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McGill to recognize outstanding individuals with honorary degrees

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Published: 17 May 2010

Montreal philanthropist Jacques Bougie, Nobel Prize winner Douglas D. Osheroff and one of the world's great organists, Olivier Latry, are among the 10 exceptional individuals who will be recognized with honorary degrees from McGill University during this year's spring convocation ceremonies

Montreal philanthropist Jacques Bougie, Nobel Prize winner Douglas D. Osheroff and one of the world's great organists, Olivier Latry, are among the 10 exceptional individuals who will be recognized with honorary degrees from McGill University during this year's spring convocation ceremonies, May 28 to June 4.

This year's Convocation marks the first time McGill will honor the exceptional careers of retiring professors with the McGill University Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement in two ceremonies May 31 at 2 p.m. and June 1 at 2 p.m.

McGill University honorary degree recipients, Spring 2010:
(In order of presentation)

Jacques Bougie, Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, May 28, 2:30 p.m.
(Macdonald campus)

Jacques Bougie is a Montrealer whose 20-year career at Alcan Aluminum Inc., seven years as its president and chief executive officer, is evidence of his high standards of achievement and merit in industry and community service. As a director serving on various company boards across Canada, Bougie's experience is renowned.

Bougie's philanthropic work with the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, and other non-profit organizations has been constant over the years. In recognition of his achievements and contributions, Bougie was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994.

Douglas D. Osheroff, Doctor of Science
Faculty of Science, May 31, 10 a.m.

Professor Douglas Osheroff discovered the superfluid phases of an isotope of Helium, 3He, in graduate school. For his part in this amazing discovery, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1996 with David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson. After this important achievement, Osheroff continued his career at Bell Laboratories and then at Stanford University.

Among his numerous distinctions, Osheroff is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences. Osheroff has won the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society for outstanding contributions in condensed matter physics, and was named a MacArthur Prize Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

George M. Whitesides, Doctor of Science
Faculty of Science, May 31, 2 p.m.

George McClelland Whitesides is the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University. Considered one of the most prominent chemists of our time, Whitesides excels in defining new interfaces between chemistry and biology, engineering, medicine, and nanoscience. His work has enabled many advances in nanoscience and subsequent new electronics, pharmaceutical science, and medical diagnostics technologies.

Whitesides has received numerous prestigious prizes including the U.S. National Science Medal, the Kyoto Prize, the American Chemical Society's premier award, the Priestley Medal, and, most recently, the inaugural Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences.

Professor Sir Deian Rhys Hopkin, Doctor of Laws
Centre for Continuing Education, May 31, 6 p.m.

Professor Sir Deian Rhys Hopkin is co-founder of the Association for History and Computing which promotes the use of information technology in the profession of history. Currently, he is Vice-Provost at London Guildhall University and Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at London South Bank University. In these capacities, Sir Deian  has championed university/community/business partnerships for the purpose of community development. Sir Deian is a lifelong learner, driven by his commitments to public education and to making a difference in society. He was recently knighted in recognition of his achievements, one of Britain's highest honours.

Charles Marstiller Vest, Doctor of Science
Faculty of Engineering, June 1, 10 a.m.

As President of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and President Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Charles Vest's advocacy of science, technology and research has spanned four decades. At MIT, Vest has focused on enhancing undergraduate education and diversity and established major new institutes in neuroscience and genomic medicine, and redeveloped much of the MIT campus.

The author of several books, he has been awarded numerous prizes, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology in 2006 and Drexel University's 2010 Engineer of the Year award.

Alan Bernstein, Doctor of Science
Health Sciences, June 1, 2 p.m.

Dr. Alan Bernstein is a pioneer in cancer research, stem cells and hematopoiesis (the process by which the cellular elements of the blood are formed), and has been instrumental in the transformation and promotion of health research in Canada.

In 2000, Bernstein was appointed the inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) where he served for seven years. Now the executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, Dr. Bernstein oversees the worldwide efforts of researchers, funders, and advocates championing an HIV vaccine.

Dr. Bernstein's important contributions to science have brought him acclaim domestically and internationally including theMcLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Australian Society for Medical Research Medal and the Medaille du mérite from the Institut de Recherche Clinique de Montréal. In 2002, he was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada.

Frank Clarke Fraser, Doctor of Science,
Health Sciences, June 1, 2 p.m.

Canada's first medical geneticist, Frank Clarke Fraser made history in 1950 by founding the earliest medical genetics department in a Canadian hospital, at the Montreal Children's Hospital. After earning degrees at McGill, he served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, then graduated from medical school at McGill in 1950.

Fraser famously analyzed family patterns in a variety of mostly pediatric disorders and malformations and explored the perceptions and attitudes of parents to genetic risk, and contributed to the development of genetic counseling. In 1972, he and McGill's Dr. Charles Scriver established the Medical Research Council, now the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Medical Genetics Group, the longest-existing CIHR Group.

Among his accolades: In 1985, Fraser was named the Molson Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at McGill University and appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.

He was named an honorary fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics (1993), the Montreal Children's Hospital named the F. Clarke Fraser Clinical Genetics Centre in his honour in 1995; in 1999, he was awarded the Government of Quebec's Prix Wilder-Penfield in the biomedical sciences.

Herschel Victor, Doctor of Laws
Desautels Faculty of Management, June 2, 2 p.m.

A leader in men's apparel, Herschel Victor is chairman and CEO of Jack Victor Limited, a privately held and family-owned manufacturer of menswear employing approximately 1,000 people.

A supporter of an array of philanthropic causes, Victor, a McGill graduate, established the Herschel Victor Foundation in 1982 which created the Herschel Victor Scholarships for students entering the Desautels Faculty of Management. This Foundation also funded a complete renovation of the Faculty's main lobby. In honour of his late brother, Herschel contributed to the establishment of the Arthur Victor Movement Disorder Endowment Fund at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

In 2009, he established the Christine & Herschel Victor / Hope & Cope Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at the Jewish General Hospital. Herschel Victor is an honorary life member of the Desautels Faculty's Advisory Board on which he has served since 1997. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his philanthropy in health care, research and education in 1999. He is also a recipient of the Governor General's Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada in 1992, and received a commemorative medal on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Reinhard Zimmermann, Doctor of Laws
Faculty of Law, June 4, 10 a.m.

Professor Reinhard Zimmermann is one of the world's leading authorities in comparative law and legal history. He serves as Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany. He holds the chair of Private Law, Roman Law and Comparative Legal History at the University of Regensburg.

For his work in the fields of comparative, contemporary private law, legal history and Roman law, Zimmermann received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany's highest honour for scholarly achievements.

Zimmermann is a founding member of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists, and has significantly contributed to the study of mixed jurisdictions. He is considered to be one of the most influential jurists of our time.

Olivier Latry, Doctor of Music
Schulich School of Music, June 4, 2 p.m.

Known as one of the world's great organists, Olivier Latry studied the piano at age seven and the organ at age 12. When he was 19, Latry was titular organist of the Meaux Cathedral and in 1985, he won the competition to become a titular organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a position he still holds today.

Since 1995, Latry has taught at the Paris Conservatory and has performed in more than 50 countries on five continents. Among Latry's honours and awards are: the Prix Del Duca of the Institut de France-Academie des Beaux Arts in 2000, an honoris causa fellowship of the Royal College of Organists in 2007, and his consideration for International Performer of the Year for 2008-2009. Latry has taught for the McGill Summer Organ Academy and will return as a juror for the next Montreal Canadian International Organ Competition competition in 2012. Latry is consultant for the organ installation for the new Symphony Hall of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Convocation ceremonies will be held on McGill's lower campus, with the exception of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ceremonies, which will be held at the Macdonald campus in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

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