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Fall 2017 Honorary Degree recipients

October 03, 2017
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During the October convocation ceremonies three exceptional individuals will receive SFU honorary degrees recognizing their outstanding achievements. They join almost 2,200 graduands eligible to convocate at the ceremonies.

Photo credit: Sarah Race Photography

Ivan Coyote, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Thursday, October 5 | 9:45 a.m.

Ivan Coyote is an award-winning writer and storyteller who is also a strong advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ2S) communities in Canada. Over the past 20 years, Coyote has performed at arts festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam to Australia, contributing to the dialogue around gender identity and sexuality. The author of 11 critically acclaimed books, Coyote is also an educator, serving as writer-in-residence at Carleton University, the Vancouver Public Library, and at the Universities of Winnipeg and Western Ontario. As a tireless advocate for gender equality, Coyote visits and performs at schools, colleges and universities across the country to inspire youth and address their issues. Coyote also works with the elderly to capture their stories for future generations.

David Gillanders, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Friday, October 6 | 9:45 a.m.

David Gillanders Q.C., is widely cited as one of Canada’s most accomplished real estate lawyers, with citations in the peer-reviewed lists of Lexpert and The Best Lawyers in Canada. As founding chair of the SFU Community Corporation (the Trust), Gillanders oversaw all aspects of SFU’s UniverCity development for the first 16 years. Under his leadership, the Trust conceived, developed and demonstrated new, sustainable practices in community building that today are emulated worldwide. In the process, Gillanders also helped the Trust generate tens of millions of dollars in endowment wealth that will support SFU’s teaching and research mission. A committed community volunteer, Gillanders has also supported Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, and helped establish a permanent home for Haida artist Bill Reid’s art—the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art at SFU.

Robert Arthur Williams, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Friday, October 6 | 2:30 p.m.

Urban planner and former provincial MLA Bob Williams has devoted the past 60 years to improving B.C.’s rural and urban communities. As Minister of Lands, Parks and Water Resources in the ’70s, he helped create the Agricultural Land Reserve, the historic Royal Commission on Forestry (Pearce Report), the Columbia Basin Trust, and the BC Assessment Authority. He also led the resort municipality legislation required to found Whistler/Blackcomb. As Minister of Parks he doubled the size of B.C.’s provincial parks. In the ’90s, as chair of ICBC, he dedicated funds from the crown corporation’s capital reserves to fund Surrey’s Central City development, now home to SFU’s Surrey campus. And as a chair and board member of Vancity Credit Union he helped to establish Vancity as a leader in financial services. His leadership, inspiration and action have helped to improve and transform B.C. and the lives of its citizens.