media release

Canada’s ‘Olympic Voice’ to be honoured by SFU

June 13, 2011

Scott McLean, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151;

Brian Williams
Photo on Flickr

Brian Williams, a legendary Canadian sports broadcaster and the recipient of six Gemini Awards and two Foster Hewitt Awards, will be recognized with an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University this week.

The degree will be conferred on Williams on Thursday, June 16, at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

A decorated sports broadcaster for more than 30 years, Williams most recently anchored CTV’s and TSN’s prime-time Olympic coverage, playing a leading role in shaping and delivering the networks’ coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics Winter Games.

Beginning in 1976 with the Summer Games in Montreal, Williams has covered 13 Olympics, as well as every high-profile sporting event around the globe.

Born in Winnipeg, Williams joined CBC in 1974, after radio employment at Toronto’s CFRB and CHUM. In 2006, Williams moved to CTV/TSN, and will head the networks' broadcast team in London for the 2012 Olympics.

“[The Vancouver Olympics] were the highlight of my career, and to receive this honour [from SFU] back in Vancouver, this is something I never dreamed of,” said Williams. “I have such great respect as well for [SFU Chancellor] Brandt Louie, and for what his family has achieved in this country and for what they have given back. To receive this honour from him, in one of his final acts as Chancellor, it truly does mean the world.”

Williams, who spent grades one through five in Invermere, British Columbia, before relocating to Connecticut, Alberta and Ontario, says that the legacy of the Vancouver Games was their ability to galvanize and unify Canadians.

“When I walked through the streets of Vancouver, I saw faces of every colour, all wearing and screaming something that said ‘I’m proud to be Canadian,’” added Williams. “Traditionally in Canada people often identify themselves with their home nation, but for the first time that I can remember, everyone was Canadian, there was a pride and an appreciation, not just for our athletes, but for our country.”

SFU will confer honorary degrees on five others, including songstress Sarah McLachlan, Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, McDonald’s Canada founder George Cohon, former Vancouver city planner Ray Spaxman and molecular biologist Pavel Pevzner.

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