Western medical pioneer honoured

By Communications Staff
January 03, 2012

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OTTAWA — Dr. Calvin Stiller, University of Western Ontario professor emeritus, was recently named an Officer of the Order of Canada. For Stiller, it was a promotion within the order.

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 66 new appointments to the Order of Canada last week. The new appointees include one Companion (C.C.), 28 Officers (O.C.) and 37 Members(C. M.). These appointments were made on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. Recipients will accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

In his citation, Stiller was singled out “for his leadership as a medical entrepreneur and for his advancement of scientific research and innovation.”

In 2010, Stiller was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and named a recipient of the 2010 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award.

He has been a catalyst for changing the face of transplantation and diabetes treatment in Canada, as well as an entrepreneur and champion of institutes of research.

Stiller established the Multi-Organ Transplant Service in London and served as the unit's chief until 1996. During this period, he was principal investigator of the Canadian multi-centre study that established the importance of Cyclosporine as an anti-rejection drug in transplantation and led to its worldwide use.

He was the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of Cyclosporine in newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes, establishing the disease as an immune disorder. He has published more than 250 scientific papers.

He was instrumental in founding Robarts Research Institute in 1986, together with Dr. Henry Barnett, Dr. Charles Drake, J. Allyn Taylor, Richard Ivey, Walter J. Blackburn and Dr. Ramsay Gunton. He was also a Robarts scientist.

Stiller is the co-founder of two health-care funds, including the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund Inc. He was a member of the council and executive committee of the Medical Research Council of Canada (1987-1993), founding chair of the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, and is chair (and co-founder) of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and of the Ontario Innovation Trust.

Stiller was not the lone connection for Western as three alumni were also honoured including:

  • James Bartleman, BA'63 (History), LLD'02. Officer of the Order of Canada - For his contributions to his country, notably as lieutenant governor, and as a champion of mental health, literacy and poverty reduction;
  • Denis Losier, MA'75 (Economics). Member of the Order of Canada - For his contributions to the economic and social development of his province, as a politician, businessman and community leader; and 
  • Paul Martin, LLD'10. Companion of the Order of Canada - For his distinguished contributions to Canadian politics and for his active involvement in promoting opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians.

The Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, was established in 1967, during Canada’s centennial year, to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation. During the last 40 years, more than 5 000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.

For the list of recipients, with short citations, and a backgrounder on the Order of Canada, visit the Governor General’s website.


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