Eight to Receive Honorary Degrees

June 01, 2009 - News Release

A renowned Canadian actor, a former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, and a labour leader are among the eight people who will receive honorary degrees from the University of Guelph and the University of Guelph-Humber during summer convocation.

Convocation on the main campus runs June 9 to 11 in the Gryphon Dome. More than 2,600 degrees and diplomas will be presented during seven ceremonies. Honorary degree recipients will deliver the convocation addresses.

The University of Guelph-Humber convocation is June 15 at the Pearson Convention Centre in Toronto, where some 500 students will receive degrees.

Honorary degrees will be presented to:

Louise Arbour, the former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and UN high commissioner who is known for being a chief prosecutor for tribunals into the genocide in Rwanda and human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia;

Jean Augustine, the first African Canadian woman elected to Parliament, who went on to serve as a cabinet minister, parliamentary secretary and minister for the status of women and multiculturalism and is now Canada's first fairness commissioner;

Tim Bray, a U of G graduate and "Internet pioneer" who is widely recognized as an expert in web architecture, information retrieval and software optimization and continues to shape information technology around the world;

Leo Gerard, the second Canadian to be elected international president of the United Steelworkers and a vice-president of the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest federation of unions in the United States;

Jack MacDonald, a former physics professor, vice-president (academic) and acting president at U of G who went on to head the Manukau Institute of Technology in New Zealand, where is he known for increasing access to education for Maori students;

Marangu Njogu, head of the non-profit Windle Trust Kenya and a member of the World University Service of Canada, who has dedicated his life to improving the circumstances of refugees around the world through education and community service programs;

Christopher Plummer, one of Canada's most celebrated actors, who is an inspiration to theatre students, scholars and audiences worldwide and the winner of Tony and Emmy awards, Oscar nominations and other prestigious honours; and

Barbara Stymiest, chief operating officer of Royal Bank of Canada and a former chief executive officer of TSX Group, who has been named among the "50 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes magazine and the "25 Most Powerful Women in Banking."

On the main campus, convocation begins June 9 at 10 a.m. with a ceremony for the College of Arts. Plummer will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree during the ceremony.

A 2:30 p.m. ceremony will be held for the College of Physical and Engineering Science, the College of Biological Science (CBS) and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. MacDonald will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. A second ceremony for CBS will be held at 7 p.m. with Njogu receiving an honorary doctorate of laws.

On June 10, Arbour will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at an afternoon ceremony for the Ontario Agricultural College and the Ontario Veterinary College.

On June 11, Bray will receive an honorary doctorate of science at the morning ceremony for the College of Management and Economics. The first of two ceremonies for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) will be held that afternoon, with an honorary doctor of laws degree to be presented to Gerard. The second ceremony begins at 7 p.m. with president Alastair Summerlee addressing the graduating class.

At the June 15 University of Guelph-Humber ceremonies, honorary doctor of laws degrees will be presented to Augustine at the 10 a.m. ceremony and Stymiest at the 3:30 p.m. ceremony.

For media questions, contact U of G Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338 lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982 bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

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