Opera star, judge to be honoured

University of British Columbia graduates Ben Heppner, a celebrated tenor in the world's premier opera houses, and retired B.C. provincial court justice Alfred Scow are among 14 distinguished individuals to be awarded honorary degrees by UBC this year.

Prominent in the professions and the community, honorary degree recipients are recognized for their distinguished achievements in their respective endeavours and for the contributions their accomplishments make to the life of the university and the betterment of society. Honorary degrees will be awarded during UBC's Spring Congregation, May 25-30, and Fall Congregation, Nov. 20 and 21. All ceremonies will take place in the new Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Heppner graduated from UBC's School of Music in 1979 and gained international prominence in 1988 as a Metropolitan Opera Auditions finalist and first recipient of the Birgit Nilsson Prize. He debuted at the famed La Scala Opera one year later.

Scow was the first Aboriginal person to earn a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), practice law and receive a judicial appointment in British Columbia. He is credited for performing a major role in educating non-aboriginal people about the legal, cultural, social and historical issues facing First Nations.

Other honorary degree recipients include: Sally Aw Sian, an international newspaper publisher and philanthropist; acclaimed conductor Mario Bernardi; Cheung-Kok Choi, a major contributor to education in B.C. and abroad; Haig Farris, a leader in promoting science and technology education and research; Richard Goldstone, chief prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia; Clarence Jules, chief of the Kamloops Indian Band; pre-eminent organic chemist Raymond Lemieux; arts patron David Lemon; Shinroku Morohashi, chair of the board of Mitsubishi Corp., who played a pivotal role in supporting the creation of the Centre for Japanese Research at UBC's Institute of Asian Research; Masateru Ohnami, president of Ritsumeikan University; Roy Taylor, internationally respected for his work in the field of botanical gardens and arboreta; and respected biochemist P. Roy Vagelos, chair of the board, Merck & Company, Inc., and supporter of UBC's leading edge basic research in advanced genetics and neural diseases.