People

No

Six of Canada's finest to receive honorary degrees

May 28, 2009

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Links

Mark Angelo
Mark Angelo
Doctor of Science, honoris causa,
Wednesday, June 3, 9:45 am

Mark Angelo is one of the world’s pre-eminent river conservationists. The Burnaby teacher and writer’s work preserving Canada’s and the world’s waterways—including more than 250 articles and editorials—spans three decades, earning him both an Order of Canada and an Order of British Columbia among numerous accolades. In 1980, Angelo founded B.C. Rivers Day, which an estimated 75,000 British Columbians now celebrate each year at more than 100 special events. Its success spawned the creation of Canadian Rivers Day and, in 2005, when the United Nations launched the Water for Life decade initiative, Angelo led a grassroots campaign to celebrate World Rivers Day on the last Sunday in September. The first event that same year was embraced by millions of people in close to 30 countries. Angelo, who heads BCIT’s Rivers Institute and its fish, wildlife and recreation program, acquired his love for rivers during his childhood in California and at college in Montana before moving to Canada in 1974. An avid paddler, he has traveled along hundreds of rivers around the world. From 2003-05, his acclaimed Riverworld multimedia program played to sold-out audiences across North America and the program’s website had more than 40 million visits. The 2007 sequel Wild Water, Wild Earth has enjoyed similar success.

Richard Henriquez
Richard Henriquez
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa,
Wednesday, June 3, 2:30 pm

Richard Henriquez is a major figure in Canadian architecture who in 2005 won his profession’s highest award for lifetime achievement, the Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). He is the founding partner of Henriquez Partners, a firm recognized internationally for its design excellence. The winner of six Royal Architectural Institute of Canada/Governor General’s awards and five Lieutenant Governor’s awards, the Vancouver-based firm combines unique contemporary design with sensitivity to historical context and urban fabric. Among other recent projects, it is the creative force behind the Woodward’s redevelopment, which includes SFU’s soon-to-be relocated School for the Contemporary Arts. Born in Jamaica to a Sephardic plantation family and educated at the University of Manitoba and MIT, Henriquez moved to Vancouver in 1967. In the ensuing 42 years he has been a key figure in shaping the Lower Mainland’s architectural legacy. His projects include Water Street’s Gaslight Square, the Sinclair Centre, New Westminster’s Justice Institute of British Columbia, the B.C. Cancer Research Centre, the West End’s Eugenia and Presidio towers and the Coal Harbour Community Centre, among others. As the RAIC gold medal selection committee noted in bestowing his award, “Richard Henriquez … is clearly unique and consistently inventive … His accomplishments raise the profile of architecture for the public and the profession alike.”

Raif Mair
Rafe Mair
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa,
Thursday, June 4, 9:45 am

A former Vancouver lawyer, Kamloops MLA and cabinet minister, Rafe Mair left government in 1981 and went on to become one of British Columbia’s most outspoken and popular broadcasters and political commentators. From 1981 until 2003 he was B.C.’s most-listened-to radio commentator. The Rafe Mair Show, on CKNW from 1988 to 2003, was the highest-rated public affairs show in Western Canada. Mair used his show to grill politicians, expose bureaucratic incompetence and fight for his beloved British Columbia. He became famous across Canada for his opposition to the Meech Lake Accord for unjustly favouring the Quebec-Ontario bloc over the West. During his last years on radio he was an outspoken critic of the provincial Liberal government’s environmental record and took special aim at the government’s policy on coastal salmon farms. He remains a spokesperson for Save Our Rivers, a group opposed to private run-of-the-river hydroelectric developments, and is an advocate for mental health issues. Mair has authored eight books, writes columns for several publications, and appears regularly on radio and TV. He has received numerous awards including the 1994 Michener Media Award and the Hutchison Award for Lifetime Achievement in B.C. Journalism. In 2005, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Djavad Mowafaghian
Djavad Mowafaghian
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa,
Friday, June 5, 9:45 am

Djavad Mowafaghian is an Iranian-Canadian West Vancouver real estate developer and philanthropist whose outstanding international contributions to human welfare include significant donations to B.C. Children’s Hospital and to SFU. Mowafaghian emigrated in 1987 from Iran to Canada where his real estate development business has contributed substantially to Vancouver’s reputation as one of the world’s most livable cities. He has demonstrated outstanding citizenship through his philanthropic activities in Canada and throughout the world. Mowafaghian strongly believes that children are the foundation of our society and much of his philanthropy is aimed at providing them with two basic human rights—health and education. Over the past 30 years he has funded 16 kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, eight trade and technical schools, and six schools and dormitories for the visually and hearing impaired in Iran. He has also funded a heart surgery centre in Iran, four “pressure rooms” for bone marrow transplants in Geneva, Switzerland and more than 70 scholarships for international students in London. His recent donation of $6 million to SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences will improve the lives of children worldwide, supporting research in children’s health policy and funding the construction and outfitting of a Level 3 containment laboratory for infectious disease research.

James McEwen
James McEwen
Doctor of Science, honoris causa,
Friday, June 5, 2:30 pm

James McEwen is a Vancouver biomedical engineer, former adjunct professor in SFU’s School of Engineering Science and inventor of a revolutionary microprocessor-controlled automatic tourniquet system now used during 15,000-20,000 surgical procedures a day in operating rooms worldwide. McEwen first thought of his device more than three decades ago while serving as Vancouver General Hospital’s first biomedical engineering director. The mechanical tourniquets in use then were far less accurate and difficult to program and keep calibrated. After launching his first automatic tourniquet model in 1985, all previous systems were immediately obsolete. He now holds more than 160 patents and applications on medical devices in fields including orthopedics, anesthesia, ophthalmology, laboratory medicine and surgery. A registered Professional Engineer, certified clinical engineer and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, McEwen has been called “the grandfather” of B.C.’s biomedical engineering industry. He founded several successful local biomedical companies, helped to start numerous others and was a driving force behind the both the SFU and UBC biomedical engineering programs. He is also a founder/director of the non-profit Medical Device Development Centre, vice-president of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation board of trustees and past board president of the ALS Society of B.C.

Robin Blaser
Robin Blaser
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

Internationally celebrated poet and SFU professor emeritus, Robin Blaser, died of cancer on May 7, 2009 shortly after receiving his honorary doctorate during a private ceremony at his Vancouver home. It is difficult to overestimate Blaser’s lifetime achievements. He was a giant of 20th century poetry, an influential man of letters and a supportive mentor to a generation of Canadian, particularly local, Vancouver writers. His literary and scholarly contributions earned him the Order of Canada in 2004 and a Griffin lifetime achievement award in 2004. He won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize itself in 2008, based on his recent masterwork The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser. Born in Denver, Colo., Blaser grew up in Idaho. He went to Berkley, Calif., in 1944 where he met poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer. All three played key roles in the postwar “Berkeley (Poetry) Renaissance” and the later “San Francisco Renaissance” of the 1950s and ‘60s. Blaser moved to Vancouver in 1966 and joined the faculty at SFU where he taught English literature for 20 years. After retiring, he remained active as teacher and writer. A Toronto Star writer described Blaser at a 2008 Griffin gala as “the hippest guy in the room.” But then, Robin Blaser was always the hippest guy in the room.

Comments

Commenting is closed
Comment Guidelines

Puru Shrestha

SFU's selection of six distinguished Canadian luminaries of different fields for the prestigious honorary doctorate stands quite justifiable.

Among the six, Mark Angelo, whom I knew as a BCIT student is a highly deserving candidate. In essence, his contribution to the cause of river and riparian environmental conservation in global level provides long term positive environemntal impact. It also represents a great analogy to the adventurous spirit of legendary Simon Fraser himself, who was a pioneer river explorer, like Mark. The famed Fraser river of BC, if personified, would be very pleased on this glorious announcement.

Search SFU News Online