Awards and recognition

SFU announces 2020 Honorary Degree recipients

April 02, 2020

A Nobel Prize laureate, a champion fighting child exploitation and an icon of Canadian music are among the 10 distinguished individuals who will receive honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University in 2020.

SFU will confer honorary degrees on:

Beth Allen, a.k.a. Bif Naked, is a gold and platinum-selling rock star, author, songwriter, human and animal rights advocate. She has released 11 albums, founded her own record label and is one of Canada’s most recognized and well-loved artists.

John Borrows is a leading authority on Indigenous, constitutional and environmental law who helped establish the world’s first Indigenous law degree and whose scholarship is having a transformative impact on reconciliation efforts in Canada and around the world.

Randy Boyagoda, principal and vice-president of the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, is an award-winning Canadian writer, critic and academic who has made substantial contributions to literature, cultural commentary and social critique.

Sara Diamond, SFU alumnus and president of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, is a digital media visionary who has made substantial contributions to art, education and technology policy in Canada.

An internationally recognized leader among cognitive systems researchers, SFU adjunct professor Vincent Di Lollo‘s research and publications on brain processes have improved humankind’s understanding of perception and cognition.

Internationally celebrated economist, Mariana Mazzucato is professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London. Named one of the three most important thinkers about innovation, she advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

Sophie Pierre, a long-time champion of Indigenous education and economic development, is the former chief commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission and is an accomplished and recognized Indigenous leader in Canada.

Nobel laureate, professor and molecular biologist George P. Smith is renowned for his invention of ‘phage display’ which led to the creation of new drugs to combat diseases like cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

Diane Sowden is a tireless champion in the struggle against the sexual exploitation of children. Founder of the Children of the Street Society, she has raised awareness and lobbied to change laws in Canada and the Child Protection Act in B.C. to ensure children are safer.

Mina Shum is an award-winning independent Canadian screenwriter, director and producer. Her films have gained international attention, exploring themes of intercultural relationships, gender-roles and identity.