2014 Honorary Degree Recipients
Carolyn Acker began her career as a Registered Nurse at Saint Michael’s Hospital, and then became a Community Health Nurse with Saint Elizabeth Health Care. She later obtained a Bachelor of Administrative Studies from York University and a Master of Arts focused on Organization Development, from City University in Seattle, Washington. In 2008 she completed Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management at Harvard University, and in 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of New Brunswick. On July 1, 2012 she was awarded Membership in The Order of Canada.
Acker began her professional career in the nursing and health-care industry, working her way up the ranks of executive leadership through an unmatched combination of world-class education, practical experience and, above all, a desire to give back. In 1992 she became the Executive Director of the Regent Park Community Health Centre in Canada’s oldest and largest public housing community, serving people who were disadvantaged or homeless through a range of health and social services, and community development programs. In 2000, there were nine murders in the community and a palpable sense of despair. Research revealed a high-school drop-out rate of 56% and for the children of single parents and immigrants it was more than 70%.
Acker used the experience she gained from serving Toronto’s disadvantaged to drive her entrepreneurial spirit. As a result, Pathways to Education was born out of her passion for helping young people to break the cycle of poverty, continue their education and find success in socially valuable careers. Five years after founding Pathways to Education, the drop-out rate fell from 56% to 13% and post-secondary attendance increased from 20% to 83%.
In 2006, Carolyn became the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities across Canada graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education. The Pathways to Education program has grown since its founding in 2001, now serving more than 6,000 students and alumni in 13 communities across Canada and helping to successfully decrease high school drop-out rates by 70% and increase post secondary participation by 300%.
Today, Acker is bringing her expertise, passion and decades-long reputation for social improvement to other worthy causes as a management consultant.
Annemarie E. Bonkalo holds a BA (Honours) from Queen’s University, an MA in Criminology from University of Toronto, and an LLB from Queen’s University. Called to the bar in 1978, she was appointed the first female Assistant Crown Attorney in Peel Region in 1978. She and another female lawyer were appointed the first female judges of the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) in Peel Region in 1990. She was appointed a Regional Senior Judge in 2004 and Associate Chief Justice in 2005. She has lectured in the areas of criminal law, advocacy and court administration.
In 2007, Bonkalo was appointed Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice in 2007. The Ontario Court of Justice is one of Ontario’s two trial courts and deals primarily with criminal and family law cases as well as youth criminal justice matters. It is also the largest trial court in Canada and is currently composed of 284 judges and 345 justices of the peace, serving a population of more than 12 million in a province that has a surface area of over 1 million square kilometres.
Some of the Court’s key accomplishments during Chief Justice Bonkalo’s term include developing an internal discrimination and harassment policy, along with accompanying procedures and a panel of advisers; redesigning the education programming for newly appointed justices of the peace; creating simplified Criminal Rules that are brief, written in plain language and contain extensive commentary regarding their interpretation and application; creating a Joint Fly-in Court Working Group to identify ways to improve justice services in the far north and remote communities.
During her tenure the Court has also developed specialized courts that can provide augmented resources to vulnerable accused who are aboriginal or struggling with mental health or addiction issues; implemented the Integrated Domestic Violence Court to increase consistency between family and criminal court orders where the underlying issue is domestic violence; redesigned the Ontario Court website to make it more engaging, helpful and relevant to the public and also began posting criminal, family and provincial offences court data on the Ontario Courts website quarterly; developed electronic court orders that are prepared and provided to the accused person in court; and developed procedural guides for unrepresented litigants using our family, criminal and provincial offences courts.
There is an intelligence and sophistication to Holly Cole’s singing that sets her apart. She takes material everyone thinks they know and discovers new undercurrents, wrapping her honesty, compassion and sardonic wit around these creations. The results are smart, sexy, provocative, sometimes dangerous and never dull.
Born and raised in the Maritimes, Cole grew up surrounded by a musical family. She has charted a career that has included 11 studio recordings (selling well over a million units in Canada, the US, Germany and Japan), six of them gold or multiplatinum in Canada, a couple of anthologies, a gold album in Japan for 1991’s “Blame It On My Youth”, several television specials and some of the finest and most engaging vocal and arranging work in the world of contemporary pop.
Last summer during a sold out performance at the world renowned, Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, André Ménard, the Festival’s Artistic Director, presented Holly with their prestigious “Ella Fitzgerald Award.” This award says it all as it “celebrates the range, versatility and improvisational originality and repertoire of a jazz singer recognized on the international scene.” Holly is one of only two Canadians, (Diana Krall), to receive this celebrated honour, putting her in the company of other esteemed musicians including Tony Bennett, Sade, Aretha Franklin and Ella herself.
This commendation came 7 months after the release of “NIGHT”, Coles’ much lauded and first new studio recording since 2007’s self titled gem.
Live, Cole exudes as much fun as feeling; treating concert goers to a rare performance that is always musically rewarding and refreshingly intimate. As quoted in the New York Times “Ms. Cole invented her own niche as a chanteuse.”
William MacDonald (Mac) Evans holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University (1964) and a MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Birmingham in England which he attended as an Athlone Fellow. While at Queen’s he was Class President for three years, President of the Engineering Society and a recipient of the Tricolour Award. Throughout his career he has been supported by his wife Barbara (Queen’s BA 1964) and their two daughters Holly (Queen’s BSc 1992 and MD 1995) and Lindsay (Queen’s BScE 1997).
Mr. Evans worked 30 years in the Canadian Space Program. His accomplishments include: development of Space Plans that obtained more than $3 Billion of funding for the Canadian Space Program; negotiation of Canada’s participation in the International Space Station; selection of nine Canadian astronauts; and the proposal for the creation of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). When the CSA was established in 1989 he became Vice-President responsible for Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station, the RADARSAT Program which produced Canada’s first remote sensing satellite, and the Canadian Astronaut Program. In 1994 he was appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency, a position he held for seven years. During his tenure, Canada launched more payloads and had more astronaut flights than at any other time in its history.
After retiring from the CSA in 2001, Mr. Evans has provided consulting services to the Canadian Space Industry. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of UrtheCast Corporation, a Canadian company dedicated to the commercialization of space-based earth imagery. He is Vice-Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Board that provides scientific advice to the Department of National Defence.
Mr. Evans is a Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He has received CASI’s C.D. Howe Award for leadership in Canadian aeronautics and space; special recognition by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada for his exceptional contribution to the Public Service; NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for his extraordinary efforts in support of US/Canadian cooperation in space; the Prime Minister's Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to the Public Service of Canada; and the CSA’s Chapman Award of Excellence for lifetime achievement in space sciences and technology. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Satellite Professionals International.
A citizen of Kenya, Yash Ghai born in Nairobi in 1938. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard, and called to the English Bar by the Middle Temple. Most of his professional life he has been law teacher. He has taught at the University of East Africa, Uppsala University, Warwick University, and the University of Hong Kong (where he the first Sir Y K Pao Professor of Public Law). He has held various visiting appointments, including at Yale, Toronto University, the National University of Singapore, Wisconsin and Harvard.
His research interests include constitutionalism and human rights, ethnic conflicts, sociology of law, and federalism and autonomy. He has published extensively on public law; his books include Public Law and Political Change in Kenya (1970, with Patrick McAuslan), The Political Economy of Law: Third World Perspectives (1987, edited jointly with Robin Luckham and Francis Snyder), Law, Politics and Government in Pacific Island States (1988), Heads of States in the Pacific: A Legal and Constitutional Analysis (1990, with Jill Cottrell), The Law, Politics and Administration of Decentralisation in Papua New Guinea (1992, with Anthony Regan), Hong Kong’s New Constitutional Order: The Resumption of Chinese Sovereignty and the Basic Law (1997, 1999 2nd ed), Hong Kong’s Constitutional Debate: Conflict over Interpretation (2000, edited with Johannes Chan and Fu Hua Ling), Public Participation and Minorities (2001 and 2003, Minority Rights Group, London), and as editor and contributor, Ethnicity and Autonomy: Negotiating Competing Claims in Multi-Ethnic States (2001), The Millennium Declaration, Rights and Constitutions (2011, with Jill Cottrell). His most recent publications include The Constitution of Kenya: An Instrument for Change (2012), Ethnicity, Nationhood and Pluralism: Kenyan Perspectives (2013) (both with Jill Cottrell), Autonomy: Practising Self-Government (2013), Constitution and Rule of Law in China’s Hong Kong: The Contribution of the Court of Final Appeal (2014), and The Legal Profession and the New Constitutional Order in Kenya (2014).
He has advised various governments and political parties on constitutional matters and has participated in the making of constitutions in number of countries, including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cambodia, Fiji, Kenya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nepal, and the Maldives. He has been involved in peace making processes in Nepal, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He was the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for human rights in Cambodia 2005-2008. In 2011 he established a NGO in Kenya, Katiba Institute, to promote the implementation of its new constitution.
Shaf Keshavjee is a Thoracic surgeon and Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program. He is Surgeon-in-Chief, James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery at University Health Network in Toronto, and Professor Division of Thoracic Surgery and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Keshavjee completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 1985. He subsequently trained in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto followed by fellowship training at Harvard University and the University of London for airway surgery and heart-lung transplantation respectively. He joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in 2002. Dr. Keshavjee served as the Chair of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto from 2004 to 2010. He was also the inaugural holder of the Pearson-Ginsberg Chair in Thoracic Surgery.
Dr. Keshavjee’s clinical practice is in thoracic oncology, lung cancer and lung transplantation. He has a passion for surgery and innovative research. He is a scientist in the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine at UHN. He leads a team of researchers in a leading research program and is widely published in the field. His specific research interest is in lung injury related to transplantation. His current work involves the study of molecular diagnostics and gene therapy strategies to repair organs and to engineer superior organs for transplantation.
Dr. Bernard Langer obtained his medical degree from the University of Toronto and completed his surgical training at the University of Toronto, M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, and at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1961, and joined the staff of the Toronto General Hospital in 1963. He was Chair of the Division of General Surgery, University of Toronto, from 1982 to 1989 and was the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1982 to 1992.
His clinical and research interests have focused mainly on diseases of the liver, biliary tract and pancreas. He developed an internationally respected Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Unit and Liver Transplantation Program at the University of Toronto. He has authored or co-authored 174 papers and 29 book chapters, been visiting professor at university centres around the world on 67 occasions and has been on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.
He was a member and Executive Committee member of the Medical Research Council of Canada. He was a member of the Board of Governors and a Regent of the American College of Surgeons. He is a Past President of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons, the Canadian Association of Clinical Surgeons and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. He was Council member, Vice President and President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
He has had a long-standing interest in research training and the preparation of surgeons for academic careers. The very successful Surgeon-Scientist Training Program at the University of Toronto, which he initiated during his chairmanship, has become a model for Clinical-Investigator training in Canada and elsewhere. He has received numerous honours nationally and internationally, and in 2002 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2004, the University of Toronto established an endowed chair, the Bernard and Ryna Langer Chair in General Surgery to support research and education in the Division of General Surgery.
From 2003 to 2007 Dr. Langer worked as a senior consultant in the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario, developing and implementing a provincial cancer surgery quality improvement program.
He is still married to Ryna, his wonderful partner for sixty years. They have four terrific children, ten amazing grandchildren and two unbelievable great-grandchildren.
Ronald Lee is a Romani Canadian, born in Montreal where he spent most of his adult life. He moved to Toronto in 1997. He is a journalist and published author and from 2003 to 2008, he taught a spring seminar, the Romani Diaspora in Canada, at New College, University of Toronto (New 343 H1S), as part of the Equity Studies Program, Department. of Humanities. He is a founding member, former executive director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roma Community Center, in Toronto, registered in 1998, which assists Romani newcomers to Canada with their social integration, It also serves as a cultural center which organizes ethnic Romani events for the local Romani community and to acquaint other Canadians with Romani culture, music, history and their situation in the refugee-producing countries in Europe. Its aim is also to assist with the social, self-empowerment of Romanies in Canada. This is a non-governmental, Romani organization whose members are mostly Roma. He is currently vice-chairman of RCC Toronto.
He has three published works to date, Goddam Gypsy, a semi-autobiographical novel about Romani life in Montreal and Canada in the 1960s, first published by Tundra Books of Montreal in 1971, and also published in Spanish, German, Czech and Japanese translations and now, republished under its original title, The Living Fire, by Magoria Books (Toronto), Learn Romani, an 18-lesson self-study course of Kalderash Romani, published in 2005 by University of Hertfordshire Press and Rromano-Alavari: Romani-English Dictionary, published January 2010 in two parts by Magoria Books. His current manuscript, The Gypsy Invasion: Romani Refugees in Canada 1997-2006, is currently being updated for publication. This is based on his experience in Toronto, working with Romani refugees, immigration lawyers and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) since the Czech-Romani refugees arrived in Canada in 1997 and with later refugee groups from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and elsewhere in central/eastern Europe.
He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about Roma in Canada and more recently, about the Romani refugee situation in Canada, as well as scholarly articles in academic publications such as Chapter 9, of Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions and Culture, 2001, which was originally published as an article in The American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 103 (November 1993), pp.323-399 entitled “The Rom-Vlach Gypsies and the Kris-Romani.”
He has also lectured extensively for colleges and universities, both in Canada and in the US and also, in the Toronto area, for public and private elementary and high schools. As a folk musician, he also performs locally with other Romani musicians at Romani cultural events. In September 2012, he was awarded the Saip Jusuf Award for Literature and Language for his work as an author, journalist and linguist.
J. Robert S. Prichard has been a leader in higher education, law, public service and business.
In higher education, Rob served as a law professor for 25 years, teaching at the University of Toronto, Harvard and Yale and specializing in law and economics. He served as Dean of Law (1984 to 1990) and President (1990 to 2000) at the University of Toronto where he remains President Emeritus. He has also served as Chair of the Council of Canadian Law Deans, Chairman of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), on the Executive Committee of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the American Association of Universities (AAU), and the Board of the International Association of Universities (IAU).
He received the David Smith Award for contributions to public policy in higher education and the Champion of Public Education award from The Learning Partnership. Rob now serves as Chairman of Torys LLP.
In public service, Rob serves as Chairman of Metrolinx, the regional transit agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, where he was previously the President and Chief Executive Officer. He also serves as a trustee of the Hospital for Sick Children and a member of Canada’s Economic Advisory Council and Ontario’s Economic Advisory Panel. He has previously served as Vice-Chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, a member of the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and a member of the Task Force on the Future of the Greater Toronto Area (Golden Report).
In business, Rob served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Torstar Corporation from 2002 to 2009. He is also Chairman of the Bank of Montreal and a director of George Weston Limited and Onex Corporation.
Rob is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Rob is married to Ann Wilson, a lawyer and artist, and they have three children, Will, Kenny and Jay.
Regina Rosen was born in Bronx, New York in 1939, and came to Canada – and Kingston – as a new bride. Her husband, the late Irving Rosen, was President and owner of Kimco Steel. In 1972, Regina was proud to become a Canadian citizen.
A community activist inspired by a desire to affect positive change Regina Rosen’s activities include extensive fundraising and volunteer involvement in a broad spectrum of community based, national, and international organizations. Inspired by her faith and her family, she seeks out where she can be of most help in order to live life in a meaningful way.
Having achieved an early Education Teacher's degree and a BA in Drama and Religion from Queen's, she has remained a lifelong student, pursuing post-graduate education in any discipline that strikes her fancy. Her involvement at Queen's also extends to volunteering. Having successfully initiated a proposal for a Jewish Studies Program, she and her late husband successfully raised the necessary funds to launch the program. They have endowed the Irving and Regina Rosen Public Lecture Series which brings to Kingston speakers who reflect Jewish thought, identity, and culture in Canada and the world. In March 2010 she received the Queen’s University Padre Laverty award for: “volunteering energy, enthusiasm, and financial support to Queen’s, the arts, and the greater Kingston community.”
A love for the arts manifests itself in a variety of ways, including creator and performer of a portable marionette theatre for developmentally handicapped and disadvantaged children; co-founder, Vice-President Garrison Theatre, a professional theatre company; and board member of numerous arts related groups including the Grand Theatre, where the main auditorium is named for her.
The Community Foundation for Kingston and Area has been a prime focus of Regina’s since its inception almost 20 years ago. As Vice-President, President, member and honorary life member of the Board of Directors; and Editor of Ripples: CFKA’s semi-annual Report to the Community, she is proud to have had a role in framing CFKA’s vision. As chair of “Under the Big Top,” the event raised the most money of any single charitable project in Kingston. Some funds from it launched her current focal point: “The Regina Rosen Food First Fund.” She is responsible for its fund-raising as well as chair of the committee that oversees fund distribution to enhance Kingston’s food security network.
Her goal is to help people in ways that best use her capabilities, communicating contemporary ideas and information to a broad spectrum of people. Her hope is to benefit the wider community by creating an understanding of a whole community’s value to society.
Of her many accomplishments, Regina is especially proud of her family, including sons Gregg and Charles, daughter Andrea, their spouses, and her six grandchildren.
Cuban singer/songwriter Carlos Varela is one of Cuba’s most talented and emblematic artists of his generation. Born in Havana on April 11, 1963, he began his music career playing the drums in his school’s rock band where he wrote his first songs. He soon joined the Nueva Trova movement of Cuban singer songwriters and began performing in theaters and small venues in Havana and other cities throughout Cuba.
In 1983, Carlos entered the Theater class at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) de Cuba (SIA, Superior Institute of Arts), where he graduated as an actor five years later. In 1986, he was invited by Silvio Rodriguez, Cuba’s famed singer and songwriter, on a tour through Spain. The same year, he shared the stage with renowned Argentinean musicians Mercedes Sosa and Leon Gieco at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana. Carlos then formed his own band together with musicians from the ISA and the National School of Art. Their music was an innovative fusion of pop, folk and rock music.
Through his original style of music, Carlos emerged as a founder and leader of a new space in the Cuban cultural panorama: the Novisima Trova movement. In 1989, he gave a legendary concert at the renowned Sala Chaplin (Chaplin Hall), debuting songs from his first album, Jalisco Park. Soon after, he became the first artist of his generation to sell out the 5000 seats of the Karl Marx Theater for three consecutive nights. His music continued to gain international popularity, and Carlos gave concerts throughout Latin America and Europe. The continuing success of Carlos’s music, both: internationally and in Cuba, confirmed his place as a musical symbol of his generation, with an extensive, dedicated fan base that religiously attended each of his concerts.
Varela’s subsequent albums earned increasing national and international acclaim. The recording of Guillermo Tell from the album “Carlos Varela en Vivo” (1991), was selected to be included on the album “Clásicos de la Música Cubana” (Classics of Cuban Music). Varela received the most prestigious award in Cuban discography, the Cubadisco Award, for his album “Monedas al Aire” in 1992, and was honored with the National Culture Medal the same year. His music video Robinson, based on the same album, was aired throughout the region by the Latin Division of MTV.
Varela was granted the prestigious Ondas Award for Best Latin Artist Revelation in Barcelona in 1998 for his album “Como Los Peces”. Later that year, Miguel Bose’s recording of Varela’s song Muros topped the charts throughout Europe and Latin America. The song “Una Palabra”, from the acoustic album “Nubes”(2000), was featured in the short film “Powder Keg” and later achieved international recognition as it was featured in Tony Scott’s Hollywood blockbuster “Man On Fire”. The song has since appeared on various television shows and been remixed by DJs in the US and throughout Europe.
This same year Carlos and his band played several concerts in Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and the United States. The two concerts with a group of other popular Cuban musicians at the Opera House of the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of RED HOT+ Cuba on December 1st, was most definitely a cultural landmark.
To celebrate his career’s 30th anniversary, Carlos invited a group of renowned artists and friends to join him in two legendary concerts in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba on January (10 and 12) 2013. Jackson Browne, Ivan Lins, Luis Enrique, Eduardo Cabra (Calle 13), Juan Formell, Equis Alfonso, Alexander Abreu, Diana Fuentes, among others sang Carlos’ greatest hits backed by his band and a twelve piece strings orchestra.
These concerts were filmed and recorded to be part of a documentary, concert DVD and Live CD that will be released by the end of this year.
A book: Habáname: la ciudad musical de Carlos Varela (Habaname: The musical city of Carlos Varela), published by La Memoria Publishers, of the Pablo de la Torriente Brau Center, was presented at the XXIII International Book Fair in Havana on February 3rd, 2014.
The volume, with a foreword by Jackson Browne, includes eight fascinating essays written by Cuban, Canadian, British and U.S. researchers and musicologists. It also contains photographs of the singer and the lyrics to all the songs of his official discography, which adds value to this compilation and will make it transcend as de rigueur research material when analyzing Cuban music and songwriting. The book has also been translated into English and will be published this summer by the prestigious Toronto University Press in Canada.
Carlos Varela’s artistic career is constantly evolving and growing. His national and international concerts, extensive discography, and his dedicated fan base within and outside of Cuba reaffirm Carlos Varela as a genuine and revered heir of the Cuban Nueva Trova movement and a revered representative of Cuban music.