Awards and honours

May 26, 2005, vol. 33, no. 3
By Diane Luckow

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More than 3,150 students will graduate at the convocation ceremonies June1-3, including the youngest student to ever graduate from the school of engineering science - Paulman Chan, aged 18 (See story at Paulman Chan).

This convocation also marks the last time that SFU chancellor Milton Wong will don his Cambridge bonnet and robes and follow the graduating students over the reflecting pond to convocation mall to perform his duties as chancellor.

During the three days of ceremonies, Wong will confer honorary degrees on six special individuals whom SFU is recognizing for their exemplary contributions to Canadian society. The honorees and their degrees are:

Michael Audain
Michael Audain, is a Vancouver developer, social activist and patron of the arts. Audain will receive a doctor of laws during the morning ceremony June1. Audain is chairman and chief executive officer of Polygon Homes Ltd. The participation of his company in the first two phases of UniverCity helped ensure the long-term success of the new residential community adjacent to SFU on Burnaby Mountain. In June 2004, the Council for Business and the Arts in Canada named Audain winner of the prestigious national Edmund C. Bovey award for leadership support of the arts. He has donated significant time and money to advancing the arts in British Columbia, particularly the visual arts.

Leila Getz
Getz will receive a doctor of fine arts at the June 1 afternoon ceremony for her outstanding contribution to Vancouver's cultural scene as founder of the renowned Vancouver Recital Society (VRS), which showcases rising young stars of the international music scene. She also launched the annual summer Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, which is now one of Canada's premier summer classical music festivals. Getz's artistic endeavours and entrepreneurial spirit have been recognized with many national and international honours including a YWCA woman of distinction award in arts and culture, and a member of the Order of Canada. Most recently she was presented with the Order of British Columbia.

Alma Lee
Lee, founder and current artistic director of one of North America's premiere literary events - the Vancouver International Writers Festival - will receive a doctor of letters on June 2 during the morning ceremonies. A well-known figure in the literary world, she has also served the wider community of Canadian writers in her role as executive and founding director of both the Writers Union of Canada, which successfully lobbied for public lending rights legislation and the creation of a copyright collective; and the Writers' Development Trust, an organization which supports writers in difficult circumstances. Recognized in 1998 with a YWCA woman of distinction award, Lee also received the Jack award in 2000 from the Book Promoters Association of Canada and in 2003, a commemorative medal for Queen Elizabeth II's golden jubilee. Last year, she became a member of the Order of Canada.

Jack Blaney
Jack Blaney will receive a doctor of laws at the June 2 afternoon ceremony. Blaney, a president emeritus at SFU, was most recently chair of the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform, chair of the Fraser Basin council and is a federal government appointee on the International Joint Commission. He has devoted much of his life to SFU, first establishing the university's highly successful continuing studies department, then envisioning and helping to establish both the Harbour Centre campus and the internationally renowned Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue. He is also a founder of Action Canada, a unique leadership program for Canadians in their early career years.

Brandt Louie
Louie, SFU's incoming chancellor, will receive a doctor of laws at the morning ceremony on June 3. Louie is president and CEO of H.Y Louie Co. Ltd. and chairman and CEO of London Drugs Ltd. He was a member of SFU's board of governors for five years and chair of the board for more than three years. He is currently chair of SFU's capital campaign. He also serves on several boards of companies and non-profit organizations, including the Royal Bank of Canada, the Duke University medical centre and the Neuroscience Canada Foundation. Louie personally leads London Drugs' charity committee, which oversees the company's corporate contributions to health and wellness organizations, medical research, education and the arts.

Bing Thom
Renowned Canadian architect Bing Thom receives a doctor of laws during the June 3 afternoon ceremony. Thom, principal of Bing Thom Architects Inc., has designed buildings for cultural institutions, corporations, universities, governments and communities around the world. His work includes the Canada Pavilion at Expo '92, the Dalian New Town project in China, the Chan centre for the performing arts at UBC, the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and the spectacular Surrey Central City project in Surrey, the new home of SFU's Surrey campus. His work has garnered a prodigious number of important design awards, as well as the Governor General's gold medal and the Order of Canada. Thom has also contributed to his community, serving on the building committee for the Vancouver Public Library and as a founding director of the Chinese Cultural Centre.
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