament to the quality of York University that all of its past presidents have received this honour and I feel privileged to be counted among these accomplished individuals and other Canadians from across the nation. I believe that this honour also realizes the vitality and contributions of York University as a whole on the national stage.”

Marsden’s career is diverse, ground-breaking and multi-faceted. A former Canadian senator, she also served as president of the National Action Committee (NAC) on the Status of Women, and was president of Waterloo’s Wilfrid Laurier University before coming to York nine years ago.

Marsden has always worked to connect her academic and public life to the community. A sociologist, academic and former politician, she was the third president of the NAC when equal pay and benefits issues were being developed. She was a founder of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and worked with its research council and program on economic growth for many years. Marsden was named a YWCA Woman of Distinction in 2003.

In November she was honoured as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), a leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of executive-minded women in the workplace. Marsden was given special recognition by WXN as the top public sector leader, from among the 10 women awarded in the public sector and broader public sector categories. She has also served in a variety of organizations where research and action meet in the service of students and the Canadian and international communities.

Marsden is among 38 members (CM), 15 officers (OC), two companions (CC) and one honorary member to be named on Feb. 3. The new members also included York alumnus Clayton Ruby (BA ’63), an outspoken lawyer who has served in many high-profile human rights, aboriginal and criminal cases. Bernard Ostry, an influential former civil servant who received an honorary doctorate from York in 2002, and David Suzuki, well-known environmentalist and broadcaster who received a York honorary degree in 2005, were each  promoted within the order to Companion, the highest rank.

For more details on the Order of Canada and the latest members, see the Order of Canada site and the Governor General’s news release.

For more on Marsden’s accomplishments, visit www.yorku.ca/president/biography/html.