York University to confer 12 honorary degrees during Spring Convocation

convocation students facing stage

Spring Convocation celebrations will take place from June 9 to 18 and will be the first in-person Convocation on the University’s campuses since the beginning of COVID-19. Throughout the ceremonies, 12 honorary degrees will be awarded.

Rhonda Lenton
Rhonda Lenton

“Convocation is one of the proudest events in the academic year, for students and their families, as well as faculty and staff,” says Rhonda Lenton, president and vice-chancellor of York University. “I continue to be inspired by our students’ desire to drive positive change both locally and globally. In York’s largest convocation ceremonies in history, I look forward to recognizing the academic achievements of our 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduates and graduands, and extending my heartfelt congratulations to them in person.”

This year’s Convocation is preceded by a week-long alumni celebration, during which all 2020 and 2021 graduates who attended virtual ceremonies are being welcomed back to campus in celebration of their degrees. The Alumni Ceremonies at Keele Campus began Friday, June 3 and run until Thursday, June 9. Glendon alumni will attend the campus’s main ceremony on June 18 (full schedule here).

Convocation ceremonies for the Class of 2022 will take place from Thursday, June 9, to Friday, June 18 (full schedule here). Keele Campus ceremonies will be held at the Convocation Pavilion at Sobeys Stadium (formerly Aviva Centre), located at 1 Shoreham Dr. Glendon Campus ceremonies will be held at Glendon Green, located at 2275 Bayview Ave.

Total attendance is expected to top 25,000, including more than 9,000 graduates from all three graduating classes, and their guests.

This year’s honorary degrees recognize outstanding contributions to community building, social justice, mental health advocacy and Indigenous rights.

“The individuals we are celebrating with honorary degrees represent the best of what York University stands for – our commitment to enhancing the well-being of the communities we serve – toward reconciliation, human rights, social justice, and more,” notes Lenton. “Their remarkable accomplishments serve as inspiration for York’s newest graduates and for all of us.”

Below are the honorary degree recipients in order of the ceremonies at which they will be honoured:

Frank Vettese (Schulich School of Business, Friday, June 10, 10:30 a.m.)
Frank Vettese is CEO Emeritus of Deloitte Canada, where from 2012 he served as managing partner and chief executive. He also served as the firm’s chief inclusion officer and was the first Canadian CEO to be recognized by the UN for commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace.

Elder Duke Redbird (Faculty of Education, Friday, June 10, 3:30 p.m.)
Elder Duke Redbird is a multifaceted artist, practising a variety of disciplines including literature, painting, theatre, cinema and most recently rap poetry. His 1978 York master’s thesis, We Are Métis, continues to be a seminal text on the Métis people.

Dr. Steven Stein (Faculty of Health, Monday, June 13, 10:30 a.m.)
Dr. Steven Stein is clinical psychologist whose expertise in psychological assessment and emotional intelligence has made him a prominent consultant and commentator. He is former Chair of the Psychology Foundation of Canada, and currently a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Steven Lewis (Faculty of Health, Monday, June 13, 3:30 p.m.)
Steven Lewis is a health-services expert and consultant who played a key advisory role in the establishment of York’s School of Health Policy and Management. He has been a member of the National Forum on Health, the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Health Council of Canada, among other organizations.

Silken Laumann (Faculty of Health, Tuesday, June 14, 10:30 a.m.)
Silken Laumann won three Olympic medals in rowing, including a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games, only three months after suffering a career-threatening injury. She is now a motivational speaker and life coach who uses her unique experiences to promote mental, physical and spiritual health.

Terri Lyne Carrington (School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, Tuesday, June 14, 3:30 p.m.)
Terri Lyne Carrington is a professor and multi-Grammy-winning jazz drummer who has performed with such famous musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Wayne Shorter. She was the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Olive Senior (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Wednesday, June 15, 10:30 a.m.)
Olive Senior is an award-winning Canadian writer and public intellectual of Jamaican heritage. Her work has been translated into multiple languages, and her Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage is a widely read and cited reference text.

Anna Porter (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Wednesday, June 15, 3:30 p.m.)
Anna Porter is a publisher, novelist, memoirist, historian, and cultural and political analyst. Her tenures as editor and then publisher with McClelland and Stewart as well as founder of Key Porter books, helped foster an explosion in Canadian literature that began in the 1970s and continues today.

David Miller (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Thursday, June 16, 10:30 p.m.)
David Miller is a lawyer, professor, international environmental activist, and former mayor of Toronto. His two-term administration emphasized waterfront renewal, public transit and municipal reform, and community safety.

Neil Shubin (Faculty of Science & Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change, Friday, June 17, 10:30 a.m.)
Neil Shubin is a paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. His discovery of a Tiktaalik Roseae fossil skeleton on Ellesmere Island in 2004 is among the most important paleontological finds of the 21st century.

Constance Backhouse (Osgoode Hall Law School, Friday, June 17, 3:30 p.m.)
Constance Backhouse is multi-disciplinary scholar, social activist and cultural critic. Her extensive writing on such subjects as reproduction, family, sexual harassment and the legal profession has influenced government policy.

John Van Burek (Glendon, Saturday, June 18, 2 p.m.)
John Van Burek is a world-renowned theatre producer and translator with some 50 works to his credit. He founded Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre and le Théâtre français de Toronto and has taught at universities in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

More details on Spring Convocation are available online.