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LU announces honourary degree list

Laurentian University has announced the people who will receive honourary degrees at nine convocation ceremonies from May 29 to June 2. About 2,200 people will graduate during the ceremonies.

Laurentian University has announced the people who will receive honourary degrees at nine convocation ceremonies from May 29 to June 2.

About 2,200 people will graduate during the ceremonies. All nine spring convocation ceremonies will be webcasted at

The following people will receive honourary degrees:

Bruce Mau, Doctorate of Letters, May 30, 2007, 10 am
Sudbury-native Bruce Mau founded a design studio in Toronto in 1985, which is today one of the foremost and innovative design firms in the world: Bruce Mau Design Inc. After studying science and engineering at Laurentian University for one year, Bruce Mau immersed himself in the arts program of the Ontario College of Art & Design, but left prior to graduation to join the Fifty Fingers design group in 1980. After a brief sojourn in the UK, he returned to Toronto and became part of the founding group of Public Good Design and Communications. He left soon after to establish Bruce Mau Design Inc. and went on with a staff of brilliant thinkers to develop and design branding campaigns for Indigo Books and Roots, multi-billion marketing and communication strategies for a development project in Tokyo, Japan, and a biodiversity museum in Panama with the accomplished architect Frank Gehry. Bruce Mau believes that design helps us understand what we are doing to ourselves and to our world and that its power can be used to transform all aspects of daily life.

Minnijean Brown Trickey, Doctorate of Laws, May 31, 2007, 10 am
Better known as one of the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown Trickey entered the civil rights movement and America’s consciousness when she passed through the front door of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. She was one of a group of African-American teenagers who, under the gaze of 1,200 armed soldiers and a worldwide audience, faced down an angry mob to disintegrate Central High. This historic event was the beginning of her lifelong crusade for the rights of minorities. In the early 1960s, Minnijean Brown Trickey moved with her husband to northern Ontario. She became one of the charter members of the Native Human Services program at Laurentian University, earning her bachelor degree in 1991 and her masters (from Carleton) in 1994. Today, Minnijean Brown Trickey’s courses, lectures, articles and reports provide audiences with a fascinating exploration of social change, diversity and the battle against discrimination and racism. Director Rob Thompson and producer, Maria Youngmee Shin, created a documentary of her life in 2000, and a monument was erected in her honour in Little Rock, Arkansas for being part of the desegregation movement in the United States.

Pierre Bélanger, Doctorate of Laws, May 31, 2007, 2:30 pm
A graduate of Laurentian, Pierre Bélanger is a well-known entrepreneur in northeast Ontario and northwest Quebec. His devotion to the regions’ economic development, education and environment is authentic and highly respected. In the early 1970s, he co-founded the Coopérative des artistes du Nouvel-Ontario (CANO), the major driving force behind the artistic and political birth of Franco-Ontario, At the same time, Pierre Bélanger inaugurated one of the first bison ranches in Ontario, Bisons du Nord Ontario Inc. His meat products are reputed and highly appreciated by the fine gourmets of the region and beyond. Pierre Bélanger is also the owner of a flourishing recreational vehicle trade business that has contributed in its early days to the success of the famous Boler Trailor Factory. Between 1983 and 2002, he was owner of the Earlton Zoo, a major tourist attraction in Ontario. In terms of community development, Mr. Bélanger has constantly been involved in regional and provincial economic development councils. In October 2005, he was named president of the Board of administrators of the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité du Canada (RDÉÉ Canada) and copresident of the Comité national de développement économique et d'employabilité.

Silken Laumann, Doctorate of Laws, June 1, 2007, 10 am
Four-time Olympian Silken Laumann is one of Canada's most inspirational leaders, a best-selling author and a highly recognizable and beloved Canadian athlete. As the reigning world champion rower, she fought back from a devastating training accident to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, a moment that endeared her forever to Canadian sports fan. Silken Laumann was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, having won three Olympic medals and four World Championships. Although her competitive rowing career ended in 1999, her ability to inspire continued. In November 2003, she combined her passion for sport and youth by establishing The Silken Laumann Active Kid’s Movement, a national charity to improve the quality of life for our children. She has also been Chairman of the International Board of Directors for the Right to Play, an international development agency dedicated to reintroducing play into the lives of children in refugee camps around the world. In 2006, Silken Laumann published Child’s Play, an inspirational and simple guide to reconnecting with our kids through play, which has become a Canadian best-seller.

John Robert Cunningham, Doctorate of Science, June 1, 2007, 2:30 pm
John Robert Cunningham is one of Canada’s most distinguished medical physicists. His contribution to medical radiation physics has earned him widespread recognition in our country and abroad. Former chief clinical physicist at the Ontario Cancer Institute and professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, he developed innovative methods for radiation dose calculations used to treat cancer patients. He is still active as a consultant and an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Medical Physics. Dr. Cunningham has authored and co-authored an impressive number of books, chapters and scientific articles, including the seminal textbook The Physics of Radiology. Throughout his career, he has generously shared his expertise with students and colleagues and has served as a member of numerous national and international committees. Dr. Cunningham is a founding member and fellow of the Canadian College Physicists in Medicine, Fellow of the Canadian Association of Physicists in Medicine and a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. In September 2005, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Robert J. Sawyer, Doctorate of Letters, June 2, 2007, 2:30 pm
Called “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen and “by any reckoning, one of the most successful Canadian authors ever” by Maclean’s, Robert J. Sawyer is one of only seven writers in history – and the only Canadian – to have won all three of the science-fiction field’s top awards for best novel of the year. He’s also won the top science fiction awards in Canada (nine times), Japan (three times), Spain (three times), and France, as well as an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. He is the author of 17 bestselling novels, including Calculating God, Flashforward, and Rollback. His Hugo Award-winning Hominids and its two sequels, Humans and Hybrids, are set in and around Sudbury, and feature the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and Laurentian University. Robert often mentors new writers, and has taught writing at Ryerson, the University of Toronto, and the Banff Centre. He is also a frequent science commentator for Discovery Channel Canada, CBC Newsworld, and CBC Radio. Robert Sawyer was born in Ottawa in 1960, and now lives in Mississauga with his wife, poet Carolyn Clink.


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