John Cleghorn and Joni Mitchell to receive honorary degrees from McGill

Published: 19 October 2004

Two Canadian titans are being recognized for their achievements by McGill University this fall. Corporate and philanthropic leader John E. Cleghorn will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws at a convocation on Thursday, October 28. Legendary singer-songwriter and artist Joni Mitchell will receive an honorary Doctor of Music from McGill's Faculty of Music on October 27. This fall, a total of 1,756 students will be graduating from McGill.

Mitchell is being further celebrated on Wednesday, October 27. The Faculty of Music is organizing a full-day symposium on Joni Mitchell's career and music to explore some of the most prominent themes reflected in her works and her lasting impact on the arts in Canada. The conference program can be consulted on the web. Journalists wishing to attend must contact Alain LaBonté, media relations, Joni Mitchell Symposium, at 514-523-9922. Media wishing to attend the convocation ceremonies must contact Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, communications officer and media advisor, at 514-398-6752 for locations and details. Read on for short bios of McGill's newest degree recipients. More extensive synopses are available upon request.

More on John E. Cleghorn
McGill alumnus John Cleghorn is one of Canada's most respected corporate philanthropic leaders, who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to higher education. Respected by his peers around the world, Cleghorn served as CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada from 1994 until his retirement in 2001. He led the company to record-setting profits while becoming a champion of corporate restraint and accessible leadership. Cleghorn has chaired many organizations, including the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and the Montreal YMCA. A long-standing member of McGill's Board of Governors, Cleghorn led the University's last capital campaign, the Twenty-First Century Fund. The campaign set a national record at the time, obtaining $205 million in support. From 1996 to 2003, Cleghorn was chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, where he and his wife Pattie donated $1 million for student and teaching initiatives. At McGill, the Cleghorns helped create the McGill Sports Centre's Cleghorn Hyperbaric Oxygen Laboratory and the Pattie Cleghorn Fund in Diabetes Research at the Polypeptide Hormone Laboratory. John Cleghorn is currently chairman of the board of SNC-Lavalin Group and director for several major firms, including Canadian Pacific Railway, Finning International, Molson and Nortel Networks. Cleghorn was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001.

More on Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell is among the most influential Canadians of her generation. Born in Alberta and raised in Saskatoon, Mitchell is a songwriter, singer, musician, poet, painter and self-directed artist who maintained complete control of her career in a male-dominated industry. Known for her asymmetrical, lyric-driven melodies and breezy vocal style, her music has been recorded by artists from k.d. lang and the Counting Crows to Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra. Joni Mitchell is a multi-Grammy winner, an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Juno Hall of Fame, received Billboard magazine's highest honour — the Century Award for creative achievement — and the Governor-General's Performing Arts Award. Mitchell is an influential artist who continues to push the boundaries of both music and society.

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