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York University to confer 12 honorary degrees at spring Convocation

TORONTO, June 10, 2014 – Twelve outstanding individuals who have excelled in their respective fields and given back to their communities through their work will receive honorary degrees at York University’s spring convocation ceremonies.

"This year, we are delighted to recognize twelve outstanding individuals who exemplify our York spirit and values," said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "Each of these diversely talented and principled leaders is distinguished in his or her field, and all have demonstrated a commitment to higher learning, social justice and service to society that makes them the best possible role models for our graduates.”

Convocation ceremonies will be held from Friday, June 13 to Saturday, June 21. The Convocation website includes a full schedule of all ceremonies. All ceremonies will take place at the Convocation Pavilion, located at the Rexall Centre, 1 Shoreham Drive, at York University’s Keele campus (#8 on the map) with the exception of the final convocation ceremony, which will be held at the Glendon College campus.

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

Pierre Lassonde – Chairman of Franco-Nevada Corporation, Philanthropist

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Science and Lassonde School of Engineering – Friday, June 13, 3:30pm

Pierre Lassonde is the co-founder of Franco-Nevada Mining Corp. Lassonde is well-known for his philanthropic interest in education and the arts. Lassonde 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 – Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Disabilities Advocate, Former Senator

Honorary Doctor of Laws

Faculty of Health I – Monday, June 16, 10:30am

Vim Kochhar was the first person of Indo-Canadian heritage to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. A pioneer and driving force behind the Canadian Paralympics and ParaSports, Kochhar is also well known for his groundbreaking work on behalf of people with physical disabilities.

Rita R. Colwell – Scientist, Advocate, Educator

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Health II – Monday, June 16, 3:30pm

Rita Colwell is a renowned scientist and educator with a focus on global infectious diseases, water and health. Colwell has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 800 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film Invisible Seas , and has served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Bernard Lucht – Broadcast Producer, Journalist

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies II – Tuesday, June 17, 10:30am

Bernard Lucht is the executive producer of Writers & Company on CBC Radio One, and the annual CBC Massey Lectures series. From 1984 to 2012, Lucht was the executive producer of the long-running CBC Radio program Ideas, and the Sunday afternoon program of religious and spiritual exploration, Tapestry. In 2013, he was invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

John Bankes – Business Leader, Philanthropist

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies III – Tuesday, June 17, 3:30pm

John Bankes, managing director of the Artemis Management Group, has had a distinguished career focusing on corporate and government finance and regulatory matters. Bankes writes, speaks and teaches on a wide range of transactional and public policy issues to audiences in Canada, the UK and Asia. His close ties as an alumnus, benefactor, and an adjunct professor and lecturer make Bankes a great friend to York.

Wade Davis – Anthropologist, Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies IV – Wednesday, June 18, 10:30am

A professor of anthropology and the LEEF Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia, Wade Davis is currently a member of the NGS Council of Explorers. Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology, and received his PhD in ethnobotany. The author of 230 scientific and popular articles and 17 books, he also has several film credits to his name.

Mayann E. Francis – Former Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, Human Rights Advocate

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies V – Wednesday, June 18, 3:30pm

Mayann Francis served as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 2006 to 2012, the first African-Canadian and second woman to ever hold the position. Francis’ legacy as Lieutenant Governor highlights public service, community involvement and human rights. Her commitment to equity and social inclusion has earned her numerous awards.

Maude Barlow – Author, Activist, Council of Canadians National Chairperson

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Environmental Studies and Faculty of Education I – Thursday, June 19, 10:30am

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with Hamburg-based World Future Council. In 2008-09, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN.

Tom Traves – Former President of Dalhousie University, Educator

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Education II – Thursday, June 19, 3:30pm

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, in research dollars and global reputation. Currently a professor in the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie, Traves has written extensively on Canadian economic development and works as a consultant to the Nova Scotia government on regional economic development issues. He was appointed to the Order of Canada last year.

Ratan Tata – Business Leader, Philanthropist

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Schulich School of Business – Friday, June 20, 10:30am

Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Tata Industries, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals, Ratan
Tata was the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, from 1991 until his retirement in December 2012. Tata is the chairman of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, two of the largest private sector philanthropic trusts in India. The Government of India honoured him with its second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008.

Barry D. Stuart – Lawmaker, Judge, Mediator, Teacher

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Osgoode Hall Law School – Friday, June 20, 3:30pm

Barry Stuart, born in Montreal in 1943 and adopted into the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, is internationally respected for his work in multi-party conflict resolution, organizational change and in developing governance structures and constitutions. He has contributed to numerous important initiatives throughout the world during his 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. As a judge, Stuart pioneered the use of “peacemaking circles” for sentencing and child protection cases.

Graham Fraser – Journalist, Commissioner of Official Languages

Honorary Doctor of Laws
Glendon College – Saturday, June 21, 2:30pm

Graham Fraser is a well-known and respected journalist and author with close to 40 years of experience at such notable publications as the Toronto Star , Maclean’s , The Globe and Mail and Le Devoir . During his long and distinguished career, Fraser has reported in both official languages on issues affecting Canada and Canadians. In his current post as the Commissioner of Official Languages, Fraser’s mandate is to promote Canada’s two official languages and protect the language rights of official language communities.

NOTE: High-resolution photographs of all the honorary doctorate recipients are available upon request.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

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Media Contact:
Joanne Rider, York University, 416 736 5593 / jrider@yorku.ca
Tabassum Siddiqui, York University, 416 736 2100 x 44543 / tsiddiq@yorku.ca