U of G to Honour Human Rights Advocates During Convocation

June 03, 2008 - News Release

During summer convocation ceremonies this month on the University of Guelph's main campus and at the University of Guelph-Humber, Guelph will award 11 honorary degrees, with nearly all of the recipients being recognized for their advocacy efforts aimed at improving human rights.

They include a retired Canadian general who tried to stop the Rwandian genocide, a renowned international AIDS activist, Afghanistan’s former finance minister and an environmental and Inuit advocate.

In addition, three retired faculty will be named University professors emeriti, and a retired biomedical scientist will receive the Medal of Merit.

In total, more than 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees and diplomas during eight ceremonies in the Gryphon Dome June 9 to 12, and some 500 students will graduate at two convocation ceremonies June 16 at Guelph-Humber. Honorary degree recipients will deliver the convocation addresses.

Honorary degrees will be presented to:

* Lincoln Alexander, U of G chancellor emeritus, a former lieutenant-governor of Ontario and a groundbreaking, influential leader in Canada;

* Roméo Dallaire, who served as force commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force for Rwanda and is an outspoken peace advocate;

* Ashraf Ghani, the former finance minister for Afghanistan who reformed the country’s financial system and helped developed its electoral processes;

* Philip Gosling, a Guelph resident whose love of nature has resulted in support for conservation and environmental projects locally, regionally and nationally;

* Bob Hancock, the holder of more than 22 patents and an internationally recognized authority on bacterial diseases and host defences;

* Stephen Lewis, one of the world’s most influential speakers on human rights and social justice and an activist for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa;

* Alanis Obomsawin, a distinguished documentary filmmaker who focuses on issues affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada;

* David Onley, Ontario’s lieutenant-governor and an advocate for the physically challenged and less-privileged people across the country;

* Michael Tulloch, a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Canada and one of the first lawyers to present the Ontario courts with legal argument on racial profiling;

* Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an environmental advocate on the effects of global warming and on banning pollutants that contaminate the Arctic food chain; and

* Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik, a Guelph physician who started a grassroots effort to raise $1 million for an AIDS clinic in Lesotho, Africa.

Convocation begins June 9 at 10 a.m. with a ceremony for the College of Arts. Obomsawin will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree curing the ceremony, and retired French studies professor Dana Paramskas will be named University professor emerita.

At the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Biological Science, Hancock will receive an honorary doctorate of science. At a second CBS ceremony at 7 p.m., Zadjlik will be presented with an honorary doctorate of laws.

An honorary doctor of laws degree will be awarded to Lewis at the June 10 morning ceremony for the College of Management and Economics. At the afternoon ceremony for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS), Dallaire and Alexander will both receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Dallaire will give the convocation address, and Alexander will welcome students. At a second CSAHS ceremony at 7 p.m., an honorary doctor of laws degree will be presented to Ghani.

On June 11, Watt-Cloutier will receive an honorary doctorate of letters at the afternoon ceremony for the College of Physical and Engineering sciences.

Convocation week on the main campus wraps up June 12 with an afternoon ceremony for the for the Ontario Agricultural College, the Ontario Veterinary College and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. Gosling will receive an honorary doctor of science degree, and university professor emeritus status will be bestowed on retired professor Jorge Nef of the School of Environmental Design. U of G’s Medal of Merit will be presented to retired professor Pari Basrur of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

At the June 16 University of Guelph-Humber ceremonies, honorary doctor of laws degrees will be presented to Onley at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony and Tulloch at the 7 p.m. ceremony.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1