Honorary Degrees 2012
A pioneering Vancouver Aboriginal rights lawyer, a beloved South Asian community leader and an acclaimed South African pediatrician and HIV advocate are among six individuals SFU will recognize with honorary degrees during its spring convocation ceremonies.
Jagat Singh Uppal
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Tuesday June 12, 2:30 pm
Jagat (Jack) Uppal is a B.C. South Asian community leader and businessman celebrated for giving back to society. Described as a “one man social worker before there were social workers,” Uppal has helped literally thousands of new immigrants, finding them jobs and resources and supporting their immigration and settlement in B.C. He has also served the greater good of Canada as a longtime defender of immigration and racial equality. He was a tireless supporter of the right of South Asians to vote, a goal he helped achieve in 1947. Uppal immigrated to Canada from India’s Punjab region with his mother in 1926, 20 years after his father’s arrival in 1906. His father died when Uppal was 13 years old, forcing him to quit school to support his family by working in a sawmill, beginning a lifelong career in the forest industry. Now the manager and president of his company Goldwood Industries, which operates several B.C. sawmills, Uppal’s door is always open to support cultural, sports, education, public service and multicultural initiatives. A proud Canadian for eight decades, Uppal continues to serve as a mentor and role model in the South Asian community. In 2010, he was given a B.C. Community Achievement Award for his contributions.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Wednesday June 13, 9:45 am
Saida Rasul is a Vancouver dentist and former member of SFU’s board of governors who is renowned for her community work with the United Way, Outward Bound, Leadership Vancouver, Channel M and many other educational and health institutions. At SFU, Rasul’s leadership exemplified the university’s new vision of community engagement. In addition to terms as board chair and deputy chair, she headed the fundraising campaign for SFU’s Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures and was a lead donor. She was also instrumental in securing provincial support for SFU’s new School for Contemporary Arts building in downtown Vancouver. Her volunteer and mentoring activities include service to the Aga Khan Foundation Partnership Walk for Third World Development, York House School, Leadership Vancouver, the Rotary Club, the Ismaili Council for British Columbia, and the Immigrant and Visible Minority Women’s Association. Now a consulting dentist at the Aga Khan University in several countries, Rasul is a clinical instructor supervising residents and is involved in the community health services department, international resource development and mentoring. Her numerous accolades include a Volunteer Vancouver Outstanding Leadership Award, a YWCA Women of Distinction Award and the United Way’s Andre Mailhot Award for lifetime exemplary commitment and leadership.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Wednesday June 13, 2:30 pm
Louise Mandell is a groundbreaking Vancouver lawyer who during her 36-year career has become one of Canada’s most important conceptual thinkers and influential actors in the area of Aboriginal and treaty rights law. As a young lawyer, her work with Grand Chief George Manuel of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and others resulted in Section 35 protecting Aboriginal and treaty rights being enshrined in Canada’s Constitution when it was patriated in 1982. Since then, as founding partner of the law firm Mandell Pinder, she has effectively litigated numerous landmark court cases that have helped shape the course of Aboriginal/Crown relations. They include cases defending Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights (Regina v. Bartleman and Regina v. Sparrow); asserting Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en territorial ownership and jurisdiction rights (Delgamuukw v. The Queen); and establishing the Crown’s fiduciary obligations to First Nations (Guerin v. The Queen). Mandell has written numerous articles and presented to House of Commons standing committees on Aboriginal affairs. In the last few years, she has also spoken on every aspect of native rights at more than 20 national and international conferences. Mandell was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997 and in 2001 was awarded the Georges Goyer Q.C. Memorial Award for Distinguished Service.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Thursday June 14, 9:45 am
Harry Arthurs is a York University president emeritus, professor emeritus and former Osgoode Hall Law School dean who has made significant contributions to Canadian legal theory, education and practice, particularly labour law. His writing on the history and deficiencies of legal education transformed the recruitment, training and professional development of Canadian lawyers. As dean, Arthurs made Osgoode Hall Canada’s largest, most diverse law school and an international leader in education and scholarship. He led York to become Canada’s third largest university, pioneering strategic planning in academic institutions, and was a powerful voice for the primacy of intellectual interests in university administration. In the greater university community, he led the fight against monopoly and privilege by older and better-endowed institutions, benefitting newer universities including Simon Fraser. After leaving office, Arthurs resumed his prolific and influential scholarship on topics ranging from administrative law, legal education and the legal profession to globalization and constitutionalism. He has arbitrated and mediated labour disputes, conducted university inquiries and advised governments on matters including the Constitution, higher-education policy and labour and employment law. His myriad tributes include Canadian and British Royal Society fellowships, a Killam Prize, a Bora Laskin Award and memberships in the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada.
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa
Thursday June 14, 2:30 pm
Yosef Wosk is a Vancouver philanthropist, scholar, educator, rabbi, community leader, businessman and former Continuing Studies director at SFU where he served for 15 years and remains an adjunct professor in the humanities department. A pioneer in continuing education, Wosk founded the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars and SFU’s Philosophers’ Café, the world’s largest series of café discussion gatherings. His wide-ranging philanthropy includes donations to social services, gardens, the arts, education, and more than 400 libraries and museums worldwide. Wosk, who sat on many boards and sponsors the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design, is a major supporter of the Vancouver Foundation and the Vancouver Public Library. He also endowed Vancouver’s Poet Laureate and is a founding patron of The Dance Centre and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation. At SFU, two student learning commons, a seminar room and a rare 16th-century book collection bear his family name. An ordained rabbi, Wosk holds two bachelor’s, two master’s and two doctoral degrees from universities including Harvard, Yeshiva, Boston and UBC. His numerous accolades include membership in the Order of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Canadian Museums Association and a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Friday June 15, 2:30 pm
Glenda Gray is a South African pediatrician acclaimed for her pioneering work in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and her leadership of the country’s renowned Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) prevention and treatment research and clinical-care centre. Her efforts have improved the lives of millions of Africans and other populations affected by HIV. Gray began her pediatric career in Johannesburg in 1993 just as a horrific AIDS epidemic was emerging in South Africa, and she witnessed scores of HIV-positive children dying in the city’s public hospitals. That year she began researching mother-to-child transmission and in 1996 co-founded the PHRU in Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The unit soon expanded to include research into vaccines, interventions to prevent heterosexual transmission and treatment. Under Gray’s directorship, the PHRU is now 400-strong and acclaimed worldwide for its research and results. Gray has received multiple awards for her research and advocacy on behalf of HIV infected and affected people, including the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award and the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care Hero of Medicine award. She has been hailed as one of Africa’s most influential and inspiring women. Gray also has an enduring relationship with SFU as a colleague and mentor.