Chancellor honours three

October 2, 2008

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Ian Baxter& is a contemporary conceptual artist who has helped re-shape Canada’s modern art scene during the last half-century. Like Marshall McLuhan’s insightful analysis of electronic media, Baxter&’s witty and satirical art has spurred us to ruminate about how information technology is affecting our perception of the world.

On Thursday, Oct. 9 at 9:45 am, Baxter& will receive an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa. The photographer, painter, sculptor and installation artist is originally from Middlesbrough, England and, at the age of one, moved to Canada with his parents.

Baxter&’s pioneering work in conceptual art has garnered several international awards including the Canada Council’s Molson Prize in the Arts and the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts.

He is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Ontario.

A professor emeritus of fine arts in the School of Visual Arts at the University of Windsor, Baxter& founded SFU’s visual arts program and designed the university’s original logo—a "toothpaste" strip of SFU’s three letters in the 1960s.

Baxter& has taught at SFU, the University of British Columbia, the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, the Alberta College of Art and York University.

Known as the world’s seed banker, Cary Fowler is the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international independent organization in Rome, Italy devoted to conserving crop diversity for food security worldwide.

The 1971 BA Honours graduate of SFU’s sociology department is a former professor and director of research in the department for international environment and development studies at the Norwegian University of Life.

On Thursday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 pm, he will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. Fowler’s work in crop diversity began in the mid-1970s. In the 1990s he oversaw the United Nations’ first global assessment of the state of crop diversity, helping draft a global plan of action for its conservation that was adopted by 150 countries.

His efforts led to the establishment this year of the world’s first global seed bank in Svalbard, Norway to protect more than a million unique varieties of food plants. Fowler is devoted to helping agriculture adjust to climate change and water and energy constraints. The native of Memphis, Tenn. and three-time survivor of cancer says his brushes with death inspired him to contribute to society. Saving seeds is his mission.

The author of many books and articles about genetic resources, agriculture and law, he received the 2007 Right Livelihood Award, an international prize recognizing outstanding vision and leadership in finding practical solutions to pressing global challenges.

Growing up in Lorain, Ohio, Martha Piper dreamed of teaching Grade 3 students, but the former university president’s accomplishments as an administrator and research advocate have taken her far beyond her childhood dream.

On Friday, Oct. 10 at 2:30 pm, Piper will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. One of the Canadian academic community’s most influential and charismatic leaders, Piper helped establish the University of British Columbia as an international leader in education during her 10-year tenure as its president and vice-chancellor (1997–2006). Her contributions at UBC played a major role in positioning B.C. to lead and benefit from the knowledge economy. She helped develop the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canada Research Chairs program and worked to increase federal support for post-secondary education.

Chair of the board of trustees of the National Institute for Nanotechnology, Piper is also on the board of directors of the Bank of Montreal and TransAlta Corporation. She is a member of the Canadian delegation to the Trilateral Commission and an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford University.

Piper has received numerous awards: the Women’s Executive Network named her one of Canada’s most powerful women in 2005; the Learning Partnership named her Educator of the Year in 2004, and the Globe and Mail newspaper once nominated her for a Nation Builder award. Piper is an officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of British Columbia.

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