Notable business leaders, Jim Estill and Donald Ziraldo to receive honorary degrees | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Notable business leaders, Jim Estill and Donald Ziraldo to receive honorary degrees

Posted on Monday, June 4th, 2018

U of G President Franco Vaccarino addressing a group of graduands

Convocation is a special time during the academic year, where graduands and their guests often have the privilege of being addressed by a notable business leader, someone who the University of Guelph is conferring with an honorary doctorate in recognition of their achievements.

During the summer convocation on June 12th, the college is excited to be conferring two incredible entrepreneurial leaders with an honorary doctorate.


Jim Estill,

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and CEO of Danby Appliances


Jim Estill is a Canadian entrepreneur, executive and philanthropist who has been serving as President and CEO of home appliance manufacturer, Danby Products Ltd. Since 2015. He has invested in over 150 start-up companies and received international attention in 2015 for sponsoring the resettling of 50 Syrian refugee families in Canada. In recognition of his philanthropic efforts, Estill received the Order of Ontario in June 2017. He studied engineering at the University of Waterloo, graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Design Engineering.

Estill has also been a guest speaker at many College of Business and Economics events, including being a panelist on sustainable business at the PRME North American Conference, hosted by the college.

Jim Estill will receive his honorary doctorate from the University of Guelph at the 12:30pm convocation ceremony.

Donald Ziraldo,

Canadian wine icon, co-founder of Inniskillin Wines


Born in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Donald Ziraldo is a Canadian winemaker, businessman, University of Guelph alumni and a Member of the Order of Canada. He has been hailed as one of the most important figures in Canadian wine history and has been credited with starting the first winery in Canada since prohibition. He is the founder of Inniskillin winery in Niagara, Canada. In the spring of 1974, Ziraldo and his business partner worked together for 30 years to establish Inniskillin and put Canadian wines, which were virtually unknown at the time, on the world wine map. Today, Canada is one of the world's largest producers of icewine and sells a significant quantity to the Asian markets, largely due to the efforts of Ziraldo's marketing prowess over the past 30 years.

Ziraldo was also recently honoured by the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management for his tremendous contributions to the Canadian wine industry.

Donald Ziraldo will receive his honorary doctorate from the University of Guelph at the 7:30pm convocation ceremony.



In addition to our honorary doctorates, more than 600 College of Business and Economics students will receive their bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees at convocation ceremonies being held at the University of Guelph on June 12.

590 undergraduate BComm students are expected to walk the stage, along with business graduates from the college’s executive programs. These students are among the 3,500+ University of Guelph students graduating throughout the week.

The College of Business and Economics’ undergraduate ceremonies will take place at the Gryphons Athletic Centre on June 12 at 12:30pm. An additional ceremony for undergraduate business students will also take place 7:00pm.

For more information on the summer 2018 convocation ceremonies, please visit the University of Guelph’s website.

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