Supreme court Justice, Noted Social Activist Among Honorary Degree Recipients


By Communications Staff
Wednesday, March 1, 2000
Nine inspirational individuals will be awarded honorary degrees when The University of Western Ontario celebrates its 274th Convocation this spring.

Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour, noted linguist Noam Chomsky, and Sister Helen Prejean, whose life was portrayed in the film Dead Man Walking, are among the honorees.

The recipients will receive their honorary degrees on the following days:

Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 10 a.m.
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (D.Litt.)

Noam Chomsky, professor of modern languages and linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of North America's most prolific political commentators. He will speak to graduating students from the Faculties of Arts and Music.

Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 10 a.m.
Doctor of Music, honoris causa (D.Mus.)

Western's founding Dean of the Faculty of Music, Clifford von Kuster is being honored for his accomplishments as an outstanding musician and teacher. He will receive his honorary degree in front of graduating students from the Faculties of Arts and Music.

Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 3:30 p.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

One of Canada's most honored and respected journalists, Pamela Wallin currently hosts her own program on CBC Newsworld. She will address graduating students from Brescia, Huron and King's Colleges.

Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 10 a.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

Sister Helen Prejean, whose experiences were portrayed in the film Dead Man Walking, is being acknowledged for her work as a social activist in the fight against capital punishment in the United States. She will address the graduating class from the Faculty of Education.

Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 3:30 p.m.
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)

Ian McWhinney, family medicine professor emeritus at Western, is being honored for his work as an outstanding educator and for his contributions to the University. He will address graduates from the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Faculties of Information and Media Studies and Medicine & Dentistry.

Thursday, June 8, 2000, 10 a.m.
Doctor of Civil Laws, honoris causa (D.C.L.)

Appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada last year, Madam Justice Louise Arbour is perhaps best known for her role as the United Nation's Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She will speak to graduating students from the Faculty of Social Science.

Thursday, June 8, 2000, 3:30 p.m.
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)

Joseph MacInnis, medical doctor, best-selling author and noted deep sea explorer, was the first person to dive under the North Pole and the first Canadian to explore the Titanic. He will address the graduating students from the Faculty of Science.

Friday, June 9, 2000, 10 a.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

An author, teacher and one of Canada's most distinguished historians, Jack Granatstein is currently director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum. He will speak to the graduating class from the Faculty of Social Science.

Friday, June 9, 2000, 3:30 p.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)

Jack Cowin, a Western graduate, is being recognized for his achievements as an international business leader and for his strong support of the University's students, faculty and staff. He will address graduates from the Faculties of Engineering Science, Health Sciences and Law.

An estimated 5,000 students will graduate with their well-deserved degrees and diplomas during Spring Convocation this year. The eight ceremonies will take place in Alumni Hall.

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For more information, photographs or to arrange interviews with the honorary degree recipients on the day of Convocation, please contact Marcia Daniel, Communications and Public Affairs, at (519) 661-2111 ext. 85165



Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is one of North America's most prominent political commentators. A renowned professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he has authored more than 30 books.

After receiving a PhD in linguistics in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the faculty at MIT. In 1961 he was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics.

He has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. His books include Manufacturing Consent; Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War and US Political Culture and The Common Good: Profit over People.

Chomsky is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science. Among his many awards, he is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award and the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.

This is Chomsky's 18th honorary degree.


Clifford von Kuster

Clifford von Kuster is a master music administrator and a dedicated and inspiring teacher under whose leadership and vision Western's nationally renowned Faculty of Music was established.

He received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto in 1949 and became a piano instructor at the Music Teachers' College (now Western's Faculty of Music) in 1952.

He proceeded to lead the extraordinary reorganization and expansion of the Music Teachers' College with its 25 students in 1960 into one of the largest music faculties in Canada with more than 400 students by the time he retired as dean in 1973. He was a professor of piano at Western until his retirement from teaching in 1986.

Von Kuster has served on the boards of the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Music Scholarship Foundation.

The University renamed its recital hall in von Kuster's honor upon his retirement.


Pamela Wallin

Pamela Wallin is one of Canada's premier journalists whose award-winning career spans more than 20 years.

Shortly after receiving a bachelor of arts from the University of Regina in 1974, Wallin began her broadcasting career with CBC Radio in Regina, working on such programs as Sunday Morning and As it Happens.

In 1979, she joined the Ottawa bureau of the Toronto Star and shortly thereafter was recruited by CTV as the Ottawa-based host of Canada AM. She eventually became the program's co-host.

Wallin was the first woman in Canadian television history to be appointed Ottawa Bureau Chief when CTV named her to that position in 1985. While with CTV, she produced and hosted the weekly political forum, Question Period, and anchored the weekend edition of CTV National News. In 1992, Wallin returned to CBC where she co-anchored Prime Time News until 1995.

Currently, she can be seen on CBC Newsworld as host of Pamela Wallin. Every Friday, she also hosts the hour-long Pamela Wallin & Company. Both programs are produced by her production company, Current Affairs Group Limited, in association with CBC Newsworld.


Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is a social activist closely identified with the fight against capital punishment in the United States.

She joined the congregation of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957 and received a bachelor of arts in English and education from St. Mary's Dominican College, New Orleans in 1962. In 1973, she received a master's in religious education from St. Paul's University in Ottawa.

Her involvement with poor inner-city residents in New Orleans in 1981 led her to prison ministry where she counseled death row inmates in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. She has accompanied four men to the electric chair and witnessed their deaths. Since then, she has educated the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing.

In 1993, she published the book Dead Man Walking, an account of her experiences in the prison ministry. The book, which remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 31 weeks, was made into an acclaimed film in 1996.

Sister Helen served as a member of the Board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985 to 1995 and is a member of Amnesty International. She has been honored with numerous awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 and 1999.


Ian McWhinney

Ian McWhinney, professor emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine at The University of Western Ontario, chaired the department when it was the first of its kind to exist at a Canadian university.

Born and raised in Burnley, England, he was educated at Cambridge University and St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School.

McWhinney moved to Canada in 1968, where he was appointed Chair of Western's Department of Family Medicine. He held this position until 1987 after which he spent six years as Medical Director of the Palliative Care Unit at Parkwood Hospital. During this time, he continued his research in family medicine and teaching in the department's graduate studies program.

In 1993, McWhinney was recognized by the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges as an outstanding educator in family medicine. He has received several teaching and research awards from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (U.S.), is a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and has received an honorary degree from the University of Oslo. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.


Louise Arbour

Madam Justice Louise Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999.

She is perhaps best known for her role with the United Nations as Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in which she defended human rights.

A native of Montréal, she graduated in 1967 with a bachelor of arts from Collége Regina Assumpta and received a law degree from Université de Montréal in 1970. She was called to the Quebec Bar in 1971 and the Ontario Bar in 1977.

During the 1980s, Arbour was Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. She has published extensively in both French and English on the topics of criminal law, criminal procedure, human rights, civil liberties and gender issues.

Her numerous awards and honors include the Achievement Award of the Women's Law Association and the Criminal Lawyers Association's G. Arthur Martin Award. Last year, she became the first recipient of the Medal of Honour of the International Association of Prosecutors.


Joseph MacInnis

A noted deep sea explorer, best-selling author and medical doctor, Joseph MacInnis was the first person to dive under the North Pole and among the first to dive to the Titanic.

MacInnis has been involved in some of the deepest and longest dives ever made. His work with decompression made possible dives that set records for depth and duration. He also designed and built the first Arctic dive station that allowed exploration below the polar ice cap.

An advisor to the Titanic discovery team, he was the first Canadian to explore the famous shipwreck. In 1991, he was co-leader of what is known as the most daring deep diving project ever conducted - the $7 million expedition to film Titanic in the IMAX format. Currently, he is working on science education projects aimed at restoring the health of the oceans and the Great Lakes.

MacInnis' work has earned him a number of distinctions, including three honorary doctorates, the Queen's Anniversary medal, the Admiral's Medal and the Order of Canada.

Since 1996, he has been the Chair of Canada Trust's Friends of the Environment Foundation and is also president of Undersea Research Limited, a consulting company specializing in ocean science and education.


Jack Granatstein

A distinguished and respected author, historian and teacher, Jack Granatstein is currently director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Granatstein served in the Canadian Army from 1956 to 1966. He received his bachelor of arts from the Royal Military College in 1961, a master of arts from the University of Toronto in 1962 and a PhD from Duke University in 1966.

He was a professor in York University's Department of History from 1966 to 1995, where he is now Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus.

Granatstein researches and writes on 20th century Canadian history, foreign and defence policy, Canadian-American relations, the military, the public service and politics. His many books include The Good Fight: Canadians and World War II and Yankee Go Home?: Canadians and Anti-Americanism.

He held the Canada Council's Killam Senior Fellowship twice, was editor of the Canadian Historical Review from 1981 to 1984 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1997, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


Jack Cowin

Jack Cowin, a successful international business leader, graduated from Western in 1964 with a bachelor of arts in psychology and has been a friend to the University ever since.

He was elected to the W Club Hall of Fame in 1992 in honor of his athletic achievements in wrestling and football while at Western. His dedication to Canadian sport has been recognized by his appointment as Attaché to the Canadian Olympic Team for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

In 1969, he founded Competitive Foods Australia Limited (CFL) and has been chairman of the company since its inception. The CFL group of companies has a sales revenue of $400 million and owns and operates 194 fast food outlets in Australia including Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino's.

Cowin has lectured to students at the Richard Ivey School of Business and returns to campus each year to take in a Mustang football game. He regularly opens his home and provides business oppotunities to Western alumni visiting Australia, earning him the title of Western's Ambassador to Australia.













Media Relations team

Keith Marnoch
Director, Media Relations
519-661-2111 x85468

Jeff Renaud
Senior Media Relations Officer
519-661-2111, ext. 85165

Susanna Eayrs

Communications Officer

Kathy Wallis

Media Relations Officer
Medicine & Dentistry Robarts Research Institute
519-661-2111, ext. 81136

Douglas Keddy

Research Communications Manager
Research Western
519-661-2111, ext. 87485

Ivan Langrish
Senior Manager, Media Strategy Richard Ivey School of Business


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