Honorary doctorates are awarded for substantial contributions made by the recipient to the University of Ottawa, to their profession, to science, or to society at large. An honorary doctorate acknowledges that the recipient deserves to be recognized for their unsurpassed abilities due to life's learning and experiences.

Honorary doctorate recipient fall 2023

Profile picture of Sam Tsemberis, PhD

Sam Tsemberis

Sam Tsemberis, PhD, is a clinical-community psychologist who originated the Housing First model, an evidence-based program for effectively ending homelessness for individuals diagnosed with mental illness and addiction.

Honorary doctorate recipients spring 2023

Afua Cooper portrait

Afua Cooper

Afua Cooper is a Jamaican-Canadian multidisciplinary scholar, author, and artist. Her 13 books range across such genres as history, poetry, fiction, and children’s literature. Her indomitable research on slavery, and Black history has made her one of the leading figures in Black Canadian studies, and the authority on Canadian slavery.

Perry Dellelce portrait

Perry Dellelce

Perry Dellelce is founder and managing partner of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, one of Canada’s leading corporate finance and transactional law firms.

Makhtar Diop portrait

Makhtar Diop

Makhtar Diop is the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector. 

Lewis Kay portrait

Lewis Kay

Lewis Kay is Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Chemistry at the University of Toronto and a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. 

Marie Lemay portrait

Marie Lemay

Marie Lemay is the President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. 

André Picard portrait

André Picard

André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail, where he has been a staff writer since 1987. 

Andrée Poulin portrait

Andrée Poulin

Andrée Poulin has written some 60 books for children. Her picture books and novels have won her several literary prizes. She started off as a journalist, and she really enjoyed telling stories based on facts, but now, as an author, she takes great pleasure in telling fictional stories. 

Janet Rossant portrait

Janet Rossant

Janet Rossant, CC, PhD, FRS, FRSC is Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, and President and Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation. 

Macky Tall portrait

Macky Tall

Macky Tall is a Partner and Chair of Carlyle’s Global Infrastructure Group, which includes efforts across transportation, renewables, energy, power, water and digital infrastructure.

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Past honorary doctorate recipients

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How are recipients chosen? 

Nominations for honorary doctorates are submitted to the Honorary Degrees Committee. The committee is a standing advisory committee of the Senate. 

What do recipients receive? 

Recipients of an honorary doctorate receive a citation, an imposition, and the conferment of a diploma. 

The citation is the public declaration of the reasons that led the candidate to be presented to the Chancellor for the degree. This declaration is read by a member of Senate. 

The doctoral insignia, which is called a "patte", is worn on the left shoulder, over the academic hood. It is of red silk and ermine surmounted by the University coat-of-arms embroidered in metallic thread. The placing of it for the first time is called the Imposition. Thereafter it remains the property of the recipient of the honorary doctorate. 

The honorary doctorate is conferred to the recipient at Convocation by the Chancellor of the University with the following pronouncement: 

"As Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, by authority of the powers vested in me, I do hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of the University, with the title, honour and privileges that are proper to it." 

The recipient is then handed their diploma. 

How can you nominate someone for an honorary doctorate? 


Due to privacy rules, the personal contact information for honorary doctorates is not shared. In addition, the University does not keep up-to-date personal contact information for honorary doctorates. As such, we cannot forward any correspondence received which is addressed to them.