York will honour four distinguished citizens at fall convocation

An organ-transplant pioneer, an international property services entrepreneur, a champion for women’s rights, and a promoter of Canada-Asia relations will address graduating students at fall convocation ceremonies Oct. 12 to 14.

“We are thrilled that four very accomplished citizens are joining the York University family during our fall convocation,” said President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “These well-respected honorary degree recipients have distinguished themselves in their fields and we are proud to present them with our institution’s highest honour.”

Here are the recipients in order of the Faculty ceremonies where they will be honoured.

Calvin R. Stiller
Honorary Doctor of Science
Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Science & Engineering, and Glendon College
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 10:30am

Dr. Calvin Stiller is a pioneering surgeon, medical researcher and venture capitalist in health Dr. Calvin Stillersciences.

Left: Dr. Calvin Stiller

Stiller carried out the first clinical trials in North America of cyclosporin, the drug that overcame the rejection of transplanted organs, and is known for establishing Canada’s first multi-organ transplant service at the University Hospital in London, Ont. He went on to co-chair a government task force on organ donation, co-found the Multiple Organ Retrieval and Exchange Program, participate on the Council of the Transplantation Society and co-chair the first International Congress on Ethics in Transplantation.

He also identified Type 1 Diabetes as an immune disorder and revolutionized the study of the disease.

An entrepreneur, Stiller pioneered the development of venture capital investment in the health sciences in Canada. He was chair of the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund Board and co-founder of four venture capital funds – including the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund – worth over $500 million. He also co-founded MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences Discovery District).

Stiller is chair of Genome Canada, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Ontario Innovation Trust.

In 2010, he won the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for leadership in medicine and medical science, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. His other honours include Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year (Supporter of Entrepreneurship) and the Distinguished Service Award of the Friends of Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

He has received three honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada (1995) and Order of Ontario (2000) and recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Award (2002).

Jay Hennick
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Health, Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 3:30pm

Jay Hennick (BA ’78) is a successful entrepreneur, lawyer, community leader and philanthropist.

He is the founder and CEO of FirstService, an international leader in commercial real estate, Jay Hennickresidential property management and property services. Started in 1989, it generates more than $2 billion in annual revenues and employs 20,000 in 61 countries around the world.

     Right: Jay Hennick

Hennick showed an entrepreneurial flair early. As a teenager, he started Superior Pools, providing lifeguards and other staff for recreation facilities in schools, hotels and residential buildings. The business paid for Hennick’s university education and formed the basis of FirstService.

After graduating from York, Hennick earned a law degree from the University of Ottawa in 1981 and began a career as a corporate lawyer. He partnered with a large Toronto law firm serving many of North America’s leading corporations, entrepreneurs and business leaders and in 1989 launched First Service.

In 1998, at age 41, Hennick won Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Ontario and Canada and in 2001 was named CEO of the year by Canadian Business magazine.

An inspirational business leader, Hennick is also an outstanding philanthropist and contributor to his community. Through the Jay and Barbara Hennick Family Foundation, he and his wife support programs in education, health and the arts.

At York, they established the Hennick Centre for Business & Law, a joint JD/MBA program of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business. At Mount Sinai Hospital, where Hennick is vice-chair of the board of directors and co-chairs the hospital foundation, they created an endowment to support medical research at the hospital. And at the University of Ottawa Law School, they established the Jay Hennick LLB/MBA Program.

M. Elizabeth (Beth) Atcheson
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Graduate Studies and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Thursday, Oct. 13, 10:30am 

Beth Atcheson is a lawyer, public servant, feminist activist and dedicated volunteer for human rights  Beth Atcheson and philanthropic causes.

Left: Beth Atcheson

A solicitor specializing in the regulation of financial institutions, she has divided her career between the private and public sectors. She is a former partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and has held positions at the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board, Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Ontario Ministry of Finance. She served as a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and as a senior consultant to the federal Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector.

A feminist activist, Atcheson pushed for constitutional equality rights, co-authored the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women report, Women and Legal Action, and founded the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She is vice-president of Nancy’s Very Own Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to women’s issues.

Atcheson co-founded several projects to collect and promote women’s history in Canada, including the Feminist History Society and the women’s history website. She was director of Imagine Canada, which advocates for Canada’s charities and non-profit organizations, and is on the advisory board of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, due to open in 2012.

For mentoring many women throughout her career, Atcheson has received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Law Society Medal and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario’s President’s Award.

Joseph P. Caron
Doctor of Laws
Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA Program
Friday, Oct. 14, 10am

Joseph Caron is a former ambassador to China and Japan, and a former high commissioner to India who continues to play an active role in strengthening Canada’s relations with Asia.

After earning a BA in political science from the University of Ottawa, Caron began his international Joseph Caronrelations career in 1972 as a trade commissioner. A fluency in Japanese led to more than 17 years in Japan, at the Canadian Embassy and in the business sector.

     Right: Joseph Caron

During the 1980s, Caron worked in the private sector in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He subsequently held positions related to Asian and international economic affairs for the Canadian government, including serving the foreign and defence policy secretariat of the Privy Council Office. He also participated in meetings of government leaders at summits of the G8 and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

During almost 40 years with the Government of Canada, he served in a number of key diplomatic posts including ambassador to China (2001-2005), ambassador to Japan (2005-2008) and high commissioner to India (2008-2010).

In 2010, after a distinguished diplomatic career, Caron joined HB Global Advisors Corporation, an international consulting firm within the law firm Heenan Blaikie. He also founded Joseph Caron Incorporated, a consulting business providing strategic counsel to Asian businesses seeking to grow in Canada, and Canadian businesses and organizations focused on development in Asia.

Caron is co-chair of the Futures Group on Asia, part of the National Conversation on Asia of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He is also a director of Manulife Financial.

Last year, Caron received an honorary doctorate from Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo for promoting Canada-Japan relations. He is a distinguished fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and an honorary research associate at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia.

For more information on the ceremonies, visit York’s Convocation website.