Awards and recognition

Health, culture, creative and human rights leaders awarded SFU honorary degrees

September 28, 2021

Over four decades, visionary activist and storyteller Margo Kane has advanced Indigenous performing arts in Canada.

“Margo Kane’s devotion to honouring Indigenous performance is both empowering and engaging,” reads her commendation on her investiture into the Order of Canada in 2018.

She will be among the four outstanding individuals who will receive an honorary degree during SFU’s Fall 2021 Convocation.

Margo Kane

Kane has dedicated her life to training and mentoring Indigenous artists and by creating showcases, like the annual Talking Stick Festival, where emerging and professional artists can thrive and share their work and culture.

In 1992, she created Full Circle: First Nations Performance Company to reach historically underserved rural communities. It also illuminated the extent of Indigenous omission in Canada’s arts landscape.

SFU confers degrees on distinguished individuals to recognize their scholarly, scientific or artistic achievement, or their exceptional contributions to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity.

In addition to Kane, Fall’s convocation will see honorary degrees conferred on:

Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick is a trailblazing public health leader and widely recognized as one of Canada’s longest-serving medical health officers;

Catherine Clement

Catherine Clement 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;

Nurjehan Mawani

Nurjehan Mawani is a champion of human rights, inclusion and gender equity, whose groundbreaking work in law and policy led to awareness of gender-related persecution in Canada and around the world.

SFU will also recognize several past honorary degree recipients who were not able to attend convocation ceremonies due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They include:

John Borrows

John Borrows is a leading authority on Indigenous, constitutional and environmental law who helped establish the world’s first Indigenous law degree;

Herb M. James

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

Wally Oppal

Former judge and B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal for his significant contributions to law, community safety and justice for society’s most vulnerable.

SFU’s Fall 2021 Convocation will be held Oct. 5-8. It will be the university’s first in-person convocation since 2019. The ceremonies will be webcast on SFU’s YouTube channel for those wanting to join in from home and around the world. For more information about SFU’s Fall 2021 Convocation, visit Read more about our exceptional graduands here.

Be sure to share your convocation experience on social media by using the #MySFUGrad hashtag.