SFU honorary degrees acknowledge two inspiring individuals

October 03, 2018

During the fall convocation ceremonies Oct. 4-5 SFU will grant degrees to just over 2,000 students. As well, the university will grant honorary degrees to two distinguished individuals whose inspiring accomplishments are making a difference in the world. 

Jane Goodall

Doctor of Science, honoris causa

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2:30 p.m.


Jane Goodall is a celebrated primatologist, ethologist, environmentalist and animal rights activist who is best known for her lifelong, pioneering study of chimpanzee behaviour in Africa. Her discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools revolutionized primatology and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. She founded the non-profit Jane Goodall Institute to build on her ground-breaking, community-centred approach to conservation and development programs in Africa. She also founded the worldwide Roots and Shoots youth program, which encourages youth to promote conservation and humanitarian issues. Passionate about saving chimpanzees from extinction, she has authored 26 books and travels 300 days a year to promote animal and environmental protection and conservation. Among her many awards and honours she has been named a UN Messenger of Peace, a Dame Commander of the British Empire, and holds the French Legion of Honour.


Alison Gopnik

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Friday, Oct. 5, 2:30 p.m.


Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. An internationally recognized leader in the study of cognitive science, her research exploring children’s learning and development has revealed surprising discoveries about children’s sophisticated learning abilities. She has authored more than 100 journal articles and several best-selling and critically acclaimed popular books, such as The Scientist in the Crib and The Gardener and the Carpenter. She has held numerous distinguished fellowships, including one with the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, and is an elected member of several societies, including the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her engaging 2011 TED talk, “What Do Babies Think?” has been viewed more than three million times.