April 16, 2019

Honorary degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients announced for June convocation

A message to the campus community from Chancellor Deborah Yedlin and President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley
Convocation ceremonies will take place from June 3 to 7, 2019.

Convocation ceremonies will take place from June 3 to 7, 2019.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Chancellor Deborah Yedlin and President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley are pleased to announce the honorary degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients for the June convocation ceremonies.

The honorary degree is the University of Calgary’s highest academic distinction and is bestowed upon individuals whose notable achievements and community service merit recognition. These distinguished recipients address our graduating class at the convocation ceremonies, sharing words of wisdom they have gained through years of excellence and leadership in their fields.

The Order of the University of Calgary honours recipients who have a record of exemplary and distinguished service to the university. The nominees can be current or past members of the university community.

The June 2019 recipients include:

Monday, June 3, 2 p.m.
Cumming School of Medicine, and the Faculties of Law, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Dr. T. Chen Fong, MD
T. Chen Fong is an entrepreneur, community leader and radiologist. Fong is passionate about training the next generation of doctors and about translating university-based discoveries into products that benefit humanity. He has lent his support to 43 medical technology startups, as well as revolutionizing medical imaging in Calgary. Fong was the catalyst for the establishment of the Creative Destruction Lab Rockies at the Haskayne School of Business and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2017 in recognition of his service as a medical leader and philanthropist.

Order of the University of Calgary conferred to Susan M. Marks 
UCalgary alumna Susan Marks is a university advocate and workplace champion. As the manager of operations in the Faculty of Law, she manages the budget, staff, and facilities resources of the faculty. During her tenure, Marks has also overseen and directed a number of expansions and renovations in the Faculty of Law. She is known for her dedication to a culture of excellence within the campus community.

Tuesday, June 4, 9:30 a.m.
Werklund School of Education, and the Faculties of Environmental Design and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Dr. Vianne Timmons, PhD
UCalgary alumna Vianne Timmons is the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina. She is a strong advocate for women’s leadership, Indigenous post-secondary education, and persons with disabilities. Timmons works actively to make higher education more accessible, supportive and inclusive for all students. In acknowledgement of her nationwide impact on inclusive education and literacy research, Timmons was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017. 

Order of the University of Calgary conferred to Cynthia Prasow
Cynthia Prasow is the director of student experiences at the Werklund School of Education and is the consummate educator. Her area of specialization is early childhood education and she brings this expertise to campus every day as a guidance counsellor, mentor and teacher of education students. Prasow has taught a variety of courses within the Werklund School of Education and previously taught grades K-3 in both private and public school systems.

Tuesday, June 4, 2 p.m.
Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculty of Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Harold (Hal) Kvisle 
UCalgary alumnus Hal Kvisle has held leadership positions in the Canadian and international energy, pipeline and power generation industries over the past three decades. Kvisle served as the chief executive officer of Talisman Energy from 2012 to 2015, and as chief executive officer of TransCanada Corporation from 2001 to 2010. He was also recognized as Canada’s CEO of the Year in 2008. Despite a demanding professional life, Kvisle has always found time to volunteer and support the next generation of business leaders coming from the Haskayne School of Business and the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business.

Wednesday, June 5, 9:30 a.m.
Faculties of Arts and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Dr. John R. Lacey, PhD
John Lacey is an oil and gas entrepreneur, and a passionate advocate and philanthropist for the arts. In 1970, he established John R. Lacey International Ltd., a consulting firm specializing in energy resource and reserve assessments. Lacey, together with his late wife Naomi, has been a standard-bearer for the Calgary arts community over the decades, perhaps most notably at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and more recently supporting the establishment of a new art museum in Calgary — Contemporary Calgary. Through the Naomi and John Lacey Foundation for the Arts, Lacey has enriched the cultural landscape of Calgary and our campus community.

Wednesday, June 5, 2 p.m.
Faculties of Arts, Social Work and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Susanne Craig
UCalgary alumna Susanne Craig currently works as an investigative reporter at The New York Times in New York City, following stints at The Globe and Mail and The Wall Street Journal. She earned her reputation as an astute observer of the interplay of finance and politics with her coverage of the 2008 financial crisis. This year she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her role into the investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump and his financial and business interests. She got her start in journalism working at The Gauntlet, UCalgary’s student newspaper, and has not looked back since.

Order of the University of Calgary conferred to Dr. Rochelle (Robbie) Babins-Wagner, PhD
UCalgary alumna Robbie Babins-Wagner has led a remarkable career as a leader in social work, child welfare and mental health. She is the chief executive officer of Calgary Counselling Centre and has made the centre a world leader in the use of feedback-informed treatment. Babins-Wagner holds extensive experience in counselling, social enterprise management, child welfare and health care. In addition, she is personally invested in mentoring and training future social work practitioners to best serve the needs of their clients.

Thursday, June 6, 9:30 a.m.
Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, Dr. Catharine I. Whiteside, MD
Catharine Whiteside is a medical doctor certified in internal medicine and nephrology, as well as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. Whiteside served as dean of medicine and vice-provost, relations with health-care institutions at the University of Toronto from 2006 to 2014. Prior to these roles, Whiteside was a prominent researcher at the Canadian Institute for Health Research Group in Membrane Biology and at the University Health Network, Toronto. She now serves as the executive director of Diabetes Action Canada.

Thursday, June 6, 2 p.m.
Faculties of Kinesiology, Science and Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipient, John Geiger
John Geiger is the chief executive officer of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic. Under his leadership, the society launched the most ambitious program in its history, the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. Geiger is also the bestselling author of seven non-fiction books on exploration, including Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition and The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible. His work has been translated into 13 languages.

Order of the University of Calgary conferred to Greg Vavra
UCalgary alumnus Greg Vavra is a lawyer with over 25 years of corporate experience in the energy sector. As a student, he was a star player on the Calgary Dinos’ varsity men’s football team and quarterbacked the Dinos to their first Vanier Cup in 1983. Vavra is the school’s all-time leading passer, and is the only Dinos football player to have his number (17) retired. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame with the inaugural class in 1995. In 2006, Vavra re-joined the Dinos men’s football team, this time as a member of the coaching staff. He also played in the Canadian Football league with the Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, and B.C. Lions.  


Friday, June 7, 9:30 a.m.
Haskayne School of Business and the Faculty of Graduate Studies

Honorary Degree Recipients, Diane and Doug Hunter 
Doug and Diane are active volunteers, both in the community and at the university. They have stepped up as UCalgary’s most vocal advocates for entrepreneurial thinking by supporting scholarships, capital projects, medical research programs, and most recently, building upon the success of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with the creation of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. Within the Haskayne School of Business, Doug and Diane are familiar faces to the numerous students who see these inspirational individuals on campus regularly.

Deborah Yedlin      Ed McCauley   
Chancellor            President and Vice-Chancellor           

To read individual bios and learn more, visit the convocation website.

Nominations for honorary degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients are open year-round. Nomination forms and other important information are available on the Office of the Chancellor and Senate website