Four York community members invested into Order of Canada

Order of canada medal laid out on black background

Four individuals with connections to York University are among the 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada, announced in December 2023 by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.

The York-affiliated and newly appointed individuals include one officer (O.C.) and three members (C.M.) joining the Order of Canada, one of the highest civilian honours in the country. Appointments recognize people whose services, compassion and innovations have shaped society and communities throughout Canada.


Wenona Giles, professor emerita, donor
Giles, who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and 2023 York University Research Leader Award recipient, was appointed for her significant contributions to refugee and migration studies, and for her efforts to increase access to higher education among those living in refugee camps


Patricia Sybil Pritchard Fraser, alumna, donor
Fraser, a retired artistic director of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre (now the Dance Arts Institute), was appointed for her lasting contributions to Canadian contemporary dance as an artist, dancer, educator and artistic director.

Flavio Volpe, alumnus
Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association, was appointed for advancing Canada’s automotive and technology industries on an international scale as a leading policy expert in national trade and industry competition.

Sara Joy Angel, affiliated faculty
Angel, a former journalist and now executive director and publisher at the Art Canada Institute, was appointed for her significant contributions to Canadian art history as a visual arts journalist and founder of the Art Canada Institute, which makes Canadian art history accessible online.

For more information about the Order of Canada program, visit

Addendum: The original version of this YFile post omitted a fifth York-affiliated individual to be invested in the Order of Canada as an officer. They are:

Zainub Verjee, alumna, affiliated Fellow
Verjee, executive director of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, was appointed for advancing representation and equitable policy legislation within Canada’s arts and culture sectors as a leading artist, administrator and critic. Verjee is a former graduate student of York’s interdisciplinary studies program, as well as a McLaughlin College Fellow at the University.