Convocation ceremony at Grant Hall
Spring convocation ceremonies take place at both Grant Hall (pictured) and the Leon’s Centre.

Six alumni to receive honorary degrees from Queen’s

Six alumni are receiving honorary degrees from Queen’s University for their significant impact in many areas, including music, cancer research, law, business, and culinary arts.

Spring convocation kicks off May 26 with one ceremony in Grant Hall and continues with six ceremonies at the Leon’s Centre between June 20 and 23. Graduating students from six faculties and schools will be walking across the stage.

A total of 10 leaders (six alumni and four non-Queen’s graduates) are receiving honorary degrees. All recipients were chosen by the Queen’s community for their outstanding achievements in their fields as well as their immense contributions to local, national, and global communities.

“Convocation ceremonies are a milestone for our graduating students and a meaningful time of year for the entire Queen’s community,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “I look forward to celebrating the Class of 2023 and recognizing the profound impacts this year’s honorary degree recipients have had on our society.”

Here are the alumni receiving honorary degrees this spring:

Grant Hall convocation ceremony

Elizabeth A. Eisenhauer, Meds’76 (May 26, 10 am)

Elizabeth Eisenhauer Eisenhauer obtained her MD from Queen’s in 1976 and subsequently received fellowships in internal medicine and hematology from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Canada. From 1982 to 2012, she was director of the Investigational New Drug Program of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (now the Canadian Cancer Trials Group) where her major responsibilities lay in identifying and bringing into clinical trial novel cancer agents. Her major research interest has been the evaluation of new anti-cancer agents. In that role, she coordinated over 170 phase one, two, and three trials which were conducted in institutions in Canada, United States, and Europe. Several of these trials have led to the identification of new cancer agents now used in clinical practice. For her contributions to cancer research and patient care, she has received several awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, Officer of the Order of Canada, and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award. 

Leon’s Centre convocation ceremonies – June 20-23

Caroline Hargrove, Sc’89 (June 20, 3 pm)

Caroline Hargrove Hargrove is currently chief technology officer (CTO) at Ceres, overseeing the development of next generation fuel cell and green hydrogen technology. She is also a non-Exec Director at Zedsen, a med-tech start-up developing non-invasive sensors for detecting and monitoring breast cancer tumours. She started her career as a lecturer in applied mechanics at the University of Cambridge and then moved to work in Formula 1 for McLaren Racing, where she spent 10 years developing simulations and the first F1 simulator. She then became a founding member of McLaren Applied Technologies, a company set up to adapt McLaren F1 technology and expertise to new markets and eventually became its CTO before leaving in 2018. She subsequently spent three years at Babylon Health as its CTO, developing artificial intelligence tools to support primary care health. Hargrove is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), was a visiting professor at University of Oxford from 2015 to 2018 and holds a PhD in Applied Mechanics from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Applied Math and Mechanical Engineering) from Queen’s. She received a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for services to engineering in 2020. 

Eleanor Daley, Mus’78 (June 22, 10 am)

Eleanor Daley Born and raised in Parry Sound, Ont., Daley received her Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Queen’s and holds diplomas in piano and organ from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) and Trinity College (England). She has been the director of music at Fairlawn Avenue United Church in Toronto since 1982, during which time she has established a thriving choral program thanks to the continuing support and talent of her choirs. One of Canada’s most successful and gifted composers of choral music, Daley is a recognized leader in choral circles the world over. Daley has more than 150 published compositions and has been commissioned extensively. Her works are widely performed, recorded, and aired throughout North America, Great Britain, Europe, South Africa, and the Far East, and are published by 14 publishing houses in Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom. Daley was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2022, was the recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Louis Applebaum Composers Award in 2020, and was the first composer-in-residence at the 2005 international choral festival, FESTIVAL 500, in St. John’s, N.L. She is being honoured in June by the Queen’s University Alumni Association with its highest award – the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Brent Belzberg, Com’72 (June 22, 3 pm)

Brent Belzberg Belzberg is the founder and senior managing partner of TorQuest Partners, Inc., which he formed in 2002. He has more than 30 years of executive management experience in finance, acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and operations. He received an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Queen's in 1972, and a JD from the University of Toronto in 1976. He received the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto, the Canada 150 Commemorative Medal from the Senate of Canada, and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General. In 2018, Belzberg was awarded the Order of Canada as a Member (C.M.) for his work as a business leader and philanthropist.


Gloria Epstein, Com’72 (June 22, 3 pm)

Gloria Epstein In 1972, Justice Epstein received an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s, then attended the University of Toronto law school. Called to the bar in 1979, Justice Epstein practised litigation in two large Toronto law firms before starting a firm of her own – one of the first Toronto-based firms led and owned by a woman. She was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1993 and to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2007. Throughout her judicial career, Justice Epstein presided over hundreds of cases, one of the most impactful being the landmark case known as M. v. H., the decision that paved the way for the recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada. While a trial judge, she was appointed by the Premier of Ontario to review the government’s involvement in the lives of the Dionne Quintuplets. In 2007, she received a University of Toronto Arbor Award for volunteerism and in 2013 she received a YWCA Women of Distinction Award. She has also been recognized with two other honorary doctorate degrees – from the Law Society of Ontario and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Paul Finkelstein, Artsci/Ed’01 (June 23, 10 am)

Paul Finkelstein Finkelstein is a former Gael cheerleader, TV host, food columnist, front-line teacher, globally celebrated educator, and chef who knows that food can be one of the most powerful tools for change. A chef turned culinary arts teacher, Finkelstein is one of Canada's leading advocates for healthy living through good nutrition and culinary skill training. For "Fink" – as his students, colleagues, and legions of fans know him – cooking is an essential skill and the most important one for all Canadians to live a whole and healthy life. Finkelstein spearheaded the creation of the Screaming Avocado, a student-run canteen, which provides healthy, bistro quality made-from-scratch meals by and for students. Other schools across Canada followed the Screaming Avocado model, opening canteens that empower students. Finkelstein has been recognized with numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Meritorious Service Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence, the Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence, the OHI Gold Teacher of the Year Award, Food Canada Food Hero in 2014, the Rotary Paul Wallace Fellow, and Perth County Federation of Agriculture Award.

The four non-alumni receiving honorary degrees from Queen’s this spring are Grammy Award-winning music producer David Bottrill, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed (a national spokesperson for Inuit in Canada), International Criminal Court Judge Kimberly Prost, and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Learn more about spring 2023 convocation ceremonies on the Office of the University Registrar website.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.