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News Release

June 04, 2007

U of G to Honour 'Global Citizens' During Thematic Convocation

The University of Guelph is holding its second annual “thematic” convocation June 11 to 14, with all nine honorary degree recipients being renowned Canadian global citizens. They include the founder of Free the Children, the doctor who helped eradicate polio, the former foreign minister who initiated a worldwide ban on land mines, and a doctor who started dragon boat teams for breast cancer survivors.

In addition, Pamela Wallin will be installed as the University’s next chancellor June 13 during the 2:30 p.m. convocation ceremony. The installation is open to the general public.

In total, more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees and diplomas during 10 ceremonies in the Gryphon Dome.

Honorary degrees will be presented to:

Sally Armstrong, a journalist, documentary filmmaker, author, teacher and human rights activist who was among the first to bring to light the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban

Lloyd Axworthy, a former Canadian foreign minister who instigated a landmark treaty that banned anti-personnel land mines

Dr. Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization’s global polio eradication program

Louise Fréchette, the first deputy secretary-general of the United Nations

Craig and Marc Kielburger, who run the international youth agencies Free the Children and Leaders Today

Peter Hannam, a pivotal leader in Canadian agriculture

Dr. Don McKenzie, a research pioneer in physical activity and breast cancer

Valerie Raymond, Canada’s former high commissioner to Sri Lanka.

Paul Rusesabagina, a man who saved people from slaughter during the Rwandan Genocide whose story was the basis of the film Hotel Rwanda.

Convocation begins June 11 at 10 a.m. with a ceremony for the College of Arts. Armstrong will be honoured at this ceremony and will give the convocation address. In addition, Prof. Dana Paramskas, Languages and Literatures, will receive the John Bell Award in recognition of teaching excellence and leadership. At the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Biological Sciences, Aylward will receive an honorary degree and address the graduands, and graduating student Derek Pieper will receive the Vaughn Medal for his contributions as a student senator. At a second CBS ceremony at 7 p.m., McKenzie will be honoured and will deliver the convocation address.

On June 12 at the morning ceremony for the College of Physical and Engineering Science, honorary degrees will be awarded to the Kielburger brothers, and Marc Kielburger will address the graduating class. Also at this ceremony, physics professor and former vice-president (academic) Iain Campbell will be named University professor emeritus.

At the afternoon ceremony for the College of Management and Economics (CME), Raymond will be honoured and will give the convocation address. History professor and former College of Arts dean David Murray will be named University professor emeritus. A second ceremony for CME begins at 7 p.m.

At the June 13 afternoon ceremony for the Ontario Veterinary College, Pamela Wallin will be installed as the University’s next chancellor and pathobiology professor Carlton Gyles will be named University professor emeritus.

Two ceremonies will be held June 14 for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. Axworthy will be honoured and will deliver the convocation address during the morning ceremony. Fréchette will be recognized in the afternoon, and former U of G president Bill Winegard will receive the Lincoln Alexander Medal of Distinguished Service.

At a 8 p.m. ceremony for the Ontario Agricultural College and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Hannam will receive an honorary degree and address the graduands, animal science professor Larry Milligan will be named University professor emeritus and Bill Curnoe of the Kemptville Campus will be named a University Fellow.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Sally Armstrong
Sally Armstrong is a Canadian journalist, documentary filmmaker, author, teacher and human rights activist. Her work focuses on what she calls “human rights and human wrongs.” She travels the world, befriends women and children in need, and works to change the deplorable conditions under which some of them live by making their situations public. She has covered stories about conflict all over the globe, including in Israel, Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. She is also the author of Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan. In 2002, UNICEF appointed Armstrong as a special representative to Afghanistan. She has earned numerous accolades for her journalism and for her human rights advocacy, including being named a member of the Order of Canada. She is currently editor-at-large for Chatelaine magazine and a contributing editor at Maclean’s.

Lloyd Axworthy
Lloyd Axworthy is president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. A 27-year politician, he served as Canada’s foreign minister from 1995 to 2000. He became internationally known for the Ottawa Treaty — a landmark global treaty banning anti-personnel land mines that earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. He also established the International Criminal Court and the protocol on child soldiers, which earned him the North-South Institute’s Peace Award. In 2001, he received the CARE International Humanitarian Award. `Author of Navigating the New World — Canada’s Global Future, he has received numerous prestigious awards and honours, including being named to the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba, and being elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bruce Aylward
Dr. Bruce Aylward has served as co-ordinator of the World Health Organization’s global polio eradication program since 1998. The program has been vital in virtually eliminating polio from the planet, with the number of cases dropping from 360,000 in 125 countries in 1988 to fewer than 700 in early 2003. A model of a polio vaccine that Aylward helped develop has been adapted by health agencies to deliver other forms of preventive medicine to remote and disadvantaged areas around the globe. A doctor of internal and tropical medicine, he also holds a master’s degree in public health. He has been recognized as one of Canada’s Nation Builders and was the first winner of the Memorial University Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

Louise Fréchette
Louise Fréchette was the first deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, a position that was created, in part, to elevate the organization’s profile and leadership in the economic and social spheres. Before joining the UN, she served as Canada’s assistant deputy minister for economic policy and trade competitiveness, ambassador to the UN, ambassador to Argentina, associate deputy minister of finance, deputy minister of national defence, and assistant deputy minister for Latin America and the Caribbean. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, where she is studying the political and economic issues arising from increased nuclear energy use. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in the world by Forbes magazine in 2005 and is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger founded Free the Children, the largest network of children helping children in the world, when he was just 12. The organization’s high-profile advocacy campaigns have led Canada, Mexico and Italy to pass legislation to better protect children. Free the Children has also built more than 450 primary schools, serving some 40,000 children, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three time. Kielburger has shared the speaker’s podium with Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. president Bill Clinton. He has received many awards, including the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the Children’s Nobel Prize. He is also the author of Free the Children and co-author of Take Action — A Guide to Active Citizenship for Youth, and is co-founder of Leaders Today, the world’s top youth leadership training organization.

Marc Kielburger
Marc Kielburger founded Leaders Today with his younger brother, Craig, and serves as its director. The international youth empowerment organization provides leadership training to young people wishing to become socially involved. More than 100,000 young people take part in its programs every year in the United States and Canada. A Rhodes Scholar and lawyer, Marc Kielburger also serves as the executive director of Free the Children, which has more than 1,000,000 members in 35 countries. The agency has been profiled on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN and CBC, as well as in the New York Times, Time magazine and People. He and his brother are also the authors of Take Action —A Guide to Active Citizenship for Youth and Take More Action!, which has been adopted by several of the nation’s largest school boards. He has been honoured as a young global leader by the World Economic Forum.

Peter Hannam
Peter Hannam has been a pivotal leader in Canadian agriculture for more than 25 years. He was central to the proliferation of soybeans in Ontario, where they are now the largest crop. A U of G graduate and former president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Hannam founded First Line Seeds Ltd. in Guelph in 1982. Recently, he has turned his attention to the global role Canada can play in helping other nations improve their food production, processing and handling systems. His contributions to the agricultural industry have earned him numerous honours, including a Queen’s Jubilee Medal and being named a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. In 2001, he and his family established the $1-million Hannam Soybean Utilization Fund at the University of Guelph to promote innovative medical, industrial and nutritive uses for soybeans. In 1990, he helped develop Project SOY, a contest to encourage U of G students to develop new uses for soybeans.

Don McKenzie
Dr. Don McKenzie is a pioneer in the research of physical activity and the health of breast cancer survivors. He started the country’s first breast cancer dragon boat team in 1996 to test the hypothesis that strenuous upper-body exercise does not result in lymphedema. Not only was his theory correct, but he also discovered that the dragon boat program had a positive effect on the mental health of women participating, so he expanded it. There are now more than 100 dragon boat teams in Canada. A medical doctor, holder of a PhD and a U of G graduate, McKenzie is the co-director and director of research of the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre in British Columbia. He serves on medical commissions for the International Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation, and is the physician for numerous national canoe teams.

Valerie Raymond
Valerie Raymond was Canada’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka during the devastating tsunami in 2004. She has played a leading role in advancing Canada’s major foreign policy interests in the country, and has helped Canada play an important role in sustaining Sri Lanka’s fragile peace process. She was a first-hand witness to the devastation and destruction caused by the 2004 tsunami and was instrumental in arranging for the deployment of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Teams. A U of G graduate, Raymond began her career as a journalist and moved on to a series of communication jobs in the government. She joined Foreign Affairs Canada in 1986 and held various senior positions, including director of human rights in the Women’s Equality and Social Affairs Division and director of the International Women’s Equality Division. She served as Canada’s high commissioner to New Zealand from 1997 to 2001.

Paul Rusesabagina
Paul Rusesabagina has been internationally honoured for saving the lives of more than 1,000 people during the Rwandan genocide. He used his connections and influence as the assistant manager of the Mille Collines Hotel in Kilgali to shelter more than 1,200 refugees. His story was brought to life in the Academy Award-nominated film Hotel Rwanda. In 2005, he set up the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation to help children and women affected by genocide in Rwanda and sub-Saharan African nations. He has received many international honours and awards, including the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity; the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award; the Enduring Spirit Recognition from Amnesty International; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

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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