Honorary degrees celebrate elite lineup

A microbiology pioneer, a quantum computing entrepreneur and a game-changing community activist are among the lineup of honorary degrees recipients when Western hosts its 310th Convocation Oct. 25-27. The ceremonies are scheduled for the following days:

Michael Lazaridis, LLD

10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25

Faculty of Science (Undergraduate Degrees), Richard Ivey School of Business (All Degrees), Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (Undergraduate Degrees)

Mihal ‘Mike’ Lazaridis is a Greek-Canadian businessman, investor in quantum computing technologies and founder of BlackBerry. A passionate advocate for the power of basic science to improve and transform the world, he co-founded Quantum Valley Investments to provide financial and intellectual capital for the further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in quantum information science. In 1999, he founded Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Emmanuelle Charpentier, DSc

3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (All Degrees), Faculty of Science (Graduate Degrees), Faculty of Social Science (Graduate Degrees)

Emmanuelle Marie Charpentier is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. She is best known for her role in deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 immune system and repurposing it into a tool for genome editing. The recipient of many international awards, Charpentier was designated one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2015 by Time Magazine. This spring, she was named a foreign associate in U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Gilles Patry, LLD

10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26

Faculty of Education (All Degrees), Faculty of Engineering (All Degrees)

Gilles Patry began his professional life as a consulting engineer in 1971, prior to becoming a civil engineering professor at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal and McMaster University. In 1985, he founded Hydromantis Inc., an international consulting firm specializing in the modelling and simulation of water and wastewater treatment facilities. In 1993, was named Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa, his alma mater. He also served as its Vice-President, Academic and President and Vice-Chancellor. Between 2010-17, he was President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). In 2002, he was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Richard Seewald, DSc

3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26

Faculty of Health Sciences (Graduate Degrees), Faculty of Information and Media Studies (All Degrees), Faculty of Arts & Humanities (Graduate Degrees)

Richard Seewald, a professor emeritus in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western, spent four decades focusing on issues related to the selection and fitting of amplification for infants and young children. He is known internationally for his work in developing the Desired Sensation Level Method for pediatric hearing instrument fitting. Seewald was awarded the Honors of the Canadian Academy of Audiology and the Canadian Speech, Language and Hearing Association and the prestigious International Award in Hearing from the American Academy of Audiology for his pioneering work in the field of pediatric audiology.

Nonie Brennan, LLD

10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27

Brescia University College (All Degrees), Huron University College (All Degrees), King’s University College (All Degrees), Faculty of Health Sciences (Undergraduate Degrees) Faculty of Law (All Degrees), Don Wright Faculty of Music (All Degrees)

Nonie Brennan currently serves as CEO of All Chicago Making Homelessness History, where she has overseen the organization through a period of significant transition and growth. Notable achievements under Brennan’s leadership include distributing over $2.5 million annually in financial assistance for basic needs, such as rent and utilities; securing $65 million in government funding for Chicago’s homeless services each year; and implementing Chicago’s Plan 2.0 – A Home for Everyone, in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services.

Nancy Southern, LLD

3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27

Faculty of Arts & Humanities (Undergraduate Degrees), Faculty of Social Science (Undergrad Degrees) 

Nancy Southern is Chair, President & Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Ltd., as well as Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company. She also serves as Executive Vice-President of Spruce Meadows and is a Founding Director of AKITA Drilling Ltd., a Director of Sentgraf Enterprises Limited, an Honorary Director of the BMO Financial Group and serves on the Rideau Hall Foundation Board of Directors. The late Jim Flaherty, former Minister of Finance, appointed her as a member of his Economic Advisory Council and she was a member of former Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch’s committee to offer advice to the federal government on how to encourage more women on Canada’s corporate boards. In 2015, Southern, at the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also joined 100 other global leaders for the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women in Berlin. She was included in Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women outside of the United States and recognized by the Financial Post Magazine’s The Power List, among numerous other awards and acknowledgements.