York to confer 12 honorary degrees at Spring Convocation

Convocation stage

York University will confer 12 honorary degrees during its 2014 Spring Convocation ceremonies, June 13 to 21, to leaders in fields as diverse as broadcasting, mining, anthropology, public service, public health, human rights, activism and education.

“We are delighted to honour these truly outstanding individuals, each of whom exemplifies our York spirit and values,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice chancellor of York University. “This year, we recognize twelve brilliant, diversely talented and principled leaders, whose efforts and impact have distinguished them in their fields, and whose deep commitment to higher learning, social justice and service to society make them the best possible role models for our graduates.”

The following individuals will receive honorary degrees:

Pierre Lassonde
Pierre Lassonde

Pierre Lassonde, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 13, 3:30pm
Faculty of Science
Lassonde School of Engineering

Pierre Lassonde co-founded Franco-Nevada Mining Corp. in 1982. The company was acquired by Newmont Mining Corp. in February 2002 and Lassonde became president and vice-chairman in 2007. In 2008, Lassonde led an investors’ group to bring back Franco-Nevada to the public market and became its chairman. He has a keen philanthropic interest in education and the arts and has served as the chair of the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts since 2005. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2002 and officer of the Quebec Order in 2008. He was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in January 2013.

Vim Kochhar
Vim Kochhar

Vim Kochhar, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 16, 10:30am
Faculty of Health

Known for his leadership, vision, passion and commitment towards empowering people with disabilities, Vim Kochhar has made major contributions to removing barriers and bringing equality to people with disabilities. A pioneer and driving force behind the Canadian Paralympics and parasports, Kochhar is also well known for his work on behalf of people who are deaf-blind. His project, the Rotary-Cheshire/Canadian Helen Keller Centre, enables them to live independently in a barrier-free environment. He has raised $25 million to assist those with disabilities. His efforts have heightened public awareness of the many achievements of Canadians with physical disabilities.

Rita Colwell
Rita Colwell

Rita Colwell, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 16, 3:30pm
Faculty of Health II

Rita Colwell’s interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water and health. She is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues. Working with the Safe Water Network in New York, Colwell is working to ensure safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Colwell is a respected scientist and educator. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. She is the 2010 recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize for her contributions to solving water-related public health problems.

Bernard Lucht
Bernard Lucht

Bernie Lucht, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 17, 10:30am
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies II

Bernie Lucht is the executive producer of CBC’s “Writers & Company” with Eleanor Wachtel, and the annual CBC Massey Lectures series. From 1984 to 2012, he was the executive producer of the long-running CBC Radio One program “Ideas” and the Sunday afternoon program of religious and spiritual exploration “Tapestry”. Under his direction, “Ideas” received national and international recognition for the quality of its work. Lucht was awarded the John Drainie Award for Distinguished Contribution to Broadcasting by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists. In 2013, he was invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

John Bankes
John Bankes

John Bankes, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 17, 3:30pm
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies III

John Bankes is a law firm associate and partner focusing on corporate finance, government finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and regulatory matters. More recently, as an investment banker Bankes has targeted the capital needs, strategies and governance requirements of diverse corporate and government clients. He writes, speaks and teaches on a wide range of transactional and public policy issues to audiences in Canada, the U.K. and Asia. Bankes has earned numerous awards for academic achievement, was the 1977 silver medalist at Osgoode Hall Law School and received the Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship. Recognition for his contributions as a volunteer in many aspects of public life include numerous awards, including the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Centennial Medallion, the Royal Life Saving Society (Commonwealth) Honorary Vice-President Medal, the Bryden Alumni Recognition Award and the LLB/MBA Alumni Award.

Wade Davis
Wade Davis

Wade Davis, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 18, 10:30am
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies IV

A professor of anthropology and the LEEF Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia, Wade Davis has served as the explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society (NGS), and he is currently a member of the NGS Council of Explorers, and was named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium. He spent more than three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His book Into the Silence received the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize.

Mayann Francis
Mayann Francis

Mayann Francis, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 18, 3:30pm
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies V

Appointed in 2006, as the 31st lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann Francis is the second woman and the first African Nova Scotian to hold the position. Francis has a background in public administration, human resources, human rights, law, health and religious studies. Her commitment to equity and social inclusion has earned her numerous awards, including the Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence, an award from the Multicultural Education Council of Nova Scotia and a Luminary Award from the University of the West Indies. She was the first vice-regal representative in Canada to grant a free pardon – posthumously to Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond.

Maude Barlow
Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 19, 10:30am
Faculty of Environmental Studies
Faculty of Education I

Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and she chairs the board of Washington-based Food & Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization and a councillor with the World Future Council based in Hamburg, Germany. Barlow is the recipient of many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award, the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco-Hero Award and the 2011 Earth Care Award, which is the highest international honour of the Sierra Club.

Tom Traves
Tom Traves

Tom Traves, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 19, 3:30pm
Faculty of Education II

Tom Traves served as president of Dalhousie University from 1995 to 2013, leading the university through a period of unprecedented growth in student and faculty numbers, research dollars and reputation. As president, he negotiated mergers with the Technical University of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, which established three additional Dalhousie campuses, including a new medical school campus in Saint John, N.B., and four new faculties. A former dean of arts at York University, Traves has written extensively on Canadian economic development and currently works as a consultant to the Nova Scotia government on regional economic development issues. He was appointed to the Order of Canada last year. Currently, he is a professor in the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University.

Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 20, 10:30am
Schulich School of Business

Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Tata Industries, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals, Ratan Tata served as the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, from 1991 until his retirement in December 2012. During his tenure, the group’s revenues grew, totaling more than $110 billion. Tata is associated with many organizations and boards in India and internationally. He is the chairman of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, two of the largest private-sector promoted philanthropic trusts in India. The government of India honoured Tata with its second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008.

Barry Stuart
Barry Stuart

Barry Stuart, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 20, 3:30pm
Osgoode Hall Law School

Barry Stuart was born in Montreal in 1943 and adopted into Carcross Tagish First Nation. He is internationally respected for his work in multi-party conflict resolution, organizational change, and developing governance structures and constitutions. He has a distinguished career as a judge, lawyer, mediator, consensus facilitator, policy analyst, chief land claims negotiator, law professor and trainer in the use of collaborative processes. He served as the first chief judge of the Yukon Territorial Court in 1979, retiring in 2003. As a judge, he pioneered the use of “peacemaking circles” for sentencing and child protection cases. He was also chief negotiator, Yukon Land Claims, from 1985 to 1992, and a founding member of the National Roundtable on Economy and Environment from 1988 to 1993, co-chairing the first National Task Force on Consensus and Sustainability.

Graham Fraser
Graham Fraser

Graham Fraser, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
June 21, 2:30pm
Glendon College

As the commissioner of official languages, Graham Fraser’s mandate is to promote Canada’s two official languages and protect the language rights of official language communities. Since his appointment, he has been involved in many important issues concerning the language rights of Canadians. A well-known and respected journalist and author with close to 40 years of journalistic experience, Fraser has reported in both official languages on issues affecting Canada and Canadians, including: cultural and foreign policy; constitutional debates and negotiations; and provincial, national and international politics. He has written five books, including Sorry, I Don’t Speak French (2006), which helped stimulate renewed public discussion of language policy in Canada. Fraser is also the author of PQ: René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois in Power, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 1984.

York University’s Spring 2014 Convocation Ceremonies will be streamed live over the Internet.

Click here to view the ceremonies.

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