Honorary doctorates

Honorary doctorates McGill University

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McGill Reporter
May 30, 2002 - Volume 34 Number 17
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Honorary Doctorates

Dyane Adam

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Psychologist; Commissioner of Official Languages
Doctor of Laws

A professional psychologist, Dyane Adam initially worked for a number of years as a clinical psychologist and also taught at the CEGEP and university levels. For five years she served as principal of Glendon College at York University. In 1999, Adam was appointed as Canada's fifth Commissioner of Official Languages and has made significant efforts to restore bilingualism as a priority in Canada. She has intervened in issues affecting Canadians' rights: restructuring of the airline industry, the presence of our official languages on the Internet, reform of the educational system and the implementation of municipal amalgamations. Adam has published articles on drug addiction and women's mental health, and as a community activist, she has fought for the rights of marginalized Canadians.

Virginia Carter

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President, J.O. Crystal Company
Doctor of Science

Virginia Carter, a McGill graduate, began her career as a research physicist at the Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit advisor to the United States Air Force, Space Division, where she flew satellite experiments to measure properties of the high atmosphere. In an unusual career change, she became vice-president of Embassy Television in Hollywood, where her primary responsibility was to ensure pro-social content in Embassy's half-hour comedies, including "All in the Family," "Maude," "Good Times" and "The Jeffersons." She established a Movie for Television division, served as executive producer of many highly rated two-hour movies, and received a number of Emmy and Peabody Awards. Carter left television to become a working partner at the J.O. Crystal Company in 1987. Now president, she handles publicity and financial operations, and shares responsibility for overall corporate operations. Carter serves actively on the board of the Population Media Center, an NGO that works to reduce population growth and the spread of disease in third-world countries through the design and broadcast of long-running radio and television soap operas.

Robert Glaser

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Psychologist; academic
Doctor of Laws

An internationally recognized scholar who has helped define the field of instructional psychology, Robert Glaser has linked theories of learning, cognition and instruction. He founded the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, serving as its director until 1997. He sincerely believes all learners should be able to attain expertise in their chosen field and achieve their goals.

Glaser began his career as a behavioural psychologist, interested in exploring how theory, with the benefit of technology, could guide instructional design. His interest in aptitudes led him then to explore the cognitive processes that underlie expertise in specific academic disciplines and technical domains. His findings in this area are detailed in his frequently cited volume The Nature of Expertise.

Richard Goldbloom

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Pediatrician; academic
Doctor of Science

A graduate and former staff member of McGill, Richard Goldbloom is one of Canada's most outstanding pediatricians, whose written work encompasses over 150 papers and book chapters in the leading textbooks of pediatrics. From 1967 to 1986, Goldbloom was Head of Dalhousie University's Department of Pediatrics. He has served as the Honorary Director of Symphony Nova Scotia, a member of the board of directors of Children's International Medical Service, chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Regionalization of Health Care, and chair of the Nova Scotia Working Group on Eye Care. Goldbloom has brought his substantial leadership skills in medicine to the community, as well as his contributions as a keen and enthusiastic volunteer for the arts and music.

Ben Heppner

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Tenor
Doctor of Music

One of the finest dramatic tenors performing today, Ben Heppner has wowed critics since the late '80s with his interpretations of Wagner. After Seattle Opera's 1998 production of "Tristan und Isolde," Heppner was dubbed "a Tristan for the new millennium" by the international press.

The British Columbia native has sung in the most prestigious concert venues in the world -- from the Vienna State Opera to the Metropolitan Opera, to La Scala. In addition to the rave reviews for his singing and dramatic sense, Heppner has received several Grammy and Juno awards.

He has worked with conductors Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Claudio Abbado and Mstislav Rostropovich, and now records exclusively with Deutsche Grammophon. He created the title role of William Bolcom's "McTeague" with Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1992.

Michael Ignatieff

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Writer; broadcaster; historian
Doctor of Letters

Toronto-born scholar Michael Ignatieff, director of the Carr Center of Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, has tackled controversial global issues in his many books. He compels us to face moral issues about nationalism, human rights and ethnic conflict. Ignatieff is best known for The Needs of Strangers: An Essay on the Philosophy of Human Needs; The Rights Revolution, looking at the language of rights and the legacy of responsibilities in Canada; Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, delving into the political, moral and cultural claims of nationalism; and two books on ethnic warfare and moral interventionism: Warrior's Honour: Ethnic War and Modern Conscience, and Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond. Ignatieff's novel Scar Tissue was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1993, and his family memoir, The Russian Album, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in 1988.

Daniel Langlois

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President, Ex-centris
Doctor of Science

Daniel Langlois founded Montreal's SoftImage Inc, serving as its president and chief technology officer from 1986 to 1998, and won an Oscar in 1997 for his work. The company is recognized internationally in the fields of cinema and media creation for its advanced digital technologies and especially its 3-D computer animation techniques. SoftImage software was used to create most of the 3-D effects in Star Wars (The Phantom Menace), Titanic, Jurassic Park and Twister.

Langlois is also the president and founder of Ex-Centris (a state-of-the-art multi-theatre and production facility designed to evolve with the emergence of new digital production technologies), the Daniel Langlois Foundation (a private philanthropic organization founded to further knowledge of the arts and sciences by combining the two with the help of technology), and film company Media Principia Inc.

Jacques Languirand

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Writer; broadcaster; actor; playwright
Doctor of Letters

Jacques Languirand is one of Canada's leading communicators, as well as a radio, television and theatre personality. His career at Radio-Canada has stretched over 52 years, and he is about to launch the 32nd season of his highly popular radio program, "Par Quatre Chemins." His reputation reaches far beyond Canadian borders and he recently was awarded a prize by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation of Greece for his new play, Faust et les radicaux libres. Languirand has served as secretary-general of La Comédie-Canadienne, assistant to the artistic director and writer in residence at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, visiting professor at the École nationale de théâtre du Canada, and for 12 years as lecturer at McGill.

Alistair MacLeod

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Writer; academic
Doctor of Letters

Alistair MacLeod was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, then at age 9 moved with his family to their farm in Cape Breton. He became a teacher, funding his studies by working as a logger, miner and fisherman. He later pursued higher degrees in literature, and taught at Indiana University from 1966 to 1969 before moving to the University of Windsor, where he was, until his recent retirement, professor of English and creative writing. His books include No Great Mischief (1999), a first novel that won numerous awards, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He is widely known for his collections of short stories, like The Lost Salt Gift of Blood and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun.

Madeleine Parent

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Social activist
Doctor of Laws

McGill graduate Madeleine Parent's career has been as an organizer -- an organizer of women and children working in the textile plants of Quebec, an organizer of immigrant women, and a supporter of aboriginal women in their struggle against domestic violence. In the 1940s she was arrested several times during textile workers' strikes and sentenced to two years in prison for what Premier Duplessis called "seditious conspiracy." Her collaboration with Thérèse Casgrain helped to bring about the vote for women in 1940. In the 1970s she was one of the most dynamic leaders of the Canadian women's movement and a founding member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. In recent years, Parent has been particularly concerned with the problems of aboriginal women and women of the cultural communities.

Witold Rybczynski

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Architect; academic
Doctor of Science

Currently the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor in Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, Witold Rybczynski taught at McGill from 1974 to 1993. While at McGill he brought an international reputation to the school for his work on minimum cost housing and affordable homes. His architectural experience has included working for Moshe Safdie on Habitat '67 and designing and building houses as a registered architect. For 20 years he was involved in housing research in Canada and abroad. He has written more than 180 articles and papers on the subjects of architecture, housing and urbanism. Rybczynski is author of a number of critically acclaimed and award-winning books, including Home, The Most Beautiful House in the World, A Clearing in the Distance (a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted) and One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw.

Sid Stevens

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Community activist
Doctor of Laws

Sid Stevens was born in Montreal and raised in the district bordering "The Main," graduating from Baron Byng High School in 1958. He spent 21 years in industry as a director of personnel before leaving the business world to devote himself fully to community work. Stevens founded the Sun Youth Organization in 1974 to provide a constructive outlet for young people to focus their time and energies. The organization works in conjunction with schools, police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, corporations and volunteers, receiving referrals from more than 170 agencies in the greater Montreal area. Sun Youth serves youths, seniors, low income earners, and persons with special needs. Its services range from food banks for the hungry to day camps for disadvantaged children and drug prevention programs for teenagers.

Stewart Sutherland

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(The Right Honourable Lord Sutherland of Houndwood)
Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh
Doctor of Laws

Although Stewart Sutherland's area of scholarship is the history and philosophy of religion, in the United Kingdom his most lasting contributions have been in the area of public policy in various fields, most commonly in higher education. He is frequently called upon by the British government to serve on or lead commissions designed to provide alternative public policies in a wide range of areas. Formerly vice-chancellor of the University of London, Sutherland is currently principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, an institution to which McGill owes a historical debt for the initial staffing of our Faculty of Medicine.

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka

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Executive Director, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
Doctor of Science

In September 2000, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka was appointed executive director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), the mission of which is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements and adequate shelter for all. Prior to joining Habitat, she was the Special Coordinator for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked and Small Island Developing Countries in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In this role she was responsible for strengthening the capacity of least developed countries in trade negotiations with the World Trade Organization. From 1993-1998 she was associate professor of economics at the University of Dar es Salaam and also served as a delegate of the Tanzanian government to several United Nations summits. Tibaijuka is dedicated to promoting women's rights, particularly to education, land and inheritance.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga

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President of the Republic of Latvia; psychologist; academic
Doctor of Science

McGill graduate Vaira Vike-Freiberga (PhD'65) became the first female elected head of state of any former Soviet republic or Eastern European country in 1999 when she became President of Latvia. Vike-Freiberga has been called Latvia's Vaclav Havel.

Born in Latvia and raised in German refugee camps, she pursued university education in Canada. She was a professor of psychology at the Université de Montréal from 1965 to 1998.

Fluent in five languages, Vike-Freiberga is an internationally recognized scholar who has published seven books, on topics ranging from linguistics to folklore, and is the co-author of several databases of Latvian folk songs. She has written over 160 book chapters and articles in English, French and Latvian.

Luzius Wildhaber

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Judge; academic
Doctor of Laws

In 1991, Luzius Wildhaber was appointed judge to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Prior to that, Wildhaber was judge at the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and at the Supreme Court of the principality of Liechtenstein. He is lauded for his protection and promotion of human rights worldwide.

From 1974 to 1978 and from 1994 to 1996, he was involved in the reform of the federal constitution of Switzerland, first as coordinator of the Commission of Experts and then as member of the Advisory Council of the Swiss federal government. In 1997 he acted as expert for the Canadian government in the Quebec secession case before the Supreme Court of Canada. A distinguished academic and prolific writer, Wildhaber was professor at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and dean of the University of Basel's Faculty of Law for two terms.

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