York University will confer three honorary degrees at Fall Convocation

convocation stage

Three multifaceted individuals  – an academic and politician, an inventor and author, and a philanthropist and business magnate, will receive honorary degrees from York University at fall convocation ceremonies Oct. 16 to 18 at the Keele campus.

“In honouring these individuals we pay tribute to the positive difference they make to our global community through academe, entrepreneurism and corporate leadership,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice chancellor, York University. “We are truly inspired by them, and our graduates will learn from their fine example as they fulfill their own potential in their chosen work and as citizens of the world.”

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

John_Whyte_YFileJohn D. Whyte, academic and former Saskatchewan Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice
Doctor of Laws
Faculties of Education, Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, and Science; Lassonde School of Engineering; Schulich School of Business; Glendon College; and Osgoode Law School
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 10:30am




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John D. Whyte is currently a policy Fellow at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina.  Prior to this appointment, he was Ariel F. Sallows Professor of Human Rights at the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Whyte has made enormous contributions to public life. He has held the various positions in the Saskatchewan government, including constitutional coordinator and director of the Constitutional Law Branch, Department of the Attorney General; director of the Constitutional Branch, Department of Intergovernmental Affairs; senior policy analyst for the Executive Council; and deputy minister and deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice.    Whyte is an expert in constitutional law, rights discourse and rights recognition in democratic states, Aboriginal rights, minority rights, the judicial process, theories of social inclusion and social development.  He has held academic appointments at several prominent universities, including Osgoode Hall Law School.

RayKurzweil_YFileRaymond “Ray” Kurzweil, inventor, author, futurist, and director of Engineering at Google
Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Health
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 3:30pm

Ray Kurzweil has played a significant role in supporting students with disabilities through his software and character recognition equipment.  He pioneered the development of a computer program capable of recognizing text written in any normal font. His inventions have made a significant impact on society providing those with visual disabilities the opportunity and independence to pursue education and to access ideas.  This has in no small way contributed to opening up York University to a significant constituency, which made higher education more accessible to thousands of students. Kurzweil is the recipient of the $500,000 MIT-Lemelson Prize, the world’s largest for innovation. In 1999, he received America’s highest honor in technology, the National Medal of Technology, which was awarded by President William Clinton in a ceremony at the White House. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, established by the US Patent Office. Most recently, Kurzweil was appointed director of engineering at Google.

Edmund Clark_YFileW. Edmund Clark, philanthropist and president & CEO, TD Bank Group
Doctor of Laws
Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA
Friday, Oct. 18, 10:00am

Clark is president and CEO of TD Bank Group. From 1974 to 1984, he held a number of senior positions in the federal government. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1971 and 1974 respectively. He has also received honorary degrees from Mount Allison University, Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. He has been honoured numerous times for his vision, integrity and strong leadership. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2010 – one of the country’s highest distinctions – for his contributions to Canada’s banking and financial industry, and for his voluntary and philanthropic endeavours, which include involvement with organizations such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Woodgreen Community Services and the University of Toronto. The Clark family, credited with helping to raise more than $200 million for Toronto charities, was awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award to honour a lifetime of giving back and community leadership.

Convocation ceremonies will be held from Wednesday, Oct. 16 to Friday, Oct. 18 at the Convocation Pavillion located at the RExall Centre on the Keele campus. The Convocation website includes a full schedule of all ceremonies.