Former UBC president David Strangway, Globe and Mail national affairs columnist and author Jeffrey Simpson, and UBC alumnus and ambassador for Canada's Year of Asia Pacific John Bell, are among nine individuals to be awarded honorary degrees by UBC this year.
Prominent in all aspects of professional and community life, honorary degree recipients are recognized for their distinguished achievements and for their contributions to the life of the university and the betterment of society. Honorary degrees will be awarded during Spring Congregation, May 24-29, and Fall Congregation, Nov. 26 and 27.
Strangway was NASA's chief of geophysics and vice-president of the University of Toronto before being appointed UBC's president in 1985.A member of the Order of Canada, Strangway recently served as Canada's special envoy in the Pacific salmon negotiations with the U.S.
Simpson has won three of Canada's major literary prizes: the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction writing, the National Magazine Award for Political Writing, and the National Newspaper Award for Column Writing.
Bell's diplomatic engagements include chief negotiator and head of Canada's delegation to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, high commissioner to Malaysia, ambassador to Brazil and ambassador to the Ivory Coast. A UBC Commerce graduate, Bell has promoted links between UBC and Malaysia. He received a UBC Alumni Award of Distinction in 1995.
Other honorary degree recipients include: former president of Chile Patricio Alywin; former UBC Political Science professor and distinguished Canadian scholar Alan Cairns; internationally recognized ophthalmologist and UBC Prof. Emeritus Stephen Drance; UBC Prof. Emeritus Peter Oberlander, respected world-wide in urban settlement and regional planning; and John Spears, secretary-general of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. Eminent biochemist P. Roy Vagelos, will receive an honorary degree this year after being unable to attend last year's ceremonies. Acclaimed actress Martha Henry, who was nominated this year, will receive her honorary degree next year.