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Three prominent McGillians appointed to the Order of Quebec

Published: 8 Jun 2009

Principal Munroe-Blum; distinguished neuropsychologist and surgeon among new inductees

Principal Munroe-Blum; distinguished neuropsychologist and surgeon among new inductees

Three leading members of the McGill community have been appointed to the National Order of Quebec, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec. Principal and Vice-Chancellor Prof. Heather Munroe-Blum will be named Officer of the Order at the ceremony to be held at Quebec’s National Assembly building on June 17. New inductees also include pioneering neuropsychologist Dr. Brenda Milner as Grand Officer and Dr. Mostafa M. Elhilali, chair of the Department of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief at the McGill University Health Centre, as Officer.

"The University is extremely proud of the recognition accorded Prof. Heather Munroe-Blum with this significant honour," said Robert Rabinovitch, chairman of McGill's Board of Governors. "As the dynamic leader of McGill University, a major Quebec institution and one of the leading universities in the world, as well as through her leadership of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CRÉPUQ), Heather has brought incredible energy and clear-eyed vision to demanding tasks and challenging situations. Her determination to make McGill a vital and integrated part of the Quebec academic landscape is evident and her commitment to enhancing the strength and contributions of the Quebec university system as well as McGill's place in Quebec is unquestionable. On behalf of the University's Board of Governors, I offer her our sincere congratulations for this well-deserved honour."

Prof. Munroe-Blum, Principal of McGill since 2003, has devoted her career to the advancement of higher education, science and innovation in Canada and around the world. Internationally recognized in the fields of epidemiology and public policy, Prof. Munroe-Blum has taught at York University, McMaster University and the University of Toronto, where she also served as a Governor, Dean of Social Work and Vice-President, Research and International Relations. She regularly advises governments and organizations on the role of universities, science, technology and innovation in advancing the economic and social well-being and the international competitiveness of societies. While President of CRÉPUQ, she currently also serves on the Board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Executive Committee of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council.

"While I am, of course, deeply honoured by this recognition from my fellow Quebecers," Prof. Heather Munroe-Blum said, "I am absolutely delighted to see the important recognition conferred on Professors Brenda Milner and Mostafa Elhilali. These exceptional individuals have made enormous contributions to medical science in the fields of neurology and surgery, respectively, and brought much honour to McGill.

"We are very proud to join the accomplished and eminent group of Quebecers from all fields and from all parts of Quebec who are recognized by this Order and we appreciate very much the significance of this distinction which reflects important accomplishments that have contributed to advancing Quebec’s place in the world. I would like to publicly offer my sincerest congratulations to Brenda and Mostafa for their outstanding dedication to their fields and the many contributions they have made to improving the human condition."

A professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute and in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Dr. Brenda Milner has had an extraordinary influence on the shape of neuroscience. The origins of modern cognitive neuroscience of memory can be traced directly to her rigorous and imaginative studies. Dr. Milner's research focuses on cognitive function in the frontal and temporal lobes of humans. She has received numerous accolades throughout her almost six-decade long career. Dr. Milner is a prestigious foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). She was elected to the Academy in 1976 and was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. She has been awarded honorary degrees from an astounding 19 different universities, here and abroad. She is the recipient of numerous academic awards including the Gairdner International Award in 2005 and the Prix Wilder-Penfield (Prix du Québec) in 1993. Dr. Milner is a fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada and was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2004.

A renowned urologist, Dr. Mostafa M. Elhilali is an active member of many national and international societies including the Canadian Urological Association (CUA), American Urological Association, the European Urological Association, and the Société Internationale d’Urologie, of which he is President. He has held several prestigious positions such as President of the Canadian Urological Association and President of the Northeastern section of the American Urological Association (AUA). He has also been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently, the life achievement award of the CUA, the Jean Charbonneau life achievement award of the Quebec Urological Association, the AUA Distinguished Contribution Award, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada Founder’s Award. In April 2009, he received the American Urological Association (AUA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

The National Order of Quebec is the most prestigious distinction awarded by the Quebec government. This honour recognizes the contribution of individuals who have had an exceptional influence on Quebec or who have helped Quebec extend its influence in one of its sectors of activity. Nominations are submitted to the Council of the National Order of Quebec, a committee of nine people from different regions of Quebec, already admitted to the Order and elected by all members of the Order. The Cabinet makes the nominations official by Order-in-Council.

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