media release

Media Advisory: SFU Spring Convocation set for June 6–9

June 05, 2017

Allen Tung, University Communications, 778.782.3608,

Photos: (honorary degree recipients) 

More than 5,050 students are eligible to graduate during Simon Fraser University’s Spring Convocation ceremonies June 6–9.

Members of the media are welcome to attend all ceremonies. A media viewing area is located on the south end of Convocation Mall, just above the stage area.

There will be two ceremonies daily at 9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Each ceremony begins with a procession into Convocation Mall led by members of SFU’s six-time world champion pipe band. Honorary degrees are then conferred at the start of the convocation ceremonies.

WHAT: SFU Spring Convocation
WHEN: June 6–9, 9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (all four days)
WHERE: Convocation Mall, SFU’s Burnaby campus

Media parking is available in the upper level of the Central Parkade (see map:

This convocation, honorary degrees will be conferred on six distinguished individuals whose exceptional professional and voluntary contributions, both at home and around the world, truly exemplify citizen engagement:

  • The Honourable Jacob (Jack) Austin, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (June 6 at 2:30 p.m), a retired Canadian senator and former federal cabinet minister, recognized for his keen vision and leadership. His legacy includes significant contributions to important Canadian legislation, and to Canada/China relations.

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Beedie School of Business
  • Miloon Kothari, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (June 7 at 2:30 p.m.), an architect and internationally recognized human rights advocate. His work has led to the establishment of new global tools and standards for addressing housing and land rights. His work has also influenced housing-rights law and policy-making worldwide.

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dionne Brand, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (June 8 at 9:45 a.m.), a professor and award-winning poet, novelist and essayist whose writing engages intensely with issues of social justice. A former Poet Laureate of Toronto, her writing has garnered many awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award. 

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Asma Jahangir, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (June 8 at 2:30 p.m.), a prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer and activist. She has worked tirelessly to champion the human rights of women, children and the poor in Pakistan and S.E. Asia, and has served as a United Nations Special Rapporteur.

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Chief James (Jim) Hart, Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa (June 9 at 9:45 a.m.), an accomplished Haida artist and master carver. His sculptures, poles, prints and jewelry have been displayed around the world. His significant contributions to Northwest Coast art have been recognized with the Order of B.C.

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology
  • Dr. James Cameron Hogg, Doctor of Science, honoris causa (June 9 at 2:30 p.m.), a physician, researcher and educator. His drive, innovation and leadership have revolutionized the medical community's understanding and treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and asthma. He is a member of the Order of Canada. 

    Academic credentials conferred at this ceremony: Faculty of Education and Faculty of Health Sciences

Among the graduating students:

  • Lucia Pecnikova (June 8 at 9:45 a.m.), an academic advisor with SFU Student Services, graduates with a BA this month after working full-time and attending SFU part-time to complete a double minor—in English and in counselling and human development. To accomplish her goal, she pursued courses through SFU NOW: Nights or Weekends and SFU’s Centre for Distance Education.
  • Brandon Watson (June 7 at 9:45 a.m.) didn’t let a devastating hip injury interrupt his quest to play NCAA soccer. After excelling on the SFU men’s soccer team, he graduates with a B.Sc. in kinesiology, ranking among the top 10 students in the Faculty of Science. As well, he has won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship—awarded to student athletes who excel both academically and athletically.
  • Garrett Downes (June 6 at 2:30 p.m.) co-founded a cannabis-infused edibles business during his studies. The company aims to supply marijuana producers with the tools and skills necessary for building an edibles business from the ground up, including everything from recipes to helping producers with equipment purchases, to crafting high-quality cannabis-infused chocolates.
  • Maheen Sohail, Chris Elawa and Naheel Jawaid (June 9 at 9:45 a.m.), all students in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology who are graduating straight into plum jobs at the top of the social media ladder. Sohail and Elawa are becoming full-time product designers for Facebook, while Jawaid is with Google. 

For more on these students and other graduands, visit SFU News


As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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