Honorary degree recipients

SFU's honorary degree is the highest honour conferred by the university. The degrees are awarded to distinguished individuals in recognition of their scholarly, scientific or artistic achievement, or in recognition of exceptional contribution to the public good. Honorary degree recipients' achievements celebrate our values and serve as an inspiration to our students, graduands and our community. 

Nine honorary degree recipients will be conferred at the June 2021 Convocation Ceremonies and four at the Fall 2021 Convocation Ceremonies. 

June 2021 Honorary degree recipients

Andreas Dracopoulos, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Andreas Dracopoulos is dedicated to the work of philanthropy in both his public and private life. He is Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which has made nearly 5,000 grants to non-profits in more than 130 countries over 25 years.

Dr. Dracopoulos's citation

Credit: Mark Seliger

Michael J. Fox, Doctor of Fine arts, Honoris Causa

An award-winning television and film actor, Michael J. Fox is a tireless advocate in the fight for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Through his foundation, he is helping lead the charge on research and therapeutic development toward a future without Parkinson’s.

Dr. Fox's citation

Victor Hayes, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa

Victor Hayes, a pioneer in the field of information technology and communication, played a critical role that led to the success of Wi-Fi. Its creation launched a multi-billion-dollar industry, fundamentally changing the way people work, study and live.

Dr. Hayes's citation

Herb (Jay) M. James, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

A charter student at SFU, Herb James has, through his foundation, spent more than half a century providing free hearing screening and treatment, including surgeries to deaf and hard of hearing children in developing countries.

Dr. James's citation

Wally Oppal, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Wally Oppal, a former judge and B.C. attorney general, has led five high-profile commissions on policing and is a groundbreaking leader in B.C.’s South Asian community. He has made significant contributions to law, community safety and justice for society’s most vulnerable.

Dr. Oppal's citation

Maria Ressa, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Maria Ressa is an award-winning journalist and the co-founder of Rappler, the top digital news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. She has endured political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government in her battle for truth and democracy.  

Dr. Ressa's citation

Malinda S. Smith, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Author, professor, researcher, Malinda S. Smith is a world-renowned political scientist, a tireless advocate of equitable, inclusive, decolonial and accountable approaches in higher education, and the inaugural Vice-Provost Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Smith's citation

Theresa Tam, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s first female Chief Public Health Officer, is a leading expert in immunization, infectious disease and emergency preparedness. She led the fight against the 2003 SARS outbreaks and the current opioid crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tam's citation

Siila (Sheila) Watt-Cloutier, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Siila (Sheila) Watt-Cloutier is a respected Inuit leader and one of the world’s most recognized environmental, climate change and human rights advocates. She has been instrumental in raising public awareness about climate change and its impact on the Arctic and its peoples.

Dr. Watt-Cloutier's citation

Fall 2021 Honorary degree recipients

John Blatherwick, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa

Dr. John Blatherwick is a trailblazing public health leader and widely recognized as one of Canada’s longest-serving medical health officers. His achievements include responding to the SARS epidemic and establishing the first non-smoking in the workplace by-law.

Catherine Clement, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Catherine Clement, an award-winning community history curator, exhibition designer and dedicated volunteer, has been fundamental in uncovering and sharing stories of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and Chinese Canadian history, shedding light on the lives of people from marginalized communities.

Margo Kane, Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa

Margo Kane is a renowned interdisciplinary artist and a major advocate for advancing Indigenous performing arts in Canada. She has dedicated her life to mentoring Indigenous artists and creating opportunities to showcase their work and culture.

Nurjehan Mawani, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

A lawyer, humanitarian, global Canadian and consensus-builder, Nurjehan Mawani is a champion of human rights, inclusion and gender equity. Her groundbreaking work in law and policy transformed refugee determination to recognize gender-related persecution in Canada and internationally.

For more information, contact Ceremonies and Events at invite@sfu.ca