Our Spring 2018 Honorary Doctorate recipients

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2018

Along with the 6,835 students receiving their degrees at Spring Convocation 2018, nine luminaries will be awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa in recognition of their extraordinary contributions in their fields.

Cindy Blackstock

LAW: Dr. Cindy Blackstock is probably best known for her work on the human rights case to ensure equitable funding for First Nations children. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a landmark ruling that ordered Canada to stop discriminatory, non-equitable funding of services for Indigenous children on reserves. A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Dr. Blackstock is a professor at the School of Social Work at McGill University and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. With more than 30 years of social work experience, her efforts to ensure culturally based equity for Indigenous children and their families combines public education, engagement and litigation. She is a prolific public speaker who has authored over 60 publications, including a co-authored children’s book about the Tribunal called Spirit Bear and Children Make History.

Annette Verschuren

ENGINEERING: Annette Verschuren is chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., an energy storage development company that is exploring innovative and clean ways to store electricity for future use. These novel power storage systems include Tesla’s Powerwall batteries, magnetically levitated flywheels and the use of compressed air in a salt cavern. Verschuren sits on the Canada-US Women’s Business Council, the NAFTA Advisory Council and co-chairs the Smart Prosperity Initiative, which is charting a course to a stronger, cleaner economy for Canada. She was formerly president of The Home Depot Canada and China, and president and co-owner of Michaels of Canada. Today, she is Chancellor of Cape Breton University, where she also serves as an advisor to the university’s Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment.

Dominique Massiot

SCIENCE: Dominique Massiot is director of France’s Research Infrastructure for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance at Very High Fields, which he helped to create, as well as the Laboratoire Conditions Extremes et Matériaux : Haute Temperature et Irradiation (CEMHTI). Massiot’s research focuses on the study of disorder in organic or hybrid materials through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of materials in solid state or melts. This involves peering deeply into the atomic structure of glass, cement, ceramics, biomaterials and more. He is the recipient of numerous awards and since 2016, he has been a distinguished member of the French Chemical Society. In 2013, he was named director of France’s National Center for Scientific Research (NCRS) Institute of Chemistry.

Donald J. Savoie

SOCIAL SCIENCES: Donald J. Savoie holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance at the Université de Moncton. For decades, his prolific research achievements and writings have profoundly influenced Canadian public policy, public administration and society. Savoie’s best-known books include Breaking the Bargain: Public Servants, Ministers and Parliament, as well as Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics and The Politics of Public Spending in Canada. He has also contributed numerous chapters and articles to leading national and international journals. In 2000, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters from Oxford University, one of only 219 such distinctions awarded between 1923 and 2017. Savoie has also served as an advisor to federal, provincial and territorial government departments, the OECD, the World Bank and the United Nations.

Eli Y. Adashi

MEDICINE: Eli Y. Adashi is an academic physician-executive in the field of reproductive medicine with a special emphasis on ovarian biology. He is the former Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences at Brown University, where he continues as a tenured professor of medical science and as a member of the Brown Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. Dr. Adashi is a past president of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinologists, the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society. He has mentored more than 50 postdoctoral trainees and authored or co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles, 120 book chapters and edited or co-edited 13 books. During the first term of the Obama administration, he was a senior advisor on global women’s health to the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Guy Berthiaume

ARTS: Guy Berthiaume is the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, a position he has held since June 2014. Prior to joining Library and Archives Canada, he was the chair and CEO of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec between 2009 and 2014. Berthiaume is a Canadian historian specializing in classical antiquity. He has a doctorate in history from the Université Paris VIII (1976) and dedicated 20 years to research and university development before becoming a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), where he taught ancient history. He has held various administrative positions focusing on research and university development, including Vice-President, Development and Public Affairs at the Université de Montréal and Vice-President, Research and Creation at UQAM.

John McCall MacBain

TELFER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: John McCall MacBain is the founder, former CEO and former majority shareholder of Trader Classified Media, the world’s leading classified advertising company, which owned classified advertising publications and websites in 23 countries. MacBain started the company with the purchase of three small publications in Montreal in 1987 and grew the Auto Trader and Buy and Sell businesses to over 350 print titles and 50 internet sites across the world, including China, Argentina and Australia. Following the successful sale of the company in 2006, MacBain set up the McCall MacBain Foundation. Since 2007, the Foundation has committed over $200 million in donations to scholarships and education, health and the environment in Canada, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in Liberia. MacBain is also a trustee of the Rhodes Trust (Oxford) and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (Cape Town). He also chairs the Trudeau Foundation and is the founding chair of the European Climate Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Thomas Wolever

HEALTH SCIENCES AND MEDICINE: Thomas Wolever is perhaps best known for developing the Glycaemic Index, a system for ranking the carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels, with Dr. David Jenkins and other collaborators while he was a medical student at Oxford University. His research interests continue to be the effects of dietary carbohydrates on human physiology and metabolism. Today he is a professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. Dr. Wolever is also president of Glycemic Index Laboratories, a corporation formed to cope with the high demand for GI testing and enable a wider range of clinical research services. He is also the author of The Glycaemic Index: A Physiological Classification of Dietary Carbohydrates, published in 2006.

Although Stanley Vollant

EDUCATION: Although Stanley Vollant is the first Indigenous surgeon trained in Quebec, over the past few years the general public has come to know him more as the face of Innu Meshkenu (the Innu Road), a 6000-kilometre, multi-stage trek through the traditional lands of Quebec’s First Nations peoples. The goals of this walk, which began in 2010, are to meet with these communities, to promote healthy lifestyle habits, and to encourage young people to pursue their dreams and rediscover their roots. As a sought-after speaker and winner of numerous awards, Stanley Vollant has participated in many projects, including mini-med schools to encourage Indigenous youth to consider careers in health care. Since November 2017, Vollant has helped transform Notre Dame Hospital in Montreal into a “human-scaled hospital” to better meet the needs of the neighbourhood’s more vulnerable residents.

For more detailed biographies of the recipients of honorary doctorates conferred at the Spring 2018 Convocation ceremonies, visit the Office of the President’s webpage.

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