University of Manitoba president to get York honorary degree

Emõke Szathmáry, president & vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, will receive an honorary doctorate from York University during its winter convocation ceremonies on Feb. 15.

“In awarding this honorary doctorate, we’re recognizing Dr. Szathmáry’s exemplary leadership in education and her commitment to values that York holds dear: enhancing diversity and accessibility, internationalization, and community service,” said York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

Right: Emõke Szathmáry

Szathmáry’s work in the fields of education and university administration has been extensive. Prior to being named president of the University of Manitoba in 1996, she lectured and conducted research at Trent and McMaster universities in Ontario and was appointed Chair of McMaster’s Department of Anthropology in 1985. She then went on to serve as dean of the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Science, a position she held prior to returning to McMaster in 1994 to assume the role of provost and vice-president academic.

Her research has focused on the genetics of the Aboriginal peoples of North America. She has investigated the causes of type-2 diabetes in Aboriginal North Americans, the genetic relationships within and between peoples of North America and Asia, and the microevolution of the peoples of the subarctic and arctic. Szathmáry is the author of over 80 scientific articles and reviews and has co-edited three books. She is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a life member of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology. In 1998, the American Anthropological Association named her Distinguished Lecturer – the highest recognition in the anthropological discipline for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship.

Szathmáry has been active in a number of public and private committees and boards, including the Manitoba Electoral Boundaries Commission, Manitoba Diabetes Strategy Steering Committee, Advisory Committee on Diabetes to the Manitoba Minister of Health, Manitoba Museum Foundation Board, and Executive Committee and Board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. She is a past Chair of the Council of Presidents of Universities in Manitoba, and served as a director of the Canadian Genetics Diseases Network from 2003 to 2007. Currently, Szathmáry is the Chair of the Council of Western Canadian University Presidents and a director of the boards of the St. Boniface General Hospital in Manitoba, J.W. Dafoe Foundation, Canadian Credit Management Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada, Power Financial Corporation and Great West Lifeco, Inc.

A member of the Order of Canada, Szathmáry is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has been named among the Top 100: Canada’s Most Powerful Women. In 2007, she received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration in Manitoba.

Szathmáry will be honoured at the 10am ceremony for degree recipients in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The ceremonies will be held in The Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre in the Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus.