York honours five exceptional individuals during Fall 2012 Convocation ceremonies

Graduation Ceremony

York University will award five honorary doctorates during its Fall 2012 Convocation ceremonies, recognizing outstanding leadership in the music industry, sport, governance, low income advocacy and business.

The ceremonies will take place from Wednesday, Oct. 10 to Friday, Oct. 12 at the Tennis Canada Rexall Centre on York University’s Keele Campus, except the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA ceremony, which will take place in the McEwen Auditorium of the Seymour Schulich Building.

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

The list of honorary degree recipients, and the faculties or program by which they are being honoured, is as follows:

Bernie Finkelstein, O.C.
Honorary Doctor of Letters
Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Glendon College, Faculty of Science & Engineering
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 10:30am

Bernie Finkelstein, O.C.Bernie Finkelstein began his career managing two of Canada’s earliest internationally known groups, The Paupers and Kensington Market, and later handled such stars as Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, Dan Hill, Barney Bentall, Stephen Fearing and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings.

In 1969, he founded True North Records, Canada’s oldest, and one of its largest, independent record companies, and the True North Publishing Group, which had extensive interests in music publishing and overseeing a rich catalogue of works by songwriters including Bruce Cockburn.

He has served as chairman of the Ontario Film Development Corporation, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA), and MUCHFact, and as a board member of the Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the Toronto Arts Awards and Starmaker.

He has been honoured with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the Juno Awards (the highest honour given to a non-musician by the music industry), the Estelle Klein award, the Order of Canada, and election into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2012, he released his memoirs True North (A Life in the Music Business).

Clara Hughes, O.C., O.M.
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Health, Osgoode Hall Law School, Schulich School of Business
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 3:30pm

Clara Hughes, O.C., O.M.Clara Hughes is a six-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating, and the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games.

After winning gold in 2006, she donated $10,000 of her personal savings to Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport for development. This gift encouraged fellow Canadians to support the cause, eventually leading to more than half a million dollars in donations. In 2010, she donated her $10,000 medal bonus to the Vancouver inner city school program Take a Hike, which uses adventure-based learning to provide guidance to at-risk youth.

Hughes is also a mental health advocate, who has shared her past struggles with depression to help break down the stigma around mental illness. She is the national spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Mental Health initiative and the Let’s Talk campaign.

She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Manitoba, and has been awarded the International Olympic Committee’s prestigious Sport and the Community award for her commitment to promoting the values of sport and play around the world, and she also has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Paul G. S. Cantor
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies I
Thursday, Oct. 11, 10:30am

Paul G. S. CantorPaul Cantor serves as a senior adviser at Bennett Jones LLP, but is also known to the York University community for his role as past chair of the Board of Governors.

He joined the board in 1998 and served as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Pension Fund, chair of the Human Resources, Nominating and Governance Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee. In 2009 he accepted the appointment as chair of the Board of Governors. In the following three years, Cantor provided strong support and encouragement to the president, revitalized the board, worked with the chair of the Senate of York University, set new standards for board governance, and devolved risk management oversight responsibilities to the board committees to provide clearer stewardship.

He is also the founding executive director of The Toronto International Leadership Centre for Financial Sector Supervision, which is sponsored by York University’s Schulich School of Business in partnership with the Canadian Government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The centre was established to provide leadership training for senior public servants in emerging market countries who supervise the financial service sector.

Rick Tobias
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – II
Thursday, Oct. 11, 3:30pm

Rick TobiasRick Tobias is best known for his life-long advocacy on behalf of low-income and marginalized people, and his collaboration with business and professional leaders to promote change in the city.

A native of Saint John, New Brunswick, Tobias received a BA in sociology from Acadia University and a master of divinity degree from Acadia Divinity College. He is also a graduate of the Seminary Consortium For Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from McMaster University.

Tobias is the former CEO of The Yonge Street Mission, a position he held since 1989. His current title is Yonge Street Mission Community Advocate, in this role he continues to lead staff and volunteers as they craft programs that help break the cycle of multi-generational poverty.

Tobias  has spoken hundreds of times on Canadian poverty, urban ministry, youth-at-risk and strategies for community-wide change. He appears frequently on television and radio, and in print media, and is sought after as a consultant and coach. Since 1984, he has been a regular lecturer at Tyndale University College & Seminary, and has taught and consulted abroad.

Donald A. Stewart
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA
Friday, Oct. 12, 10am

Donald A. StewartDonald Stewart is the former chief executive officer of Sun Life Financial Inc. where he led a distinguished career for more than 30 years. A native of Scotland, Stewart joined Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in London, England in 1969, and emigrated to Montreal in 1972.

Stewart served as chairman of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, a subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. He served as chief Executive officer of Sun Life Trust Company, and is presently chairman of Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co. Ltde.

He serves as a director of Sun Life Insurance & Annuity Co. of New York, International Insurance Society, Inc. and at Massachusetts Financial Services Company. He has been director of Novelis Inc., Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc., and MFS Investment Management, Inc. He also serves as a trustee of CI Financial Income Fund. He served as a non-independent director of Sun Life Financial Inc. He also served as director of the American Council of Life Insurers, and serves as a trustee of CI Financial Income Fund. He served as director of Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada (U.S.) since 1996. He served as trustee of CI Financial Corp since September 12, 2006.

While Stewart has an impressive background in business and insurance, he is also a champion of public education. In 2009, he was appointed chairman of Canada’s National Task Force on Financial Literacy and assigned a pan-Canadian mandate to encourage and enable Canadians of all ages to become competent managers of their personal finances.

The Convocation website includes a full schedule of all ceremonies. Each ceremony will be webcast. Click here to access the link to the live stream for the ceremonies.

For more University news, photos and videos, visit the YFile homepage.

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