• SFU News
  • News
  • SFU announces 2022 Honorary Degree recipients

Awards and recognition

Contributions to art, science and community celebrated as SFU announces 2022 honorary degrees

March 16, 2022

SFU's 2022 honorary degree recipients exemplify how knowledge, skill and service to the community can help make the world a better place for us all.

A pair of world-renowned nature photographers and three Canadian authors who have contributed to our collective understanding of trans rights, racism and the trauma faced by residential school survivors are among the 11 distinguished individuals who will receive Honorary Degrees from Simon Fraser University.

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.

The Honorary Degrees will be conferred at the June and October convocation ceremonies.

June Honorary Degree recipients:

Dr. Penny Ballem is a recognized leader in health care and government and is a distinguished academic clinician. The former B.C. deputy minister of health has contributed significantly to reproductive and women’s health and is leading the delivery of more than 11 million COVID-19 vaccinations.

World-renowned conservation photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen are the duo behind SeaLegacy, a storytelling studio that uses stunning, visual storytelling to move people from apathy to action to help heal our ocean and save our planet. 

Humanitarian Dr. James Chi Ming Pau, an SFU alumnus, has spent 47 years providing compassionate health services, improving the quality of life for seniors and people with addictions in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and helping build an inclusive society.

SFU president emeritus Andrew Petter’s lifetime of service to the province and visionary leadership in academia, law and politics have had a transformative impact on post-secondary education, public policy and community betterment in B.C. and beyond.

Robert Turner is a heritage consultant and an internationally recognized authority on B.C. and Northwestern transportation history. A fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, he is author or coauthor of 19 books on railway and maritime history.

Photo: Yukiko Onley

Alan Twigg is B.C.’s leading man of letters and has made a multitude of important contributions to literature in the province, writing 20 books and founding and publishing B.C. BookWorld newspaper for more than three decades.

October Honorary Degree recipients:

Afua Cooper is a lauded multidisciplinary scholar, author and artist. A leader in African-Canadian Studies, she is renowned for her examination of slavery, Black education, women studies and the African Diaspora; bringing international attention to issues of racism, inclusion and Black culture and advancing social justice and cultural awareness.

Photo: Roger Mahler

SFU chancellor emeritus Anne Giardini is a celebrated business leader, lawyer and writer. The SFU alumnus is acclaimed for her groundbreaking leadership in the Canadian resource industry, contributions to numerous corporate boards and for championing the advancement of women, higher education and the arts.

Michelle Good is a Cree author, lawyer and advocate who shares the trauma and hardships faced by residential school survivors so that this history is not forgotten and the ongoing impact can no longer be ignored. Her work is vital to the path of reconciliation and decolonization.

Rupert Raj is a trailblazing trans activist, counsellor and author who has helped thousands of trans, intersex and Two-Spirit people in Canada and the U.S. through peer-support groups he co-founded, and his work as a political activist, gender consultant and psychotherapist.

To read more, click here.