Degrees of excellence

Degrees of excellence McGill University

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McGill Reporter
April 24, 2008 - Volume 40 Number 16
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DEGREES OF EXCELLENCE

CONVOCATION 2008 CELEBRATES BRILLIANT MINDS

Reporter

Roy Lacaud Heenan, OC
BA, BCL (McGill University)

Law – Monday, May 26, 10 a.m.

The long-serving chair of the prestigious law firm Heenan Blaikie, Roy Lacaud Heenan served as an adjunct professor for over 25 years at McGill and was chairman of the Faculty of Law's Advisory Board when a program of trans-systemic legal education was adopted and during the construction of the Gelber Law Library. An expert in labour and employment law, international trade, civil liberties in the workplace, and administrative and constitutional law, he lectures regularly at many Canadian universities and is a board member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. Mr. Heenan is also the founding director and current chairman of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Reporter

Janos Starker
Franz Liszt Academy

Music – Monday, May 26, 2 p.m.

One of the world's greatest cellists and a world-class teacher, Janos Starker graduated at age 15 from the famous Franz Liszt Academy in his native Hungary. He was principal cellist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra before beginning a teaching career in 1958 at Indiana University (now the Jacobs School of Music), where he is a distinguished professor of cello. In awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Music, McGill recognizes not only Janos Starker's excellence as a musician and performer but his immeasurable contributions to music research and pedagogy.

Reporter

Ray Kurzweil
BSc (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Centre for Continuing Education – Monday, May 26, 2 p.m.

A child prodigy who wrote his first computer program at the age of 12, Ray Kurzweil is an MIT graduate and inventor whose name has become synonymous with dynamic innovation in technology. Always keen to emphasize the human side of technology, Mr. Kurzweil has continued to apply his many inventions to help learners with disabilities. This "restless genius," as he was described by the Wall Street Journal, is a member of the US Inventors Hall of Fame and a recipient of the President's Award from the Association on Higher Education and Disability. PBS recently named Ray Kurzweil as one of sixteen "Revolutionaries Who Made America."

Reporter

Michèle Thibodeau-Deguire, CM, CQ
BEng (École polytechnique)

Education – Tuesday, May 27, 10 a.m.

The first female graduate in civil engineering from the École polytechnique in 1963, Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire is one of the great leaders of the Montreal community today. An accomplished structural engineer, she was appointed the first female Quebec Delegate General in Boston in 1982. In 1991, Madame Thibodeau-DeGuire was appointed president and executive director of Centraide of Greater Montreal. She was named to the Order of Canada in 2003 and to the Ordre national du Québec in 2005. Other accolades include a McGill Management Achievement Award. In 2007, in recognition of her accomplishments, Madame Thibodeau-DeGuire was appointed to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Reporter

Stephen A. Jarislowsky, OC, GOQ
BEng (Cornell University), MA (University of Chicago), MBA (Harvard University)

Management – Tuesday, May 27, 2 p.m.

The founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Jarislowsky Fraser Limited, one of Canada's largest private investment companies, Stephen Jarislowsky leverages his success as an investment counselor to advocate for improved corporate governance and the rights of minority shareholders. He is co-founder and director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance and was instrumental in establishing the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations. Over the years, Mr. Jarislowsky has supported many scholarly and medical research initiatives nationwide and funded 20 chairs in Canadian universities, including McGill's Faculty of Medicine. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 and a Grand Officier of the Ordre national du Québec in 2007.

Reporter

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, CM, FCSLA
BA (Smith College), BLArch Graduate School of Design (Harvard University)

Engineering – Wednesday, May 28, 10 a.m.

Dr. Cornelia Hahn Oberlander's work is internationally acclaimed for its clarity, technical mastery, and inventiveness. In six decades of professional practice, writing and teaching, she has shaped our understanding of landscape architecture. Dr. Oberlander's early practice focused on low-rent housing and children's playgrounds and now includes a long list of award-winning projects with distinguished architects, including McGill graduates Arthur Erickson and Moshe Safdie. These include Vancouver's Robson Square, the Museum of Anthropology, the Liu Centre at the University of British Columbia, and the Canadian Chancery in Washington, D.C (with Erickson), as well as Canada's National Gallery, Ottawa City Hall, and the Vancouver Public Library (with Safdie).

Reporter

Victor J. Dzau
BSc, MD, CM (McGill University)

Health Sciences – Wednesday, May 28, 2 p.m.

McGill graduate, Dr. Victor J. Dzau has had a distinguished career in academic medicine, notably as the William Irwin Professor, the Arthur Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, and most recently as the prestigious Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dzau has also made a significant impact on medicine through his pioneering research targeting renin angiotensin for cardiovascular therapy. He is currently the Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University, the president and chief executive officer of Duke University Health System and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine.

Reporter

Jean-Pierre Serre, FRS
Bachelier ès sciences et ès lettres (Lycée de Nîmes), Docteur ès sciences (Sorbonne)

Science 'A' – Thursday, May 29, 10 a.m.

Jean-Pierre Serre is one of the giants of contemporary mathematics. The power and breadth of his vision have profoundly transformed the subject, in areas ranging from analysis and topology to algebraic geometry, group theory, and number theory. His introduction of sheaf-theoretic methods lies at the foundation of algebraic geometry in its modern formulation. For this work, Professor Serre was awarded a Fields Medal at the International Congress for Mathematicians, often referred to as the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize. In 1968, Professor Serre’s McGill lectures on Abelian l-adic representations set the stage for the most spectacular developments in number theory in the past decades, building up to the recent proof of the fundamental "Serre conjectures" relating modular forms and Galois representations.

Reporter

Kurt Gottfried, FAAS, FAAAS
BEng, MSc (McGill University), PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Science 'B' – Thursday, May 29, 2 p.m.

Professor Kurt Gottfried's research focus has been the study of the subatomic structure of matter and the foundations of quantum mechanics. In 1968, the McGill graduate co-founded the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-based non-profit organization that strives to protect the global environment and to eliminate the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. In 1992, the American Physical Society awarded him the prestigious Leo Szilard Lectureship Award for his contributions to physics. Professor Gottfried is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently an emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University.

Reporter

Elinor Ostrom, FAAAS
BA, MA, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles)

Arts 'B' – Friday, May 30, 2 p.m.

Dr. Elinor Ostrom became a member of the political science faculty at Indiana University in 1966 and a Professor in 1974. An outstanding researcher, author and teacher for over forty years, she is currently the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and holds an appointment in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Throughout her career, Dr. Ostrom has studied how self-organization and local-level management work to keep common pool resources viable. She has uncovered numerous principles that govern successful sustainability and that defy conventional beliefs. Her highly respected work in both developed and developing countries has made her contribution to policy studies and political economy extraordinary.

Reporter

Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate, AC, FRS, FAA
BVSc, MVSc (University of Queensland), PhD (University of Edinburgh)

Agricultural & Environmental Sciences – Monday, June 2, 2 p.m.

In 1972, Professor Peter Doherty joined the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, where he collaborated with Rolf Zinkernagel in research that led to their shared Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996 for their groundbreaking discovery of how cells of the immune system recognize both self molecules and foreign molecules and work to eliminate virus infected cells. In 1988, Professor Doherty was appointed head of the Immunology Department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He is also laureate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. In 1997, he was named one of Australia's 100 Living National Treasures.

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