Honorary doctorates

Honorary doctorates McGill University

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McGill Reporter
May 27, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 17
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Honorary Doctorates

Denys Arcand

Denys Arcand
Doctor of Letters
Arts and Religious Studies convocation

Denys Arcand, the most visible Quebec and Canadian director on the local and international scene, has been making innovative movies since his student days at the Université de Montréal. In his early career at the National Film Board, he made a series of compelling documentaries that examined social and political aspects of Quebec society, such as On est au coton (1970), Québec, Duplessis et après (1971) and Le confort et l'indifférence (1982). His first dramatic feature films, La maudite galette (1972), Réjeanne Padovani (1973) and Gina (1974), continued to reflect his social concerns. Le déclin de l'empire américain (1986) and Jésus de Montréal (1989) put Arcand firmly on the international map. His reputation was capped this year when Les invasions barbares won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film after winning three Césars for Best Director, Best Film and Best Original Screenplay.


Francesco Bellini

Francesco Bellini
Doctor of Science
Science convocation

Francesco Bellini has had a huge impact on the biopharmaceutical research industry in Canada and, in particular, on the lives of AIDS patients all over the world. He played an essential role in the development and commercialization of 3TC, the first anti-HIV compound, as chair and chief executive officer of BioChem Pharma. Author or co-author of over 20 patents, Dr. Bellini has published numerous articles and publications based on his research. Dr. Bellini has been unwavering in his support of numerous hospitals, universities and community-based organizations, including McGill. The soon-to-be built Francesco Bellini Life Sciences Building will be the centrepiece of McGill University's Life Sciences Research Complex, linking the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building and the Stewart Biology Building.


Clark Blaise

Clark Blaise
Doctor of Letters
Arts and Religious Studies convocation

Clark Blaise has long been one of Canada's most distinguished novelists and is also renowned for his short stories and non-fiction. He has dealt in an utterly original way with questions of national and cultural self-awareness in some 20 volumes of fiction and non-fiction that have been widely read, anthologized and celebrated. A master of English prose as well as a consummate delineator of human character, Clark Blaise has written unforgettably about Florida, where he grew up; Pittsburgh, where he lived and worked; and our own Montreal, where he founded the Writing Program at Concordia University and was active as one of the legendary Montreal Storytellers. His most recent non-fiction book, Time Lord (2001), was greeted with praise worldwide and has become a best-seller.


James Orbinski

James Orbinski
Doctor of Science
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences convocation

Dr. James Orbinski was one of the founders of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders, Canada. In 1998 he was selected as the first non-European president of the MSF International Council and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization in 1999. He was MSF chief of mission for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the civil war in Zaire in 1996—97. He acted as medical coordinator for refugees during the 1992—93 famine in Somalia and the civil war and refugee crisis in Afghanistan in 1994. Dr. Orbinski also worked in Peru during the 1992 cholera epidemic and in Zambia. From 2001 to 2003, he was the chair of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group, which is part of the MSF campaign for improved access to essential medicines.


Seymour Schulich

Seymour Schulich
Doctor of Letters
Education convocation
Arts and Religious Studies (Graduate) convocation

Seymour Schulich is a Montreal-born businessman and entrepreneur who graduated from McGill with a BSc in 1961 and an MBA in 1965. As a businessman, Mr. Schulich led Franco-Nevada to become the largest resource royalty company in the world, and then engineered a merger involving Franco-Nevada to create Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the world's largest gold mining companies. Mr. Schulich is also a generous philanthropist. McGill University's Schulich Library of Science and Engineering bears his name in appreciation of his generosity, as does the Schulich Heart Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital and the Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. His vision and his support of the Schulich School of Business at York University have helped bring it recognition as one of the finest business schools in the world.


Syukuro Manabe

Syukuro Manabe
Doctor of Science
Science convocation

Syukuro Manabe, currently visiting research collaborator in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program at Princeton University, is widely recognized as a pioneer in the application of physical and numerical models to study both natural and anthropogenic variations of climate. During the '60s, Dr. Manabe helped develop a numerical model linking the atmosphere with the ocean for climate studies. The coupled atmosphere-ocean model has played a very important role in our understanding of the global climate, its variability and changes, owing to anthropogenic greenhouse warming. During the past four decades, Dr. Manabe has made substantial contributions to almost all aspects of coupled atmosphere-ocean climate modelling, including past climates. These studies have helped to confirm that human activities have indeed had a significant impact on the global climate.


André Morel

André Morel
Doctor of Laws
Law convocation

André Morel has been a professor of law at the Université de Montréal for nearly 40 years. He is one of a handful of scholars rightly associated with the coming of age of Quebec legal education over the last generation. Professor Morel's scholarship in legal history and in civil liberties is recognized as groundbreaking. He has been active in educational outreach programs in French-speaking African countries; he was a prime mover in learned societies in Canada and internationally; and he has been a vital presence in the Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law at McGill University. Professor Morel was a member of the Civil Code Revision Office in the '60s and '70s and has served as commissioner on the Commission des droits de la personne du Québec.


Irma Thesleff

Irma Thesleff
Doctor of Science
Health Sciences convocation

Irma Thesleff currently teaches at the University of Helsinki in Finland and is a world authority on the development of teeth, the craniofacial bones and other structures that arise from ectoderm, such as hair and exocrine glands. Among her many important scientific discoveries, she has defined how failures in cell signalling networks result in developmental defects such as cleft lip and palate, as well as abnormal bones and teeth. In particular, she is known for developing mouse models of human disease, and a variety of novel experimental methods that examine how cells transmit molecular messages and how teeth develop from their progenitor stem cells.


Robert Giroux

Robert Giroux
Doctor of Laws
Education convocation
Arts and Religious Studies (Graduate) convocation

Robert Giroux held several key positions in the Public Service of Canada, including secretary of the Treasury Board and comptroller-general of Canada, president of the Public Service Commission of Canada, deputy minister of Public Works and deputy minister of Customs and Excise. He has served as a member of the board of the Canadian Labour and Business Centre, the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. In 1995, Mr. Giroux was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), a position he held until his retirement in March of this year. Under his leadership, federal recognition of and progress in support of universities and university research has advanced immensely.


Mortimer Mishkin

Mortimer Mishkin
Doctor of Science
Science convocation

Mortimer Mishkin is one of the world's most distinguished behavioural neuroscientists. He received his MA in 1949 and PhD in 1951 at McGill, working with the famous pioneer in psychology, Donald O. Hebb. Dr. Mishkin's research on the perception of visual stimuli has led to some of the most fundamental ideas in cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Mishkin's laboratory played a major role in work that has resulted in critical new advances in our understanding of the role of the hippocampus, the parahippocampal cortex, the rhinal cortex and the amygdala in memory. More recently, Dr. Mishkin and his colleagues have provided evidence that there are also two separate streams underlying the perception of auditory pattern and auditory spatial information.


Edward Goldenberg

Edward Goldenberg
Doctor of Laws
Education convocation
Arts and Religious Studies (Graduate) convocation

Edward Goldenberg earned a BA in 1969, an MA in 1971 and a Bachelor of Civil Law in 1974, all from McGill University. As a law student in 1973, he began to work with Jean Chrétien, who was to become Canada's 20th prime minister. This relationship continued through ten cabinet portfolios, two leadership campaigns and five federal elections. Appointed special constitutional advisor to the minister of Justice at the time of the repatriation of the Constitution, Mr. Goldenberg is one of the authors of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As senior policy advisor and chief of staff to the prime minister he was especially associated with the establishment of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Canada Research Chairs Program.


Michael Sopko

Michael Sopko
Doctor of Science
Engineering convocation

Dr. Michael Sopko is a graduate of McGill's Metallurgical Engineering program (BEng'60, MSc'61 and PhD'64). From 1992 to 2001 he was Chairman and CEO of the International Nickel Company (Inco) -- the biggest nickel company in the world. Dr. Sopko has been a devoted supporter of universities and other cultural and professional entities. As chair of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Mining, Metals and Materials Engineering (MMME) during the '80s, he assisted with the unprecedented growth of the department, which doubled its faculty complement and became the number one MMME department in Canada. His help included the establishment of an NSERC-Inco chair and securing a major corporate gift to the Faculty of Engineering. With Dr. Sopko's initiative, other chairs were established by Inco at the University of Toronto and Laurentian University. Dr. Sopko has also acted as director of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation and the Eye Foundation of Canada.


Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson
Doctor of Laws
Law convocation

Mary Robinson is an academic, a practising lawyer and a political leader extraordinaire. Above all, she is a human rights advocate. From 1997 to 2002, Mary Robinson served as United Nations high commissioner for human rights. She carried out her mission with exemplary even-handedness, rigour and courage. She is currently leading a new project: the Ethical Globalization Initiative. Its goal is to bring the norms and standards of human rights into the globalization process. She was named chancellor of Dublin University in 1998 and is also honorary president of Oxfam International. She was the first woman president of Ireland and is a founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders.


Anton Kuerti

Anton Kuerti, oc
Doctor of Music
Music convocation

Anton Kuerti, pianist, teacher and composer, was born in Vienna, grew up in the United States and has lived in Canada for the last 38 years. His distinguished career includes tours of nearly 40 countries, including Japan, Russia and most of Europe. He has performed with many of the major American orchestras. His vast repertoire comprises some 50 concertos, including one he composed himself. Mr. Kuerti has played with every professional orchestra in Canada, including 40 concerts with the Toronto Symphony. Anton Kuerti is one of today's most recorded artists, having put on disc all the Beethoven concertos and sonatas, as well as the Schubert sonatas, the Brahms concertos and works by many other composers.


Judah Folkman

Judah Folkman
Doctor of Science
Health Sciences convocation

Dr. Judah Folkman is a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School who has made a number of extremely important contributions in several different fields of medicine. He developed the first atrio-ventricular implantable pacemaker, worked on the sustained release of drugs that became the basis for the development of Norplant (by the Population Council), a five-year contraceptive used worldwide, and initiated the field of controlled release technology. His discoveries on the mechanism of angiogenesis opened a field of investigation now pursued worldwide.


André Chagnon

André Chagnon, oc
Doctor of Letters
Management convocation

André Chagnon is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Starting as an electrician in his native Montreal, Mr Chagnon built one of the most successful multimedia enterprises within North America and Britain. After selling Groupe Vidéotron in 2000, he established the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, the largest charitable foundation in Canada. In keeping with his strong sense of social engagement, Mr Chagnon made the long-term goal of the foundation to help prevent poverty and illness in Canada, starting with Quebec.


Emmett Johns

Emmett Johns, cm, goq
Doctor of Letters
Continuing Education convocation

Father Emmett Johns is known as Pops to Montrealers. He is the founder of Le Bon Dieu dans la rue, a non-profit organization that assists runaways and homeless youth. Father Johns has built Le Bon Dieu dans la rue from a service offering food and compassion for homeless youths to an organization that includes a 20-bed shelter, a day centre, Chez Pops, a medical and counselling service clinic and Dans la rue, a school that offers French, mathematics, computer and art courses given by experienced remedial educators.


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