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UBC Reports | Vol. 51 | No. 4 | Apr. 7, 2005

Distinguished Careers Recognized with Honorary Degrees

By Brenda Austin

A Nobel Prize winner in physics, the director of Canada’s first midwifery educational program and two acclaimed artists are among 11 recipients of UBC honorary degrees this year.

The degrees are awarded for distinguished career achievements, as well as service to UBC and to Canada, and will be awarded mainly during the Spring Congregation, May 25 to June 1.

University of Illinois professor of physics Anthony J. Leggett is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics. UBC has benefited from his expertise and intellect through interactions with TRIUMF, the formation of the Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics, and the co-organization of a Peter Wall Institute workshop at Green College. Educated at Oxford University, he received the 2003 Nobel Prize in physics for pioneering work on superfluidity.

Karyn Kaufman, professor of family medicine and head of the midwifery education program at McMaster University, has provided outstanding leadership in the development of the midwifery profession in Canada and internationally. Her work has shaped the conditions under which UBC will graduate the charter class of this province’s Bachelor of Midwifery degree this year. Working collaboratively with governments and diverse stakeholders over many years, Dr. Kaufman overcame early resistance within the medical establishment to bring the concept of midwifery to the wider community.

Raffi Cavoukian, the internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter, and P.K. Page, one of Canada’s most distinguished poets, painters and memoirists are two artists UBC will recognize with honorary degrees this year.

Born in Cairo and an immigrant to Canada in 1958, Raffi, as he is known to children and adults everywhere, has entertained and educated since the 1970s. He is the founder and president of The Troubadour Institute for Child Honouring, an honorary board member of the David Suzuki Foundation and a member of the Council of Human Development. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the UN Environment Program Global Roll of Honour and the Order of Canada, Raffi wrote and performed Song for the Dalai Lama to honour the Dalai Lama’s 2004 Vancouver visit, and wrote and performed Turn This World Around for Nelson Mandela in 2000.

Patricia Kathleen “P.K.” Page, came to Canada from England at an early age and was raised in the prairies and educated in England, Calgary and Winnipeg. She studied art in Brazil and New York. Now an octogenarian, she was the first winner of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia’s Arts Award, is an Officer of the Order of Canada and recipient of four honorary degrees from Canadian universities. Page received the Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1954, and recently won the Terasen Award honoring the foremost writers in B.C. Her books have been highly praised and her poetry set to music by eminent composers.

Other distinguished recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Peter Brown, former chair UBC board of Governors, businessman and philanthropist
  • Dr. John Hood, vice-chancellor of Oxford University, business and
    academic leader
  • Economics Professor Dr. Robert Lacroix, instrumental in the design of the Canada Research Chairs program
  • Reverend Shunmyo Masuno, internationally acclaimed landscape architect
  • Canadian diplomat Carolyn McAskie
  • Dr. Shirley Thomson, chair of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, who will receive her honorary degree during Fall congregation
  • Dr. Elvi Whittaker, anthropologist and former UBC professor.

UBC’s Spring Congregation will be Webcast from The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. For details, visit www.graduation.ubc.ca.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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