Two Nobel laureates are among the 10 individuals who will receive honorary degrees at the Vancouver campus of the University of British Columbia this year.
Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on welfare economics, human development theory and famine, will receive an honorary degree at a ceremony on April 21. Mario José Molina, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research identifying the dangers of ozone depletion, will receive an honorary degree during Fall Congregation (Nov. 23 to Nov. 25).
The university awards honorary degrees in recognition of individuals who have made substantial contributions to society at the provincial, national or international levels. The degrees will be awarded during the Vancouver campus Spring Congregation (May 25 to June 1) and Fall Congregation.
This year’s recipients include individuals who have helped shape Vancouver and enhance its presence on the world stage. Environmental activist David Suzuki, along with Diane Loomer, an internationally acclaimed choral conductor, educator and composer, Jack Austin, Canada’s longest-serving senator, and Thomas Wing Fat Fung, founder and CEO of the Fairchild Group, will be recognized along with four other individuals.
The complete list of honorary degree recipients:
Jack Austin, a Canadian senator, worked to establish the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and was instrumental in Vancouver’s bids for Expo ’86 and the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Leon Bibb, a singer, guitarist and actor has had a long and distinguished career as an international performer. Bibb has played a fundamental role in developing B.C.’s arts community and has been an advocate for minority rights.
Thomas Wing Fat Fung is the founder and CEO of the Fairchild Group and has been an important force economically and socially in Vancouver. Fung’s media outlets help foster understanding in multicultural communities and ensure that Chinese-speaking citizens can participate in the issues facing their communities and country.
Diane Loomer is an internationally acclaimed choral conductor, educator and composer whose leadership has resulted in the founding of two internationally recognized and award-winning choirs: Elektra and Chor Leoni.
Kenneth Lyotier is the founder of United We Can, a non-profit social enterprise that provides a significant source of employment for residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where Lyotier is recognized as a community leader and builder.
James Allen McEwen, a pioneer of the Canadian biomedical engineering industry, is the inventor of the microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system that is now standard equipment in operating rooms worldwide.
Mario José Molina is a Mexican-born chemist who identified the threat of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases to the ozone layer and was a key figure in making this a public issue. In 1995, Molina was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research. He will receive his honorary degree in the fall.
Amartya Sen is an Indian economist who won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on welfare economics, human development theory and for his work to help the world’s poor. Sen’s research crosses several disciplines but he is best known for his work to understand the causes of famine.
David Suzuki is a Canadian icon celebrated as a researcher, science broadcaster and environmental activist. He is the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation and has worked to popularize science and environmental issues throughout his career. Before beginning a career in the media, Suzuki was a zoology professor at UBC. Suzuki will receive his honorary degree in the fall.
Nancy Jean Turner is an ethnobotanist and Distinguished Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria who combines the science and social science of botany and anthropology for her research.
Honorary degree recipients at UBC’s Okanagan campus will be announced at a later date.