Seven Alumni & Professors Emeriti Appointed to Order of Canada

Brian Osborne, Duncan Sinclair, Peter Harrison
Professors emeriti Brian Osborne, Duncan Sinclair, PhD’63, LLD’00, and Peter Harrison.

Seven Queen’s alumni and professors emeriti are among the latest appointees to the Order of Canada.

Governor General Julie Payette recently announced 120 appointments to the Order of Canada, including professors emeriti Duncan Sinclair, PhD’63, LLD’00 (Physiology, School of Policy Studies), Peter Harrison (School of Policy Studies), and Brian Osborne (Geography and Planning).

“The Order of Canada is one of our nation’s highest honours, recognizing outstanding achievement and dedication to the community and to Canada,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Osborne have made significant contributions not just to Queen’s but to the broader community throughout their distinguished careers. I congratulate them both on this well-deserved recognition.”

Dr. Sinclair is being recognized for his “contributions to the Canadian health care system as a teacher, university administrator and advisor, and for his leadership in health care reform in Ontario.” With the appointment he joins his son, The Tragically Hip’s Gord Sinclair, Artsci’86, LLD’16, in the Order of Canada.

“I am, of course, very pleased and deeply honoured to be appointed to the Order of Canada,” Dr. Sinclair says. “It is humbling to be considered worthy of inclusion among such a group of distinguished and accomplished people, many of them friends and acquaintances of long-standing, and one being my son.”

At Queen’s, Dr. Sinclair has held a number of administrative positions, including Dean of Medicine and Vice-Principal (Health Sciences) — the first non-medical doctor to serve in these positions in Canada — as well as Vice-Principal (Institutional Relations), Vice-Principal (Services), and Dean of Arts and Science.

Away from the university, he headed the governance subcommittee of the Steering Committee for Review of the Public Hospitals Act in Ontario and was a member of the National Forum on Health. He was the founding chair and acting CEO of Canada Health Infoway/Inforoute Santé du Canada — an organization designed to foster the development of Canada’s health information management. In 2015, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Dr. Osborne is being recognized for his “contributions to historical geography and for his distinguished research on Kingston’s geographic heritage.”

“When I received the call from the office of the Governor General a month ago, I was positively shocked and overwhelmed by my inclusion in this prestigious array of award winners,” he says.

It was exciting news, but he wasn’t able to share it until the official announcement. That provided time for reflection of his decades as a professor in the classrooms of Queen’s, as well as communicating his research in historical geography and interactions with the local community.

“Then, on Dec. 28, the whole world was informed of the appointment of new members to the Order of Canada and I gained a new perspective. Firstly, I feel gratitude to the Governor General for awarding me the honour. Secondly, I am thankful for the motivation to reflect on its meaning to me personally.”

Dr. Osborne’s research areas include Indigenous history, settlement history, cultural landscapes, and the role of the culture of communications in the development of a Canadian sense of place. He has published extensively on the Kingston area, including Kingston: Building on the Past (1988), co-written with Donald Swainson, and was subsequently reworked into Kingston: Building on the Past for the Future (2011). Other recent volumes are The Rock and the Sword: A History of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kingston (2004), and Landscapes and Inscapes: Drawn to History with Brush of Serendipity, with Shirley Gibson Langille.

Dr. Osborne has served as a consultant for the National Capital Commission, Heritage Canada, Parks Canada, Canada Post, and the National Film Board. He is the past president of the Ontario Historical Society and the Kingston Historical Society, and has served on the boards of several heritage organizations.

Dr. Harrison is being recognized for his “dedication to Canada’s stewardship of the Arctic Ocean and to the enhancement of its role in Arctic and northern issues.”

“Being named a Member of the Order of Canada is an extraordinary privilege and honour. It is totally unexpected, and came as a complete surprise,” he says. “I am particularly thrilled with the citation which notes my dedication to Canada's stewardship of the Arctic Ocean and to the enhancement of its role in Arctic and northern issues. This has always been a passion of mine, and it is enormously satisfying that my efforts in this regard have been recognized in such an extraordinary way.”

Dr. Harrison arrived at Queen’s as the federal Skelton-Clark Fellow in 2008 and also served as Stauffer-Dunning Chair and director of the School of Policy Studies (2009-2013).

During his nearly-30 year career in the Public Service of Canada, he was appointed to assistant/associate/senior associate deputy minister positions in a number of departments including: the Privy Council Office (PCO); the Department of Finance; Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; Revenue Canada; and Human Resources Development Canada. 

His research, writing, and public speaking have focused on the management of the oceans, with particular reference to the Arctic Ocean and Canada’s Northern regions and peoples.

Along with Dr. Sinclair, four other Queen’s alumni are among the appointments:

• T. Robert Beamish, Sc’60, LLD’11), Director, The Woodbridge Group
“For his leadership of and contributions to industry and for his philanthropic support for causes related to education and health care.”

• Peter Kendall, Artsci’89, Executive Director, The Schad Foundation
“For his steadfast commitment to conserving and protecting Canada’s biodiversity for future generations.”

• Debra Pepler, PHE’73, Ed’74, DSc’16, Distinguished Research Professor, Psychology, York University, and PREVNet Co-Founder
“For her innovative, community-based research on social issues involving children and youth, which changed the way psychologists study bullying.”

• Jennifer Tory, Artsci’77, Retired Chief Administrative Officer, RBC
“For her commitment to advancing women and minorities in the banking industry and for her extensive community work.” 

The recipients will receive their insignia at a ceremony in Rideau Hall at a later date. Created in 1967, the Order of Canada, is one of the country’s highest civilian honours, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

 

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.