Adjunct professor Vincent Di Lollo receives 2020 honorary degree

June 05, 2020

Adjunct professor Vincent Di Lollo has been named the recipient of the Spring 2020 honorary degree, which will be conferred at the Virtual Convocation Celebration on June 11, 2020. Di Lollo is an internationally recognized leader among cognitive systems researchers, whose research and publications on brain processes have improved humankind's understanding of perception and cognition.

From his early beginnings as a World War II refugee, Di Lollo rose to become one of Canada’s leading cognitive scientists. Born in Gorizia, Italy, he was transported to Australia along with his parents, two brothers and a shipload of other refugees from Eastern Europe.

Pictured: Vincent Di Lollo (on the right) with his family in 1945. Photo credit: Adrian Di Lollo

Di Lollo received a scholarship to attend the University of Western Australia where he earned a bachelor's degree with honours in psychology in 1959. After he received a PhD in 1962, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Universities of Michigan, Indiana and Princeton.

Di Lollo has been at the forefront of research in his field for decades. One example of this cutting edge research is his information-processing model. In a survey by the American Psychological Society, this work was listed among the contributions that triggered the most significant changes in psychological research in the twentieth century.

In 2015, the Psychology Department established a free public lecture series: the Di Lollo Distinguished Lectureship in Psychology, with Di Lollo as the inaugural speaker. Subsequent scholars in the series include Dr. Frans de Waal, Dr. Michael Lamb and Dr. Alice Eagly. 

Di Lollo has been connected to SFU as an integral part of the the Psychology Department, beginning as an adjunct professor in 2004. Although he has been in the department continuously ever since, he has never received a salary from SFU. He brought with him a substantial grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and, since 2011, has been granted over $1,000,000 in NSERC funding. His current NSERC grant will fund his research until 2024, when he will be 94 years old. 

Pictured: Di Lollo reunited with his brothers in 2006.