York to confer 10 honorary degrees at Spring Convocation

York University will confer 10 honorary degrees during its 2008 Spring Convocation ceremonies, June 16 to 21, to leaders in fields as diverse as politics, the corporate world, education, media, community service and environmental conservation.

The following individuals will receive honorary degrees:

Dr. Murray M. Fisher, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 16, 2008, 10:30am
Faculty of Environmental Studies
Faculty of Science and Engineering

Murray (Woody) Fisher, a prominent Toronto physician, medical researcher and co-founder of the Canadian Liver Foundation, purchased a large tract of threatened rainforest in Costa Rica in order to preserve it. In 1998, he donated the 133 hectares of land, known as Las Nubes (The Clouds) Rainforest to York University and established the M. M. Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation, which provides important opportunities for students of environmental studies and promotes sustainable practices in the Las Nubes area.

Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan, joint Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 16, 2008, 3pm
Faculty of Arts l
Faculty of Fine Arts

Sandra Faire, president and chief executive officer of SFA Productions, is an acclaimed film and television producer, writer and director. Ivan Fecan, president and chief executive officer of CTVglobemedia, is a top broadcast executive. Their outstanding philanthropy and dedicated volunteerism at York University and elsewhere, will be honoured with a joint degree.

Preston Manning, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 17, 2008, 10:30am
Faculty of Arts II

Preston Manning is president and chief executive officer of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, a not-for-profit organization that supports research, education and communications designed to achieve a more democratic society in Canada, guided by conservative principles. Active in Canadian federal politics from 1987 to 2002, Manning was one of the principal founders of the Reform Party of Canada in 1987 and Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance (Canadian Alliance) in 2000. He is a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute, an economic think tank which specializes in the roles of markets in economic and social development.

Margaret Norrie McCain, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 18, 2008, 10:30am
Faculty of Health l

Margaret Norrie McCain promoted women’s rights, social equality, early childhood education and the arts in New Brunswick for 40 years, where she served as Lieutenant-Governor from 1994 to 1997. McCain, who is married to entrepreneur Wallace McCain, continued to focus on many of these causes when she moved to Toronto in 1997. In the past two years she has focused her energy on the campaign to raise $100 million for Canada’s National Ballet School.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 18, 2008, 4:30pm
Faculty of Health ll

Vaira Vike-Freiberga  was elected as the first female President of Latvia (and the country’s sixth president) in 1999, a year after returning to Latvia after more than four decades in Canada. She was re-elected as head of state in 2003, a post she held until July 2007. Born in Latvia, Vike-Freiberga had moved to Canada at the age of 16, attended the University of Toronto and McGill University, and taught psychology at the Université de Montréal until 1998.

Lynn McDonald, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 19, 2008, 10:30am
Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies

Lynn McDonald, professor of Sociology at the University of Guelph, has authored three books on sociological theory, including The Early Origins of the Social Sciences. She directs The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, a major project which has produced 10 volumes of an expected total of 16. A member of Parliament from 1982 to 1988, she is a former president of Canada’s largest women’s organization, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

John Mark Willinsky, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 19, 2008, 4:30pm
Faculty of Education

John Willinsky, Pacific Press Professor of Literacy & Technology at the University of British Columbia, and Distinguished University Scholar in its Department of Language and Literacy Education, is an accomplished author in fields including language, literacy and literature, technology in education, anti-racism and postcolonialism. His award-winning books include Learning to Divide the World; Education at Empire’s End (1998)and The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship (2006). He directs an initiative that is researching systems to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research.

Charles Harold (Chuck) Hantho, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 20, 2008, 10:30am
Schulich School of Business

Charles Hantho spent most of his career in the chemical and primary textile industries, rising through the ranks to become president, chairman and chief executive officer of both CIL (now ICI Canada) and Dominion Textiles. While he was Chair of the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association in the 1980s, the association created a program that targeted the environmental accountability of Canadian chemical producers. A long-serving member of York’s Board of Governors, he was appointed an Honorary Governor in 1994 and is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Schulich School of Business. 

Harry W. Arthurs, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 20, 2008, 3 pm
Osgoode Hall Law School

As president of York University from 1985 to 1992, Professor Harry Arthurs improved the University’s grants, academic standards and research culture, established an academic planning process, and initiated a major renovation of the Keele campus. An advocate of interdisciplinarity, Arthurs has continued his research since retiring in 2005, and uses his academic knowledge in the public interest often, including in a review of federal Labour Standards legislation.

Dean Jacobs, Honorary Doctor of Laws
June 21, 2008, 2:30 pm
Glendon Faculty

Dean Jacobs established the community-based research program at Walpole Island First Nation, recognized as one of the best First Nation community research offices in Canada. He helped to implement a socio-economic and environmental research program called Nin.Da.Waab.Jig (Those Who Seek to Find) in 1982, and became executive director of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre in 1989. In 1995, the Walpole Island First Nation received an award from Friends of the United Nations for its exemplary record in environmental research and sustainable development. Jacobs served as Chief from 2004 to 2006.

York University’s Spring 2008 Convocation Ceremonies will be streamed live over the Internet. Click here to view the ceremonies.