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Honorary degrees for spring ceremonies

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation. This spring, seven recipients will be honored during the ceremonies. All recipients were selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients this year include:

Phil Gold, Doctor of Science DSc

[Phil Gold]
Phil Gold

Ceremony 2: Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 pm

Phil Gold is the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and 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 Goodman Cancer Centre, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill, and Physician-in-Chief at the MGH.

Dr. Gold’s early research led to the discovery and definition of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), and the subsequent CEA blood test. In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University. Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010, and also received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University and the inaugural McGill University Faculty of Medicine Global Achievement Award in 2011.

Dr. Gold has received national and international recognition throughout his career, including the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (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 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002), and many other accolades, including honorary degrees from a number of universities.

Isabel Bassett, Doctor of Laws LLD

[Isabel Bassett]
Isabel Bassett

Ceremony 5: Friday, May 25 at 4 pm.

Professionally, Isabel Bassett was Chair and CEO of TVOntario, 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.

Now retired, Ms. Bassett is a facilitator using her know-how and connections to work for gender parity. She advocates to get young people more involved in politics and for more diversity on boards and in senior management positions. 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.

Indira Samarasekera, Doctor of Science DSc

[Indira Samarasekera]
Indira Samarasekera

Ceremony 12: Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm

Indira Samarasekera served as the twelfth President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 2005 to 2015. She also served as Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia from 2000 to 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. 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 ground-breaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. Dr. Samarasekera 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 profession’s highest honour.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 and a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and from Western University in Canada, as well as Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Valerie Tarasuk, Doctor of Science DSc

[Valerie Tarasuk]
Valerie Tarasuk

Ceremony 13: Friday, June 1 at 10 am

Valerie Tarasuk is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Tarasuk’s research includes Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but much of her career has focused on income-related problems of food access in Canada. 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. Dr. Tarasuk has led PROOF, an interdisciplinary research program investigating household insecurity in Canada, since 2011. In 2017, Dr. Tarasuk was honored by the Canadian Nutrition Society with the Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition.

John Baird, Doctor of Law LLD

[John Baird]
John Baird

Ceremony 14: Friday, June 1 at 2:30 pm

John Baird served as a senior cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. Mr. 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. He is currently a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP.

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 Southeast Asian nations.

Mr. Baird holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s. He volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, the Prince's Charities, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative.

Hugh Segal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Hugh Segal]
Hugh Segal

Ceremony 15: Monday, June 4 at 10 am

Now the fifth elected Principal of Massey College and a strategic advisor at the law firm of Aird and Berlis, LLP, Hugh Segal has spent his career in such public service roles as the Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs) in Ontario and the 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.  Mr. Segal chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism between 2005 and 2014.  He 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, Mr. Segal holds honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa.

Douglas Cardinal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Douglas Cardinal]
Douglas Cardinal

Ceremony 21: Wednesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Douglas Cardinal's architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found his passion for human rights initiatives. Mr. Cardinal has become a forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings, and ecologically designed community planning.

Mr. Cardinal has received many national and international awards, including 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from the 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 that can be given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.