U of A names honorary degree recipients for 2019 spring convocation
Thirteen exceptional honorees will offer words of wisdom at graduation ceremonies this June.
By SEAN TOWNSEND
A World Food Prize winner, a respected Cree Elder and a pioneering cancer researcher are among 13 exceptional individuals who will receive honorary degrees at the University of Alberta’s graduation ceremonies this June.
“Honorary degrees celebrate both established and emerging leaders who have had a transformative impact in local, national and international communities” said U of A chancellor Douglas Stollery. “I am hopeful that our honorary degree recipients for spring convocation may inspire our graduates to go on to do great things.”
Sarah Jerome is a Gwich’in Elder who was among the first Northwest Territories residents to become a certified teacher. Her passion for education has continued throughout her career as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent of the Beaufort Delta Education Council and first person of Gwich'in ancestry to be named official languages commissioner of the N.W.T. She is a strong advocate for preserving and promoting the Indigenous languages of the N.W.T. and for sustainable land management in the North, particularly the Peel watershed and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2016, she was inducted into the NWT Educator Hall of Fame.
Elder Sarah Jerome will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Augustana Campus in Camrose.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, has dedicated his life to helping feed Africa and reduce poverty, especially among women and children. For more than 30 years, he has spearheaded policies to increase investment in agriculture and give millions of farmers access to financing and credit, improved seeds, and fertilizers. As agriculture minister in Nigeria from 2010-2015, he ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer industry, brought in a new rice breed that helped the country become self-sufficient and developed an innovative “e-wallet” system that provided microloans directly to more than 15 million farmers using their mobile phones. In 2010, he was appointed one of 17 global leaders to galvanize international support for the UN Millennial Development Goals. In 2017, he received the top international award in agriculture, the World Food Prize.
Akinwumi Adesina will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 4 at 3 p.m.
Carman McNary is a leader in the Edmonton community who has served in legal, business, military and philanthropic organizations. After serving in the Canadian Naval Reserve from 1975 to 2008, he retired with the rank of captain (navy). A U of A alumnus and one of Canada’s leading tax lawyers, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010. He has chaired numerous boards including both the Alberta and Edmonton chambers of commerce, and the Edmonton Community Foundation. He also co-chaired Edmonton’s 2017 United Way campaign, was vice-chair of the Metro Mayor’s Advisory Task Force and served on the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty and the Edmonton Homeless Commission. He has received the Canadian Forces Decoration, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, and the Alberta Centennial Medal.
Carman McNary will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 5 at 10 a.m.
One of Canada’s top “green” architects, Vivian Manasc is a leader in advocating for and designing low-carbon architecture for cold climates. As co-founder of Manasc Isaac, she led the creation of numerous award-winning buildings, including Alberta’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, Edmonton’s first LEED Silver building and the first LEED Gold building in the Arctic. She has served as president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, vice-president of the Canada Green Building Council and vice-chair of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. She received the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2018.
Vivian Manasc will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 5 at 3 p.m.
As CEO of the Edmonton Community Foundation, Martin Garber-Conrad is committed to improving the lives of Edmonton’s inner-city residents. Under his leadership since 2005, the foundation now grants more than $20 million each year to local charities. He also guided the creation of the Social Enterprise Fund, which has loaned over $35 million in debt financing to 60 projects with public benefit. An adjunct professor in the Faculty of Extension, he played a key role in developing the Community-University Partnership to bridge the knowledge of the U of A and the community, and was influential in establishing the U of A’s community service-learning program. He has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2004 was named an Edmontonian of the Century as part of the city’s centennial celebrations.
Martin Garber-Conrad will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 6 at 10 a.m.
U of A alumna Caroline Jenner is CEO of JA (Junior Achievement) Europe, the largest non-profit network in Europe dedicated to equipping young people with the skills they need to start a business or find a job. Programs and activities involve hands-on learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. Founded in 2002, the organization she helped create now serves four million young people in 40 countries each year, with more than 400 business leaders engaged on boards at the local and international level. As a member of several European Commission expert groups, she has contributed to the New Skills for New Jobs Agenda and the development of the EntreComp framework to support entrepreneurship competences. She has spoken at the World Economic Forum, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Global Education and Skills Forum. She became global head of regional growth and development for JA Worldwide in 2016.
Caroline Jenner will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 6 at 3 p.m.
As president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), Allan Goodman is a devoted advocate and champion for international scholarship. IIE is marking its centennial this year and administers the Fulbright Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Goodman was the first American professor to lecture at the Foreign Affairs College of Beijing, helped create the first U.S. academic exchange program with the Moscow Diplomatic Agency for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, and developed the diplomatic training program of the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam. He has received the Légion d’honneur from France and the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, and in 2012 he was awarded the inaugural Gilbert Medal by Universitas 21 for his leadership in creating the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, which protects scholars around the world at risk of persecution through 400 host partners worldwide, including the U of A.
Allan Goodman will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 7 at 10 a.m.
Carol Cass, professor emerita of oncology and adjunct professor of biochemistry at the U of A, has made lasting contributions to cancer research and treatment. Her basic research on nucleosides has translated into better use of these molecules in cancer treatments. As chair of the U of A’s oncology department, she oversaw its growth from less than 40 to more than 100 faculty members and oversaw the development of research and postgraduate training programs. She has also served as director of the Cross Cancer Institute and vice-president of the former Alberta Cancer Board. Her achievements have been recognized by many awards, including election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2018, she received the Alberta Medical Association’s Medal of Honour for contributions to quality health care in Alberta.
Carol Cass will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 11 at 10 a.m.
One of the world’s pre-eminent protein biochemists, Cyril Kay has improved our understanding of the building blocks of life. After graduating from Harvard in 1956, he joined the U of A two years later and became a full professor in 1967. In 1974, he co-founded the Medical Research Council of Canada Group in Protein Structure and Function, which became internationally known and respected in the field. He was also a founding member of the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence, which attracted 60 researchers and was considered the top life science network in Canada. After retiring from the U of A, he served for more than 10 years as vice-president of research with the former Alberta Cancer Board. He is an officer of the Order of Canada, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2003, the Alberta Cancer Board and the Alberta Cancer Foundation endowed the Dr. Cyril M. Kay graduate studentship in honour of his role in promoting cancer research in Alberta.
Cyril Kay will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 11 at 3 p.m.
A Cree Elder from the Saddle Lake First Nation, Francis Whiskeyjack has devoted his life to teaching traditional Indigenous values to foster understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. He has worked for more than 15 years as an Elder and cultural adviser at Edmonton’s amiskwaciy Academy, which provides academic programs in an Indigenous context. A frequent speaker at community events, he has served as a member of the Urban Aboriginal Initiatives with the City of Edmonton and as a board member of the Fringe Theatre and Festival, the Native Friendship Centre and the Saddle Lake Health Board. In 2010, he was appointed as an adjunct professor by the U of A, where he also serves as a student adviser to the First Peoples' House and as a convocation Elder at graduation ceremonies.
Elder Francis Whiskeyjack will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 12 at 10 a.m.
Chief Justice Mary Moreau is the first woman to be appointed chief justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. After studying law at the U of A, she practised criminal, constitutional and family law in Edmonton. She litigated landmark cases that established the right to a criminal jury trial in French in Alberta and affirmed the right of francophone Albertans to manage and control their own schools. She was one of the co-founders of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta. Since her appointment to the bench, she has presided over French and bilingual trials in Alberta and as a deputy justice in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. She was president of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association in 2011-12. She is currently a member of a Canadian team of judges and court administrators involved in the Support to Judicial Reforms Project in Ukraine.
Chief Justice Mary Moreau will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 12 at 3 p.m.
Esi Edugyan has emerged as one of Canada’s foremost authors over a remarkably short time. Through her exploration of black migration and the struggle for respect in predominantly white cultures, she has made an indelible mark on Canadian literature. Her first novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was set in Amber Valley, Alberta, and was shortlisted for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in 2005. Her second novel, Half-Blood Blues (2011), won the Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Governor General’s Award and Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her third novel, Washington Black (2018), was shortlisted for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Washington Black also won the Giller Prize, making Edugyan only the third writer to win the award twice.
Esi Edugyan will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree June 13 at 10 a.m.
Allan Gordon Bell is an internationally recognized classical composer whose award-winning works have been featured throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He has created music for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, band and electroacoustic media, as well as scores for contemporary dance productions and an opera. From 1996 to 2006, Bell designed and supervised the Young Composers program for the Esther Honens Foundation, introducing creative music to students in elementary schools.He has twice served as president of the national board of the Canadian Music Centre, and is a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada.
Allan Bell will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree June 13 at 3 p.m.