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Honorary degree recipients

June 05, 2017
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More than 5,050  students are eligible to graduate during SFU’s convocation ceremonies June 6-9.

Over the past 51 years SFU has graduated more than 145,000 alumni who are currently living in more than 135 countries. Of these, 33,000 hold at least two SFU credentials, while a handful hold as many as seven.

During the June 2017 conovcation ceremonies SFU is proud to also recognize the outstanding achievements of six exceptional individuals who will receive honorary degrees.  

The Honourable Jacob (Jack) Austin, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Tuesday, June 6, 2:30 p.m.

The Honourable Jacob (Jack) Austin, a retired Canadian senator, has held three careers: in law, business and federal politics. He is best known for his keen vision and leadership as a federal cabinet minister and senator. His legacy includes significant contributions to important Canadian legislation, including the Canada Health Act, and the Nisga’a Final Agreement—the first modern Aboriginal land settlement and self-government treaty. He held federal responsibility for Expo ’86 and the Canada Development Corporation, and was a member of the first official Canadian delegation to visit China. He has maintained a long business association in Asia, and served as president of the Canada China Business Council. He jointly created the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at SFU, and was a key player in establishing the Asia Pacific Foundation. He holds the Order of British Columbia and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Miloon Kothari, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Wednesday, June 7, 2:30 p.m.

Indian architect Miloon Kothari is an internationally recognized human rights advocate whose work has contributed to major advancements in housing and land rights in the international arena. Serving as the first Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council, he led the process of developing new global tools and standards for addressing housing rights, and protection from forced evictions and displacement. His work and outspoken, fearless voice has influenced human rights movements, housing rights law and policy-making around the world, including pioneering work on women’s rights to housing, land, property and inheritance. He founded the Global and South Asia office of Habitat International’s Housing and Land Rights Network. Currently, he is the president of UPR-Info, which seeks to ensure the universal advancement of human rights through the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

Dionne Brand, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

Thursday, June 8, 9:45 a.m.

Dionne Brand is a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. A renowned poet, novelist and essayist, her writing is notable for the beauty of its language, and for its intense engagement with issues of social justice. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her writing, including the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Prize for Literature, the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Toronto Book Award. She was Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto 2009-2012, and received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she is a former Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Women’s Studies at SFU. She has been described as a “cultural critic of uncompromising courage, an artist in language and ideas, and an intellectual conscience for her country.” Photo credit: Jason Chow.

Asma Jahangir, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Thursday, June 8, 2:30 p.m.

Asma Jahangir is a prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer and activist who has worked tirelessly to champion the human rights of women, children and the poor in Pakistan, and for peace in South Asia. She has served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (Geneva) and as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association in Pakistan. She helped to repeal Pakistan’s harsh and discriminatory laws, the Hudood Ordinances, introduced in 1977 and finally revised in 2006, and she transformed the discussion on slavery and human bondage in Pakistan. She has also worked to eliminate child labour and human trafficking. Her work and achievements have garnered many global awards including the Millennium Peace Prize, the Magsaysay Award, and the UNESCO Award for the Promotion of Culture of Human Rights.

James Hart, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Friday, June 9, 9:45 a.m.

An accomplished Haida artist and master carver, James Hart has made significant contributions to Northwest Coast art. His jewelry, prints, traditional architecture, totem poles and sculptures, which reflect Haida style, stories and culture, are displayed and enjoyed around the world. In 2008 his monumental carving, Frog Constellation, was installed in the Saywell Hall Atrium at the Burnaby campus. His pieces are also showcased in the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Museum of Anthropology, the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada, and The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, among others. His accomplishments have been recognized with the Order of B.C., an honorary doctorate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and membership in the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Hart holds the hereditary title of Chief 7idansuu (pronounced "ee-dan-soo") of the Haida Nation Saangga.ahl Staastas Eagle Clan.

Dr. James Cameron Hogg, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Friday, June 9, 2:30 p.m.

Dr. James Cameron Hogg is a physician, researcher and educator. His drive, innovation and leadership over the past 40 years have revolutionized the medical community’s understanding and treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. In 1977 he founded and directed the Pulmonary Research Laboratory at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver. Today, the centre employs 214 clinicians, biomedical scientists and trainees who are driving new innovations for treating heart, blood vessel and lung disease. As a professor, Hogg has supervised and mentored more than 100 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. In 2013 he received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for his outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005 and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010.