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Art McDonald among 2017 Queen's honorary degree recipients

Queen’s University has unveiled its honorary degree recipients for 2017, and the list includes Nobel Prize Laureate and Queen’s University Professor Emeritus Art McDonald.

Fifteen other people will join Dr. McDonald in accepting an honorary degree in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the fields of academia, business, politics, scientific research, and the arts.

The university will present the honorary degrees during 2017 convocation ceremonies.

Spring 2017

[James Rutka]
James Rutka

James Rutka (Meds’81) is a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a pediatric neurosurgeon with a clinical practice at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Rutka’s primary research and clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of human brain tumours and epilepsy. He has more than 450 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Rutka is an Officer of the Order of Canada. During his studies at Queen’s, he was quarterback for the Gaels, leading the football team a Vanier Cup victory in 1978.

Dr. Rutka will receive his honorary degree on Thursday, May 25 at 2:30 pm.

[Stephen Smith]
Stephen J.R. Smith

Stephen J.R. Smith (Sc’72) is one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs in the financial services industry. He is renowned for innovation in information technology and financial structuring in the Canadian mortgage industry. Mr. Smith is an avid supporter of post-secondary education. In 2015, he made a $50-million investment in business education at Queen’s in order to equip the leaders of tomorrow with the skills to sustain Canada’s business, economic, and social development.

Mr. Smith will receive his honorary degree on Tuesday, May 30 at 2:30 pm.

[Gurujai and Jaishree Deshpande]
Gurujai and Jaishree Deshpande

Gurujai (PhD’79) and Jaishree Deshpande, entrepreneurs and philanthropists

Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and Jaishree Deshpande are trustees of the Deshpande Foundation, which strengthens ecosystems that create significant social and economic impact through entrepreneurship and innovation. Their joint gift along with the Dunin Foundation in 2016 is allowing Queen’s to expand its innovation programming for students through the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

Dr. Deshpande has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He was involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies. Ms. Deshpande earned a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) and a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University. She currently serves as a trustee for the Museum of Science in Boston and is involved with HESTIA Fund – a fund established to support after-school programs for low-income children in Massachusetts. 

The Deshpandes will receive their honorary degrees on Wednesday, May 31 at 10 am.

[David Skegg]
David Skegg

Sir David Skegg is an epidemiologist and public health physician based at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His research focuses mainly on the causes and control of cancers, especially breast and cervical cancer, and the use of epidemiological methods to study benefits and risks of medicines. As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago from 2004 to 2011, he took a strong interest in opportunities for international collaboration. He promoted discussions that led to the establishment of the Matariki Network of Universities, of which Queen’s and the University of Otago are founding members.

Dr. Skegg will receive his honorary degree on Friday, June 2 at 10 am.

[John Alderdice]
John Alderdice

John Alderdice, Baron Alderdice, played a significant role in the development of the Irish peace process and the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He then stepped down as Alliance Leader and accepted an appointment as Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly. He retired as Speaker and Member of the Legislative Assembly in 2004. For many years, he served as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy at Queen’s University Belfast. He established the Centre for Psychotherapy in Belfast. He continues as an active member of the House of Lords, but has stepped back from front-line party politics to focus on his academic and practical involvement in situations of violent political conflict. 

Lord John Alderdice will receive his honorary degree on Monday, June 5 at 10 am.

[Otto Naumann]
Otto Naumann

Otto Naumann is the leading name in Old Master paintings in the United States and is one of the most respected figures in the international art scene. Dr. Naumann is renowned for his exceptional “eye” for quality and for his skills in connoisseurship.  Having made a name for himself specializing in Dutch and Flemish art, Dr. Naumann has handled more Rembrandts than any other living dealer and is the only dealer alive who has sold a painting by Vermeer.

Dr. Naumann will receive his honorary degree on Tuesday, June 6 at 10 am.

[Frank McKenna]
Frank McKenna

Frank McKenna has held numerous leadership positions in both the public and private sector. From 1987–1997 he was Premier of New Brunswick. He served as Canadian Ambassador to the United States from 2005-2006. He is currently Deputy Chair of TD Bank Group, Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management, and is on the board of Canadian Natural Resources. 

Mr. McKenna will receive his honorary degree on Tuesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm.

[Art McDonald]
Art McDonald

Art McDonald is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Dr. McDonald shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his longtime research and groundbreaking findings into neutrinos – sub-atomic particles considered the basic building blocks of the universe. He continues research on neutrinos and dark matter at the SNOLAB underground laboratory and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics.

Dr. McDonald will receive his honorary degree on Wednesday, June 7 at 10 am.

[Fredy Peccerelli]
Fredy Peccerelli

Fredy Peccerelli has dedicated his life to upholding human rights and dignity through the application of forensic sciences. He is an internationally renowned and recognized human rights defender and forensic anthropologist, and founding member of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG). As FAFG’s executive director, Mr. Peccerelli leads the development and implementation of a system that applies victim investigation, forensic-archaeology, forensic-anthropology, and forensic-genetics to uncover the identity of victims of mass human rights abuses, and the truth behind their disappearance.

Mr. Peccerelli will receive his honorary degree on Thursday, June 8 at 10 am.

[Donald Bayne]
Donald Bayne

Donald Bayne (Arts’66, Law’69, EMBA’01) is a partner with Bayne, Sellar, Boxall, a firm practising exclusively criminal law in Ottawa. Mr. Bayne has practised criminal law exclusively for the past 45 years.  He has been designated a specialist in criminal litigation by the Law Society and has conducted trial and appellate advocacy at all levels of courts in Canada and at public inquiries around the world. 

Mr. Bayne will receive his honorary degree on Friday, June 9 at 2:30 pm.

Justice Kin Kee Pang (Arts’70), a member of Hong Kong’s senior judiciary, will receive his honorary degree on May 20 in Hong Kong.

Fall 2017

Please note, Queen’s has not yet confirmed the Fall 2017 convocation schedule.

Debbie Docherty, educator, social worker, and community volunteer

Oliver Jones, jazz pianist

John Rae, Arts’67, active political participant and businessman

David Bouchard, author and educator

The Gazette will publish full biographies of the honorary degree recipients before the spring and fall convocation ceremonies.