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Ryerson University announces 2011 honorary doctorate recipients

Ceremonies begin June 8

Ryerson University will recognize seven distinguished Canadians with honorary degrees for outstanding contributions to their fields during the University's spring graduation ceremonies from Wednesday, June 8 to Friday, June 17.  

All convocation ceremonies will be held in the Ryerson Theatre, 43 Gerrard St. E., Toronto.

About the Graduating Class
Approximately 5,500 graduate and undergraduate degrees and continuing education certificates will be conferred at Ryerson's 2011 Spring Convocation. The new graduates will join the more than 130,500 Ryerson alumni worldwide.

Ryerson University will award 4,595 bachelor degrees, 226 graduate degrees and 689 continuing education certificates.

Ryerson University’s seven honorary degree recipients, listed in order of ceremony are:   

Laura Formusa, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hydro One June 8, 9:30 a.m.

Laura Formusa, president and chief executive officer of Hydro One is a tireless advocate for diversity, committed to removing barriers in the workplace for visible minorities and women. Ms. Formusa was appointed  President and CEO of Hydro One in  2007 and is currently serving as Trustee to the Banting Research Foundation.  She will receive an honorary degree at the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science convocation ceremony on Wednesday, June 8 at 9:30 a.m.

Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations June 9, 9:30 a.m.
Former National Chief Phil Fontaine is a dedicated and highly respected Aboriginal leader in Canada. First elected as National Chief in 1997, Mr. Fontaine held the position twice for an unprecedented three terms.   He has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people, particularly in the negotiation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Mr. Fontaine will receive his honorary degree at the Faculty of Community Services convocation ceremony on Thursday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m.

Charles Coffey, O.C., community leader and retired executive vice-president, government affairs and business development for RBC Financial Group June 9, 2:30 p.m.
Charles Coffey's extensive community service has encompassed four major areas of interest – Aboriginal issues, early childhood development and education, women's issues, and diversity. In 1997, Grand Chief Phil Fontaine and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs named him an Honorary Chief for his support of First Nations, economic development and self-sufficiency.  Mr. Coffey will receive an honorary degree at the Faculty of Community Services convocation ceremony on Thursday, June 9 at 2:30 p.m.

Joanne Dallaire, traditional healer and educator  June 10, 9:30 a.m.
Joanne Dallaire has worked in the social service sector for over 30 years transforming the lives of individuals and the culture of agencies, and, instilling recognition and respect for Aboriginal people, issues and their contributions to society. As the Traditional Counsellor to Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services she has been an inspiration to Aboriginal students.  As the Elder and acting Chair to Ryerson University's Aboriginal Education Council, her support, guidance and engagement has enriched and nurtured its growth and the breadth of its work. Ms. Dallaire will receive an honorary degree at the Faculty of Community Services convocation ceremony on Friday, June 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Des McAnuff, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and internationally recognized Canadian director, producer and playwright June 13,  9:30 a.m. 
Ryerson alumnus Des McAnuff is a two-time Tony and Olivier award-winning director and the current artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Mr. McAnuff has directed countless award-winning plays and musicals both in Canada and the United States. He will receive an honorary degree at the Faculty of Communication & Design convocation ceremony on Monday, June 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Ursula Franklin  C.C., O.Ont., physicist, pacifist, feminist, human rights activist, author and educator June 14, 6:00 p.m.
In addition to her significant contributions as a scientist, Ursula Franklin is known for her achievements as a humanitarian and activist. She has been actively involved in work for peace and justice, international understanding, and women's issues. A prolific author, she is best known for her writings on the political and social effects of technology.  Professor Franklin will receive an honorary degree at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education convocation ceremony on Tuesday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m.

Hon. Robert W. Metzger, Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia  June 16,
An almunus of Ryerson's Business Administration program, Justice Metzger has spearheaded significant advances in the areas of criminal and family case management and is best known for his role in the enactment of the Criminal Caseflow Management Rules. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2000, following a 20-year career as a judge in the Provincial Court of British Columbia.  He will receive an honorary degree at the Ted Rogers School of Management convocation ceremony on Thursday, June 16 at 9:30 a.m.

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to 28,000 students, including 2,000 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 tenured and tenure-track faculty and staff, and more than 130,500 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit


Note: Media are invited to attend the convocation ceremonies. Space is limited. Please RSVP to Johanna VanderMaas.

Johanna VanderMaas
Public Affairs
Ryerson University
Office: 416-979-5000 x 4630

If you require this in another format, please contact Ryerson University Public Affairs at 416-979-5000 x 7134.

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