Simon Fraser University

SFU celebrates 10 with honorary degrees

PAMR, 778.782.3210

March 10, 2011

A world-renowned songstress, an astronaut and the first female regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations are among 10 distinguished Canadians Simon Fraser University will recognize with honorary degrees during its spring (June 14-17) and fall (Oct. 6-7) convocation ceremonies.

Canadian broadcaster, politician and business leader, Carole Taylor, will also assume a three-year term as SFU’s 10th chancellor at spring convocation on Friday, June 17, when incumbent Brandt Louie steps down.

The six spring convocation degree recipients are:

  • George Cohon, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited/McDonald’s Russia founder and creator of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Canada/Russia, dedicated to helping children with serious illnesses or disabilities and their families lead happier, healthier lives. (Cohon’s award, planned for last year, was delayed because of a scheduling conflict).
  • Sarah McLachlan, Grammy and Juno Award-winning Vancouver musician, singer, songwriter and Lilith Fair founder who has sold some 40 million albums worldwide and raised millions of dollars for women's charities, AIDS sufferers and inner-city kids, to name a few.
  • Pavel Pevzner, a pioneer and widely recognized leader in the field of computational molecular biology, or bioinformatics, whose focus on genome rearrangements—a common type of genetic mutation—has illuminated the study of both evolutionary history and cancer.
  • Ray Spaxman, Vancouver’s director of planning from 1973-89 and a key visionary behind SFU’s UniverCity development who helped transform Vancouver into one of the world's most livable cities and SFU’s mountaintop community into one of the world’s most sustainable neighbourhoods.
  • Robert Thirsk, New Westminster-born engineer, physician and Canadian Space Agency astronaut who holds Canadian records for longest spaceflight (187 days, 20 hours) and time in space (204 days, 18 hours), and strongly supports an economy based on innovation and advanced training.
  • Brian Williams, 40-year veteran sportscaster considered the dean of Olympic sports broadcasting in Canada and a champion of amateur sports who has covered 13 Olympic Games and every high-profile amateur and professional sporting event around the world.

The four fall convocation honorary degree recipients are:

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