Four Canadian icons to receive honorary degrees

June 10, 2010

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Alexandra Morton

Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Wednesday, June 16, at 9:45 am

Alexandra Morton is a B.C. biologist and activist whose work linking sea lice infestation in wild salmon to fi sh farming in the Broughton Archipelago has drawn international attention and challenged both the salmon farm industry and the government offi cials who regulate it. Born and raised in Connecticut, Morton began her career in marine mammal research in 1976 when she moved to California to work for dolphin researcher John Lilly. She moved to the B.C. coast in 1979 to study a specifi c pod of killer whales, or orcas, that frequented Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago. When the fi rst industrial salmon farms moved into the area in 1987 she thought they were a good idea. But she soon noticed what she interpreted as a collapse of the wild salmon ecosystem due to the impacts of salmon farming and she has since fought ferociously against open-net salmon pens in the archipelago. She recently led a 500-kilometre walk ending on the Legislature lawn in Victoria to encourage people to tell their government they want wild salmon. Morton has authored seventeen academic papers and published fi ve books. Since 1984, Morton has lived in tiny Echo Bay on the isolated central B.C. coast, where she continues to monitor the various pods of orcas that swim the waters there when she’s not advocating for the wild salmon.

Gordon Gibson

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Thursday, June 17, at 9:45 am

Gordon Gibson is a Vancouver political columnist, author and former Liberal politician who served as assistant to Prime Minister Trudeau from 1968-1972, ran in three federal elections, was elected to the provincial legislature twice and served as B.C. Liberal Party leader. Prior to entering politics, he received a BA (honours) in mathematics and physics at the University of British Columbia, an MBA from the Harvard Business School and did research work at the London School of Economics. Since leaving offi ce, Gibson has been a prolifi c writer and commentator on public-policy matters including senate reform, national unity, aboriginal issues and the role of B.C. in confederation. In 2002, the B.C. government commissioned him to design the province’s Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. His report was substantially adopted, with amendments as to size, and the assembly process was successfully completed. The assembly architecture is now the subject of extensive worldwide study as an innovative technique in tackling diffi cult public-policy problems. Gibson’s current areas of studies include federalism, democratic reform and aboriginal/non-aboriginal relations, and he has written numerous books and monographs on these issues. His columns have appeared frequently in the Vancouver Sun, National Post and the Globe & Mail. Gibson was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2008.

Beverley Ann Busson
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Thursday, June 17, at 2:30 pm

Beverley Busson is a retired RCMP commissioner who in 1974 was among the fi rst group of women to graduate from the RCMP academy and went on to become B.C.’s fi rst female commanding offi cer in 2000 and Canada’s first female top Mountie in 2006. After graduation, Busson was stationed at numerous B.C. detachments serving in general duty and as a plainclothes offi cer investigating frauds, drugs and serious crimes. She also studied criminology at SFU and graduated from UBC Law in 1990. Throughout her subsequent career in B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario, Busson was actively involved in community, justice and student programs. Her numerous contributions included working with the aboriginal cadet program, establishing Canada’s fi rst criminal investigation undergraduate degree at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and establishing B.C.’s widely acclaimed Organized Crime Agency. Busson’s many accolades include the RCMP’s Long Service Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Canadian Forces Vice Chief of Defence Staff Commendation. In 2004, she was invested as a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces and received an honorary degree from UFV. She was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2006. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Busson, who retired in 2007, to the Advisory Council on National Security in 2009.

Julio Montaner

Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Friday, June 18, at 9:45 am

Dr. Julio Montaner, one of the world’s leading AIDS specialists, is director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS—Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility—and president of the International AIDS Society. He received his MD with honours in 1979 at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He started working in respiratory medicine at Vancouver’s St Paul’s Hospital in 1981 and was chief resident at UBC in 1987. Dr. Montaner pioneered the use of adjunctive corticosteroids for AIDS-related pneumonia in the early 1980s and was among the fi rst to link HIV resistance to nucleoside analogues to the clinical progression of the disease soon afterward. In the 1990s, he pioneered highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), making it the standard of care for HIVinfected patients. More recently, he focused on other emerging treatment issues such as HAART toxicity, multi-drug resistance, hard-to-reach populations, harm reduction and treatment adherence. He also led development of a new strategy using treatment as prevention, which B.C. has now adopted as its current care standard and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has embraced as the cornerstone of its global control strategy. Dr. Montaner has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and received numerous research awards.


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