Four to receive honorary degrees from Western

The incoming chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, one of Canada’s most influential policy strategists and an award-winning Canadian author will receive honorary degrees when Western hosts its 304th Convocation this fall.

The ceremonies are scheduled for the following days:

Heather Munroe-Blum
10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

Distinguished academic administrator and scholar in public policy and epidemiology, Heather Munroe-Blum served as McGill’s principal and vice-chancellor, and previously, as vice-president, research and international relations at the University of Toronto. She is director of the Gairdner Foundation, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, of which she is also chair-designate, and a member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Irving Abella
3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

A member of the Order of Canada and president of the Academy of the Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada, eminent historian Irving Abella is an expert on the Canadian labour movement and the history of Jews in Canada. The former chair of Vision TV and president of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Canadian Historical Association, he is the past Shiff Professor of Canadian Jewish History at York University. Abella has been recognized with the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and the National Jewish Book Award, among many other honours.

Thomas d’Aquino
10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

Thomas d’Aquino is an entrepreneur, lawyer, corporate director, author and educator. Chairman of Thomas d’Aquino Capital and chief executive of Intercounsel Ltd., he also serves on the boards of directors of CGI Group Inc. and Coril Holdings Ltd. d’Aquino is also chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. From 1981-2009, he was chief executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and today participates in the council as a Distinguished Lifetime Member. Considered one of Canada’s leading global business ambassadors, d’Aquino is also an honorary professor at the Ivey Business School.

Jane Urquhart
3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (DLitt)

One of Canada’s best loved writers, Jane Urquhart is the author of seven internationally acclaimed novels, including The Stone Carvers, which was a finalist for The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award and longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her national bestseller Away won the Trillium Book Award in 1993. In 1997, her fourth novel, The Underpainter, won the Governor General Award. She has received the Marian Engel Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France where her first novel, The Whirlpool, won Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger.