Honorary degrees a fitting tribute to York’s 50th anniversary

York University will confer 14 honorary degrees during its 2009 Spring Convocation ceremonies, which start  this Wednesday, June 24, and run to Tuesday, June 30.

Former prime minister Joe Clark, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, business leader Michael Lee-Chin and research champion Chaviva Hošek are among 14 distinguished national and international figures who will receive honorary degrees from York at Spring Convocation. 

“We are proud to mark the 50th anniversary of York University by honoring such an extraordinary group of individuals,” said President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “Their remarkable achievements are an inspiration to our graduates as they embark upon their own careers.”

Here is the list, including the Faculty ceremonies where they will be honoured: 

Isadore Sharp (right), corporate leader and philanthropist
Schulich School of Business
June 24, 10am

Sharp is the founder, chair and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. He is also well known for his advocacy of corporate social responsibility and his generous commitments of time and resources to a variety of philanthropic organizations, including the national Terry Fox Run, the Canadian Unity Council and Mount Sinai and North York General hospitals.

Paul Weiler (right), legal scholar
Osgoode Hall Law School
June 24, 3:30pm

Weiler is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and a former professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is the foremost labour law scholar in North America and one of Canada’s leading constitutional scholars.

Vibert Lampkin (left), judge and legal scholar
Osgoode Hall Law School
June 24, 3:30pm

Lampkin is a recently retired judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. With almost 300 reported decisions, he has made a significant contribution to Canadian criminal jurisprudence throughout the course of his judicial career.

Chaviva Hošek (right), leader in the advancement of research, educator, policy adviser and feminist
Faculty of Environmental Studies
Faculty of Science & Engineering
June 25, 10:30am

Hošek has had an exemplary career in academia and in the public sector, including work as an MPP and cabinet minister in Ontario, and as a senior policy adviser for the federal government. Her visionary leadership of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research aims to ensure that Canada remains the intellectual home for many of the world’s greatest researchers.

Martin Goldfarb (right), sociologist, leader in the market research industry, author, patron of the arts and ambassador for York University
Faculty of Arts I
Faculty of Fine Arts
June 25, 3:30pm

As the official pollster to the Liberal Party of Canada, Goldfarb was a key adviser and strategist to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. An honorary governor of York University, Goldfarb has been a strong supporter of York for many years. He is a generous benefactor of the arts and a visionary for York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Joe Clark (left), former prime minister of Canada
Faculty of Arts II
June 26, 10:30am

Clark was the youngest prime minister in Canadian history when he was sworn in on June 4, 1979, one day before his 40th birthday. He had an illustrious 25-year career in parliament, serving in several cabinet portfolios and as leader of the opposition in the House of Commons from 1976 to 1979 and 1980 to 1983. Since retiring in 2004, he has remained active in international affairs, observing elections in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and promoting sustainable development projects.

David Onley (left), lieutenant-governor of Ontario
Faculty of Arts III
June 26, 3:30pm

Onley has been a champion of disability rights in Canada, using his influence to highlight the need for improved accessibility and to help remove barriers to employment and housing for Ontario’s 1.5 million people with disabilities. Throughout his 22-year career as a broadcaster with a visible disability he became an early public symbol of diversity.

Michael Lee-Chin (right), business leader and philanthropist
Faculty of Arts IV
Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies I
June 27, 10:30am

Lee-Chin is the founder and executive chair of one of Canada’s largest mutual fund companies, Advantage Investment Counsel (AIC), and is well known for his gift to the Royal Ontario Museum, which supported construction of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. He has also made significant contributions to at-risk communities such as Black Creek West.

Gail Cook-Bennett (left), economist and chair of the board of directors of Manulife Financial
Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies II
June 27, 3:30pm

An economist by training, Cook-Bennett has been called a trailblazer for her contributions to Canada and Canadian public and private sector business. She served for 10 years as chair of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.

Roy Romanow (right), former premier of Saskatchewan, head of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada
Faculty of Health I
June 28, 10:30am

Romanow is a leader in addressing health policy in Canada. He has demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in extending and preserving the principles of medicare – ensuring a universally accessible, high quality, publicly administered health care system for all Canadians.

Michael Kirby (left), chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and retired member of the Senate of Canada
Faculty of Health II
June 28, 3:30pm

A dedicated public servant for 40 years, Kirby has been a prominent advocate for health care reform and improving health and social outcomes for people with mental illness. He served as an adviser to former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and in 2002, chaired a major report on public health care reform. 

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor (right)
, conductor, clinician, adjudicator
Faculty of Education I
June 29, 10:30am

Blyden-Taylor is the founder, artistic director and conductor of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performance of Afrocentric music of all styles. He works frequently as a guest conductor and teacher and as an adviser in conducting and choral technique.

Deborah Meier (left), scholar, educator
Faculty of Education II
June 29, 3:30pm

Meier is a scholar, prolific author and public education advocate. As a learning theorist, she encourages new approaches that enhance democracy and equity in public co-education. Meier is currently senior scholar at the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University

Paul Rouleau (right)
, judge and lawyer
Glendon College
June 30, 2:30pm

Rouleau played a leading role in securing recognition of the legal right of Ontario’s francophone population to education in French. Rouleau, a former governor of York University, is a leader within the Franco-Ontarian community, committed to the expansion of opportunities for French-language university education in southern Ontario.

Convocation ceremonies will be held at the Rexall Centre on York’s Keele campus, with the exception of the Glendon College ceremony, which will take place at the Glendon campus, at 2275 Bayview Ave.