Homegrown tenor, industrialist honoured

Ben Heppner, the UBC School of Music graduate enjoying acclaim as one of the premier tenors on concert stages around the world, and Shinroku Morohashi, the chair of Mitsubishi Corporation, will receive honorary degrees from the university at Fall Congregation.

Born in Murrayville, B.C. near Dawson Creek, Heppner graduated with a Bachelor of Music from UBC in 1979, and in the same year gained national attention as the winner of the CBC talent festival. Soon after, he began singing with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.

International attention followed when he was a finalist in the 1988 Metropolitan Opera Auditions. Since then, he has enjoyed a growing career in the world's foremost opera houses and concert halls.

In 1990, he debuted at La Scala in Milan and was named UBC's Outstanding Young Alumnus. The following year he debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He continues to sing regularly in productions in New York as well as for the Canadian Opera Company, the San Francisco Opera and in Europe.

An honorary patron of the Friends of Vancouver Opera, Heppner is committed to the development of promising Canadian artists and performs for the benefit of many causes in Canada.

Heppner receives his honorary degree Nov. 20 at 11 a.m.

He performs at the Chan Centre Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. as part of the Distinguished Artists, UBC Music at the Chan Centre series.

Shinroku Morohashi is one of the leaders of Mitsubishi Corporation, and an advocate for increased trade and co-operation between all nations, especially Japan and Canada.

Morohashi joined Mitsubishi in 1947 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Sophia University in Tokyo. In 1980, he was appointed a director, and became president of Mitsubishi in 1986. Since 1992, he has been chair of the corporation's board of directors.

In 1989, at the joint request of the prime ministers of Japan and Canada, Morohashi led the Japanese Investment Study Mission to Canada. The mission resulted in the further development of business partnerships between Japan and Canada.

At UBC, Morohashi's support helped create the Centre for Japanese Research. The centre is an important focus of research for economic, political, social and technological issues, and promotes dialogue on major issues of common concern to Canada and Japan.

Morohashi receives his honorary degree Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m.