Six to Receive Honorary Degrees During Winter Convocation

February 13, 2008 - News Release

For winter convocation ceremonies and dates.

Stephen Lewis, one of the world's most influential speakers on human rights, social justice and international development, will receive an honorary degree during winter convocation, which runs Feb. 19 to 22 in War Memorial Hall.

U of G will also present honorary degrees to Lorne Babiuk, world leader in the development of vaccines to control diseases in farm livestock; Leonard Conolly, internationally regarded scholar in the studies of George Bernard Shaw; Wade Davis, noted anthropologist and ethnobotanist; Alastair Gillespie, a former minister of the Crown; and John Sleeman, a nationally recognized business leader for his success with Sleeman Breweries Limited in Guelph.

In addition, retired pathobiology professor Bruce Wilkie and population medicine professor Wayne Martin will be named University professor emeriti.

Some 900 degrees and diplomas will be awarded during convocation week, beginning Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. with a ceremony for the College of Biological Science (CBS). Prof. John Klironomos, Integrative Biology, will address the graduating class.

At a second ceremony for CBS at 2:30 p.m., Davis will receive an honorary doctorate of science and give the convocation address. He has lectured and written a number of books based on his work as an anthropologist observing and analyzing the customs, beliefs and social relations of indigenous cultures in North and South America. He is currently a board member of the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecotrust, Future Generations, Cultural Survival and Rivers Canada.

The College of Physical and Engineering Science ceremony begins at 7 p.m. with Prof. Serge Desmarais, associate vice-president (academic) addressing the graduands.

Two ceremonies will be held for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Feb. 20. In the morning president Alastair Summerlee will give the convocation address.

In the afternoon, Lewis will speak and receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Best known for his international efforts to bring attention to the AIDS crisis in Africa, he served with the United Nations over a span of more than two decades. He is currently the co-director of AIDS-Free World and founder and head of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, a charitable organization aimed at helping people affected with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Gillespie will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree and address students graduating from the College of Management and Economics (CME) at the morning ceremony Feb. 21. He has held various ministerial positions including industry trade and commerce; energy, mines and resources; state for science and technology; and parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Gillespie is a longtime governor of the Scottish Studies Foundation and has been a strong supporter of U of G's Scottish Studies program.

At a second ceremony for CME in the afternoon, Sleeman will receive an honorary doctorate of laws and deliver the convocation address. Credited for reviving one of Guelph's original businesses, he has been recognized nationally for his outstanding business acumen and practices. He is the recipient of numerous business awards and twice been named one of the "Top 100 Entrepreneurs." Also known for his dedication and service to the community, Sleeman received the Mayor's Award for his commitment to Guelph.

Conolly, a former drama professor, associate vice-president (academic) and acting vice-president (academic) at U of G, will receive an honorary doctorate of letters and address graduands at the 7 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts. He was instrumental in creating the University's collection of theatre archives, which are named after him and have become a major resource to Guelph faculty and students, Canadian researchers and scholars from across the globe. He is currently an English professor at Trent University.

Convocation concludes Feb. 22 with an afternoon ceremony for students graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College, the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and the Ontario Veterinary College.

Babiuk will speak and receive an honorary doctorate of science degree. Known for playing a major role in the development of science policy in Canada, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Vaccinology and Biotechnology at the University of Saskatchewan. He and his colleagues were the first in the world to develop a genetically engineered vaccine for respirator disease in cattle. Babiuk holds 25 patents and has received numerous prestigious awards for excellence in research and for the effective commercialization of biological research.

Also at this ceremony, University professor emeritus status will be bestowed on Wilkie and Martin.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

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