During its 105th Convocation Ceremonies, June 14 to 17, the University of Windsor will award honorary degrees to individuals who have made outstanding societal contributions in the areas of social justice, literature, science education, business and diplomacy, medicine, and environmental advocacy.
Receiving honorary degrees are:
- Mercedes Benegbi, executive director of the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada;
- Izzeldin Abuelaish, a physician and activist for human rights and peace;
- Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child Canada;
- Miriam Toews, award-winning novelist;
- Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society;
- Lynton ‘Red’ Wilson, retired president of BCE Inc., Canada’s largest communications company;
- Mark Awuku, professor of pediatrics at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry;
- Maude Barlow, national chair of the Council of Canadians.
Mercedes Benegbi will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., June 14, session of Convocation.
Executive director of the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada, Benegbi was a driving force in its 2014/2015 Right the Wrong campaign seeking redress for Canadian thalidomide survivors. Her efforts resulted in the Thalidomide Survivors Contribution Program; she continues to contribute her time to Health Canada and Crawford Class Action Services in support of the program.
Benegbi has spoken around the world regarding the devastating effects of thalidomide on the developing fetus, and has contributed to study and advocacy around the on-going and far-reaching impact of its use with pregnant women more than 50 years ago.
Izzeldin Abuelaish will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., June 14 session of Convocation.
Dr. Abuelaish is a Palestinian physician and an internationally recognized human rights and peace activist devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through both his research and his charitable organization, the Daughters for Life Foundation.
A four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Abuelaish is known as the “Gaza Doctor,” experiencing the impact of conflict in such countries as Palestine, Egypt, Israel, Uganda, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. He lives with his five children in Toronto, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Samantha Nutt will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., June 15, session of Convocation.
Dr. Nutt is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. She is a medical doctor and the founder and executive director of War Child Canada, working with children and their families at the frontline of many of the world’s major crises—from Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone to Darfur, Sudan.
With her career spanning more than two decades and dozens of conflict zones, Nutt’s international work has benefited hundreds of thousands of war-affected children globally.
Miriam Toews will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., June 14, session of Convocation.
Toews is a Canadian writer who grew up in the Mennonite town of Steinbach, Manitoba, and draws heavily on her western Canada roots in much of her writing. She published her first novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck, in 1996 and has gone on to write such highly acclaimed work as A Complicated Kindness, and All My Puny Sorrows.
Joe Schwarcz will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., Thursday, June 16, session of Convocation.
Dr. Schwarcz is director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging.
Schwarcz hosts The Dr. Joe Show on talk radio in Montreal and has appeared hundreds of times on the Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC, TV Ontario and Global Television. He also writes the newspaper column The Right Chemistry, and is the author of more than a dozen popular science books, including his latest, released in 2015: Monkeys, Myths and Molecules.
Lynton (Red) Wilson will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., Thursday, June 16, session of Convocation.
Wilson is chair of the Wilson Foundation; retired chair and president of BCE Inc.; and chancellor emeritus of McMaster University.
After a career in diplomacy and public service at the federal and provincial levels, he set out on a corporate career that included executive stints with Redpath Industries, the Bank of Nova Scotia and Nortel Networks as well as BCE, Canada’s largest communications company.
Wilson now serves as chair of the Mercedes-Benz Canadian Advisory Council and as chancellor of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. A founding co-chair of the Historica Foundation of Canada, he is a director of Historica Canada.
Mark Awuku will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., Friday, June 17, session of Convocation.
Dr. Awuku, currently an associate professor of pediatrics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, is well-known locally for his six-year term as chief of pediatrics at Windsor Regional Hospital. He recently completed a four-year term as assistant dean for faculty and intergovernmental affairs with Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Windsor Campus.
His passion for teaching has won him numerous awards; other recognition includes the 2008 Ontario Medical Association Student Advocate Award and the 2011 Windsor Essex County Chamber of Commerce Business Professional of the Year Award.
Maude Barlow will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., Friday, June 17, session of Convocation.
Barlow is national chair of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She serves on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a councillor with the World Future Council.
In 2008-09, she served as senior advisor on water to the president of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever.