University Registrar


University Registrar

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Convocation / Graduation




2018 Honorary Degree Recipients

John Russell Baird, LLD

John Baird is a Senior Advisor to various enterprises and a former Senior Cabinet Minister in the Government of Canada.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with ASEAN countries.  In addition, Mr. Baird has worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.

A native of Ottawa, Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by MPs from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Baird spent ten years in the Ontario Legislature where he served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Energy, and Government House Leader.

Currently, Mr. Baird serves as a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP, a premier Canadian law firm. In addition, Mr. Baird sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp., the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific, Canadian Forest Products (Canfor), the FWD Group and PineBridge Investments. He also serves as a Global Strategic Advisor to Hatch Ltd, a Canadian global multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy, and is a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

Mr. Baird also volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, an organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, the Prince's Charities, the charitable office of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University at Kingston.



Isabel Bassett, LLD

Now retired, Isabel Bassett is known as a facilitator, using her know-how and connections, as she continues to work for gender parity, to speak out for more diversity on boards as well as in senior management, and to get young people more involved in politics.

Professionally, Isabel Bassett was former Chair and CEO of TVO, MPP and Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation for the Ontario Government, and host and producer of award-winning documentaries on CFTO TV which focused on social issues such as sexual abuse, mental health, and teen gangs.

She is now adding her voice in support of the McMichael Gallery to awaken the public to Canada's little- known treasure house of Canadian Art.


Douglas Cardinal, LLD

Born in 1934 in Calgary, Alberta, his architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found a life experience in human rights initiatives. 

Douglas Cardinal’s architecture springs from his observation of Nature and its understanding that everything works seamlessly together. His work has defined contemporary Canadian, Indigenous, and organic architecture. Throughout his career he has been forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings and ecologically designed community planning.

In recognition of such work, Douglas Cardinal has received many national and international awards including: 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of being “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.

Douglas Cardinal is one of the visionaries of a new world; a world where beauty, balance and harmony thrive, where client, architect, and stakeholder build together with a common vision.  


Phil Gold, DSc

Dr. Phil Gold is the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Physiology and Oncology, at McGill University. He has served as the Inaugural Director of the McGill (now Goodman) Cancer Centre, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill and Physician-in-Chief at the Montreal General Hospital. He is presently the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at The Montreal General Hospital.

Dr. Gold’s early research led to the discovery and definition of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), and the subsequent CEA blood test. This was the first blood test for cancer sanctioned by the FDA, and then internationally, and is still the most frequently used test in the diagnosis and management of patients with cancer. For this work, other studies, and his outstanding contributions as a medical educator, he has gained national and international recognition. He has been elected to numerous prestigious organizations and has been the recipient of such outstanding awards as the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Heath Medal of the MD Anderson Hospital (1980), the Inaugural Ernest C. Manning Foundation Award (1982), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the ISOBM Abbott Award in Japan, the Award of the Academy of International Dental Studies (1984), and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002) and DSc degrees (honoris causa) from a number of universities.

He has been elected to Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and Mastership in the American College of Physicians. His outstanding contributions to teaching have been recognized by an award as a Teacher of Distinction from the Faculty of Medicine. He has been honored by his country, his province, his city, and his university by appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of l’Ordre National du Québec, a member of the Academy of Great Montrealers (now a Member of the Order of Montreal); and a recipient of the Gold Medal of the McGill University Graduate Society, respectively. He has lectured internationally, received honorary degrees, and been the Sir Arthur Sims Traveling Professor to the British Commonwealth.

In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University, and the first incumbent was selected in 2009.  He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010.  He received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University, October 2011 and the inaugural McGill University Faculty of Medicine Global Achievement Award. In 2012, Dr. Gold was inducted as an Honorary Member on the International Golden Key Society; he received the Gerald Bronfman Center Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Oncology, McGill University, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Wilder-Penfield, Prix du Québec.

In 2015, Dr. Gold received Awards of Honors on the 50th Anniversary of the first publication on Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) from the International Society of Oncology and Biomarkers, Zakopane, Poland; the 25th Annual International CEA Symposium, Washington, DC; and the McGill Symposium on CEA.

In 2017, Dr. Gold received the Einstein Legacy Award - "Celebrating a Century of Genius" and given to 100 visionaries internationally, and from all disciplines, on the occasion of the centennial celebration of Einstein’s publication of the General Theory of Relativity. He was also honoured with the inauguration of the 'Phil Gold Distinguished Lectureship' at the Goodman Cancer Centre, McGill University.

Dr. Gold has been involved in Jewish community functions, at home and abroad, over many years. An Early Career Chair was established in his name at The Weizmann Institute, and he has been honoured at Boys Town, Jerusalem. 

His major activities in Montreal have been with the Education Committees and Boards of various Jewish Day Schools. He has often been called upon to speak Jewish community organizations, on a variety of topics.

Dr. Gold has been married to the former Evelyn Katz since 1960. They have three children, Ian (b. 1962), Josie (b. 1965) and Joel (b.1968). They also have six grandsons, Zachary, Michael, Benji, and Matthew Ziegler; and Alexander Samuel, and Adam Gold, and, finally, one granddaughter Amalia Matilda Gold, all of whom are the conjoint apples of their eyes.


Sylvia Maracle, LLD

Sylvia Maracle (Skonaganleh:ra) is Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and is a member of the Wolf Clan.

Sylvia is the Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, and has been involved in the Friendship Centre movement for more than 45 years. She studied journalism at Ryerson University and holds Honorary Doctorates in Management and Economics from the University of Guelph, Education from York University and Indigenous Studies from Trent University.

Sylvia lectures nationally and internationally on women's issues, urban development, and the cultural revitalization of Indigenous people.  She is a published author.

A passionate advocate, she is known for her leadership in the area of ending violence against Indigenous women. She is the Indigenous Chair of the Executive Committee to End Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls and a member of the North American Liaison process to address needs, solutions and prevention to support Native American Indigenous Women and Girls.

Ms. Maracle continues to work in traditional knowledge transfer, education, justice and cultural management.  She has been on numerous boards and agencies over her career to date including Indigenous Headstart, Indigenous Justice, employee development, and economic development.

Sylvia Maracle has served as Chair of the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, providing a broad base of housing and delivery processes to the rural and urban Indigenous people over the last 20 years.

Sylvia was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017, in recognition of her significant contributions to improving the lives of Indigenous people. She is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an Indspire Achievement Award in Public Service.


Reeta Roy, LLD

Reeta Roy is the President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. Today, with US $24 billion in assets, the Mastercard Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the world. Its vision is a world where all people have the opportunity to learn and prosper. Under Reeta's leadership, the Foundation has focused its work in Africa and committed more than US$2.1 billion to advance education and financial inclusion across the continent. Its programs have improved the lives of more than 27 million people and their families. 

Reeta is regularly called upon by the United Nations, the World Bank, USAID, and international agencies to represent the philanthropic sector and contribute to global development strategies.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Reeta was the Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy at Abbott and was Vice President of the Abbott Fund, its corporate foundation. She led Abbott’s public-private initiatives related to HIV/AIDS in Africa and a range of global health programs. Before Abbott, Reeta held a number of leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, working on global health policy issues. Prior to joining the private sector, she worked at the United Nations.

Reeta received a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Andrews Presbyterian College.

She holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from EARTH University, McGill University and the University of Toronto. She has received several awards, including The Resolution Project’s Champions Circle Award for Supporting Young Leaders, the C3 Women Empowerment Achievement Award, The Class of 1947 Memorial Award from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the Women of Distinction Award from YWCA Toronto. During Reeta’s tenure, the Foundation also has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Friend of Education Award, the Global Education Award of the World Affairs Council, the Women’s Leadership Award from Opportunity International, and the Global Foundation for Peace Award from International House at Berkeley.


Indira Samarasekera, DSc

Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera served as the 12th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta, from 2005-2015, one of Canada’s most respected research-intensive universities. She also served as Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia from 2000-2005. She is currently a Senior Advisor for Bennett Jones LLP and serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International and TransCanada. She serves on the boards of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, the Rideau Hall Foundation, and the selection panel for Canada’s outstanding CEO of the Year sponsored by Caldwell Partners and Bennett Jones. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as a Federal Member to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, until 2017.

Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her groundbreaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. She held the Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing at the University of British Columbia. She has consulted for over a hundred steel companies worldwide solving problems and offering short courses on the continuous casting of steel. Dr. Samarasekera has also devoted her career to advancing innovation in higher education and the private sector, providing national and international leadership through invited lectures and participation on national and international boards and councils. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 for outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. In 2014 she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US, the professions highest honour.

Dr. Samarasekera was Chair of the World-wide Universities Network, consisting of nineteen universities from around the world and has served on several boards and committees including the Prime-Minister’s Advisory Committee for Renewal of the Public Service, a Presidential Visiting Committee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Conference Board of Canada, Canada’s Science, Technology, Innovation Council, the Minister’s advisory committee on Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy and the Public Policy Forum.

Dr. Samarasekera received the E.W. R. Steacie Memorial fellowship in 1991, awarded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to the top 4 researchers under 40. Dr. Samarasekera is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIMM) and an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Mining, Materials and Petroleum Engineering. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and Western in Canada, and Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. She received the Peter Lougheed Leadership Award from the Public Policy Forum in Canada in 2012.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976. In 1980, she was granted a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia.


Hugh David Segal, LLD

The fifth elected Principal of Massey College, Mr. Segal has spent his career in public service roles, as Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs) in Ontario and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.  In Ontario, he was involved in the negotiations to patriate the Canadian constitution and create the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  He chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism between 2005 and 2014.  He also served as Canada's Special Envoy to the Commonwealth and a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on reform and modernization, human rights and rule of law.

A former President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Queen's School of Policy Studies and the Smith School of Business at Queen's University, Hugh holds honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa.

He is Co-Chair of the Democracy-10 Strategy Group based at the Atlantic Council in Washington, Chair of the NATO Association of Canada, and is now the Honorary Captain of the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto.  He has written books on public policy, politics, and international affairs, of which the most recent, "Two Freedoms: Canada's Global Future" was published last year by Dundurn Press.

He is a strategic advisor at the law firm of Aird and Berlis, LLP, and has been a director of public and private companies in the alcohol, food, construction, financial and energy sectors. He is married to Donna Armstrong Segal, Queen’s University Nursing Science ‘73.



Valerie Tarasuk, DSc

Valerie Tarasuk is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Val grew up in a military family, moving every 2-3 years throughout her childhood and frequently passing through CFB Trenton on the way to and from postings in Germany. She holds a BA from Mount Allison University, a BEd from Ottawa University, a BASc from the University of Guelph, and MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Toronto. She has been on faculty at the University of Toronto since 1994.

Val’s research extends to Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but much of her career has focused on income-related problems of food access in Canada. Her initial studies of food banks and food bank users explored what lay behind the public face of ‘hunger’ in Canada, revealing shocking levels of chronic deprivation and laying bare the limitations of community responses. She played a pivotal role in the implementation of food insecurity monitoring in Canada and has helped spearhead efforts to use monitoring data to inform programming and policy decisions. Val’s research has elucidated the scope and nature of food insecurity in Canada, charted the public policy underpinnings of this problem, and established that food insecurity has a direct impact on health and health care costs in Canada, independent of other social determinants of health. 

Since 2011, Val has led PROOF, an interdisciplinary research program launched with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and designed to identify effective policy approaches to reduce household food insecurity in Canada. Working with stakeholders in civil society and public health nutrition, Val and her colleagues have worked to raise awareness of the problem of food insecurity in Canada and shift the discourse from a focus on food charity to the recognition of food insecurity as measure of profound material deprivation and a potent social determinant of health, responsive to policies affecting household finances.

In 2017, Val was honored by the Canadian Nutrition Society with the Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition.