McGill University celebrates graduates and honorary doctorate recipients at 2024 spring convocation

Luminaries in their fields, the honorary doctorates will be honoured during the upcoming convocation ceremonies from May 28 to June 5
Published: 28 May 2024

As part of this year’s Spring Convocation celebrations, McGill University will confer honorary degrees upon ten inspirational individuals, five of whom are from Quebec.

Leaders in their respective fields, these honorary doctorates stand as examples of creativity, compassion, dedication, service, and a pioneering spirit. They represent a diverse array of leaders whose contributions span disciplines, industries, and continents.

McGill’s Spring 2024 honorary degree recipients are: Frederic Bertley, Edward Burtynsky, Chile Eboe-Osuji, Minnie Grey, Marcel Groleau, Carl James, Monique Leroux, Louis Lortie, Soumya Swaminathan and Shoshana Zuboff.

Here are the profiles of the Quebec honorees. To read the full profiles of all honorees, click here.

Frederic Bertley: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), Faculty of Science

Born in Montreal, from a family of numerous McGill graduates, “Dr. B.” earned a B.Sc. in Physiology and Mathematics, and a PhD in Immunology from McGill. For the past eight years, Bertley has served as the President and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Under Bertley’s leadership, COSI has gained national prominence as one of the top science museums in the U.S., boasting the largest science outreach program in North America.

Minnie Grey, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), School of Continuing Studies

Born in Kangirsuk, on the western shore of Ungava Bay, Minnie Grey has spent nearly 40 years advocating for the health and well-being of Inuit and the Inuit ways of life in various polar regions. As a former Vice-President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, as chief negotiator for the establishment of a Nunavik regional government, and as co-founder and board member of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, she has played a pivotal role at local and national levels.

Marcel Groleau: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Having grown up on the family dairy farm in Thetford Mines, Quebec, Marcel Groleau champions policies that support sustainable agriculture, rural development, and the well-being of farming communities. Groleau is currently the President of UPA DI – an international cooperative of 15 countries to promote a strong family agricultural sector. He is also President of the Feeding Humanity Sustainably Coalition, which brings together 60 member organizations and works to ensure food access and security.

Monique Leroux: Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), Desautels Faculty of Management

Monique Leroux is a prominent Canadian business leader and advocate for corporate social responsibility. With a distinguished career spanning finance, insurance, and cooperative sectors, Leroux has left an indelible mark on the Canadian business landscape. Leroux was the first woman to lead a major Canadian financial institution, serving as Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group from 2008 to 2016.

Louis Lortie: Doctor of Music, honoris causa (D. Mus.), Schulich School of Music

Montreal native Louis Lortie is a world-renowned pianist celebrated for his virtuosic performances and profound musical interpretations. Considered one of the leading pianists of his generation, Lortie has captivated audiences with his exceptional technique and artistic sensitivity. A prolific artist, he has produced more than 45 recordings for Chandos Records featuring the pillars of piano literature.

“The conferral of an honorary degree, McGill’s highest honour, is both a recognition of the transformative power of individual achievement and a celebration of the values and aspirations that unite our community,” said Deep Saini, President of McGill. “Each a poignant testament to the limitless possibilities of human endeavour, our honorary doctorate recipients are wonderful role models for the Class of 2024, and an inspiration to us all.”

Below is the full schedule of the McGill University Spring 2024 honorary doctorate recipients:

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

  • 10:00 a.m. EST – Honorary degree: Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, F.A.Sc., F.N.A.Sc., F.A.M.S., F.N.A., F.Med.Sci., Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), M.B.B.S. (Armed Forces Medical College), M.D. (All India Institute of Medical Sciences)

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

  • 10:00 a.m. EST – Honorary degree: Mrs. Monique Leroux, C.M., O.Q., FCPA, FCA, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), D.E.S. (Conservatoire de Musique et d’Art dramatique du Québec), B.B.A. (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi)
  • 3:00 p.m. EST – Honorary degree: Mr. Chile Eboe-Osuji, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), LL.B. (University of Calabar), LL.M. (McGill University), LL.D. (University of Amsterdam) and Mr. Louis Lortie, O.C., C.Q., Doctor of Music, honoris causa (D. Mus.)

Thursday, May 30, 2024

  • 10:00 am EST – Honorary degree: Mrs. Shoshana Zuboff, Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), B.A. (University of Chicago), Ph.D. (Harvard University)
  • 3:00 pm EST – Honorary degree: Mr. Carl James, F.R.S.C., Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (D.Litt.), B.A. (Hon.), M.A., Ph.D. (York University)

Friday, May 31, 2024

  • 10:00 am EST – Honorary degree: Mr. Frederic Bertley, Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), B.Sc., Ph.D. (McGill University)

Monday, June 3, 2024

  • 10:00 am EST – Honorary degree: Mr. Edward Burtynsky, O.C., R.C.A., Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (D.Litt.), B.A.A. (Toronto Metropolitan University)

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

  • 3:00 pm EST – Honorary degree: Mrs. Minnie Grey, C.M., C.Q., Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

  • 2:30 pm EST – Honorary degree: Mr. Marcel Groleau, Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)

Click here to livestream the ceremonies.

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,000 international students making up 30% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 20% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.

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