Honorary Degrees

March 23, 2006, vol. 35, no. 6

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SFU has awarded ten honorary degrees to noteworthy recipients who include a Nobel prize winner, international filmmakers and a sports hero. The honours, awarded annually by senate which has the sole power to grant degrees, are intended to encourage a standard of excellence and innovation that is exemplary to students, faculty and staff and to society generally. Anyone can nominate a candidate, says registrar Ron Heath, but nominations typically come from the SFU community. Heath, who administers the nomination process, says there were about 40 nominations this year from which the 10 were selected. The chancellor will present degrees at the spring convocation in June and fall convocation in October.
Photo of Asbury

Alan Astbury is professor emeritus of physics at University of Victoria. He took over as director of the TRIUMF laboratory (Canada's national meson research facility managed jointly by SFU, UBC, UVic and University of Alberta) in 1994 and was responsible for turning it into one of the best sites in the world for performing experiments in nuclear astrophysics. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He returned to UVic in 2001.






Costa-Gavras has directed many award-winning movies, such as Z and State of Siege, that expose political repression in a variety of cultural and national settings.  In April 2005, he premiered his most recent film Axe as a guest of SFU's Hellenic studies program. Proceeds from the premiere went to fund a new theatre for the Vancouver International Film Festival. His films have won numerous awards including an Oscar in 1982 for best screenplay adaptation for the movie Missing.





 An internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, Vancouver-born Allan King  may be best known for his documentaries Warrendale and A Married Couple. Warrendale won multiple awards including the Prix art et essai at Cannes. There, he shared the international critic's prize with Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up. King made television dramas and feature films such as an adaptation of W.O. Mitchell's Who Has Seen the Wind?, the Grand Prix winner at the Paris film festival in 1977.






Rudy North is a founder of Phillips, Hager and North, one of the largest investment firms in western Canada. Currently, he is president of North Growth Management Ltd. A longstanding friend of SFU, North has supported dialogue through the North Growth Management director of programs at the Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue. He is also an advocate for marine conservation, and for research funding for research on farmed and wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago.







 SFU alumnus Lui Passaglia was twice an all-star in the four years he played for the Clan football team. After earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1976 he went on to star for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Over his record-setting career, he amassed 3,991 points, the most points scored by a player in professional football history. In 2004, he was inducted into the Canadian football hall of fame. He is director of community relations for the Lions.







Monique Bégin was the first woman from Quebec elected to the House of Commons and was minister of National Health and Welfare from 1977-1984. She is best known for the Canada Health Act which was passed in 1984. More recently, she was dean of the faculty of health sciences at the University of Ottawa from 1990 to 1997. In 2005, she was appointed to the World Health Organization's commission on social determinants of health.








Christopher Gaze is artistic director of Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival which he founded in 1990. Born and educated in England and trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school, Gaze has performed in virtually every major centre across Canada, as well as in England and the U.S. He is also host of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's Tea and Trumpets series, and performs with the Chor Leoni men's choir. He was inducted into the B.C. entertainment hall of fame in 2002.







 A graduate of Maple Ridge high school, Robert Mundell is the 1999 winner of the Nobel prize in economic science. A professor at Columbia University, Mundell is an authority on economic theory, international monetary systems and supply-side economics. He has written extensively on the history of the international monetary system and played a significant role in the founding of the euro. When he received the Nobel prize, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed him the most important economist of the 20th century.






 A professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, Nancy Olivieri is best known for her research on thallasemia, a blood disorder. As a result of her research she received an Ethics in Action award in 1999 for informing her thallasemia patients about the potentially harmful side effect of a new drug. This decision placed Dr. Olivieri in direct conflict with both university administrators and the drug company.







Maria Tippett, one of SFU's early graduates, received her degree in 1972. She is an author best known for biographies of major Canadian artists such as F.H. Varley, Bill Reid and Emily Carr. She has won a Governor General's award for non-fiction and the MacDonald prize for the best book in Canadian history, awarded by the Canadian Historical Association. She has been a lecturer in SFU's history department and a guest curator at the art gallery. She is currently working on a book about photographer Yousef Karsh.

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