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Meet Ryerson’s 2019 honorary doctorates

A snapshot of the movers and shakers receiving honorary degrees at spring convocation
By: Jessica Leach
June 11, 2019
Students dressed in convocation gowns, clapping during the ceremony

Six honorary doctorates will be presented during spring convocation. Photo credit: Clifton Li.

This month, during convocation, honorary doctorates will be awarded to six accomplished people from various professions. This is in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to Canada and Ryerson.

Here is a look at the distinguished individuals receiving honorary doctorates this month:

Richard Atleo

Richard Atleo, Educator

Richard Atleo was raised among the Nuu-chah-nulth people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada. He is deeply rooted in the area. He is an associate adjunct professor at the University of Victoria and was one of the founders of Vancouver Island University’s First Nations Studies Department.

Today Atleo is an international lecturer, two-time author, board member for the Canadian Association of University Teachers and research liaison at the University of Manitoba, among many other roles.

Atleo will receive a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Wednesday, June 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the Faculty of Arts convocation.

Samantha Nutt

Samantha Nutt, Founder – War Child

Samantha Nutt is a medical doctor and the renowned founder of the international humanitarian organizations, War Child Canada and War Child USA. Her work covers current affairs, conflict, international aid and foreign policy. It has benefited millions of war-affected children globally.

In addition to her many global accomplishments, Nutt has close ties to Toronto as a staff physician at Women’s College Hospital.

Nutt will receive a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Wednesday, June 12 at 3:30 p.m. at the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science convocation.

Eric McCormack

Eric McCormack, Actor

Eric McCormack graduated from Ryerson University’s theatre program in 1985. Since then, he has performed on some of theatre’s biggest stages and is known internationally for his award-winning role as Will Truman on Will & Grace.

Beyond acting, McCormack and his wife Janet are involved in many global charitable organizations. He has performed his one-man show across North America to raise money for Stand Up 2 Cancer, ReThink Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Canada.

He will receive a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Thursday, June 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Faculty of Communication and Design convocation.

Jean Augustine

Jean Augustine, Politician

Jean Augustine was the first Black Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons, representing the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore from 1993-2006. She held many roles in that time, including parliamentary secretary, minister of state for multiculturalism and the status of women, and deputy speaker.

Augustine was an instrumental force in designating February as Black History Month and served as Ontario’s first fairness commissioner from 2007 until she retired in 2015. She is very active in her community and most recently, Augustine was honoured for her work with the opening of Jean Augustine Secondary School in Brampton.

She will receive a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Monday, June 17 at 3:30 p.m. at the Faculty of Community Services convocation.

Hazel McCallion

Hazel McCallion, Politician

Hazel McCallion is famously known for being one of Canada’s longest-serving mayors. She served the city of Mississauga as mayor from 1978 to 2014. During that time, she oversaw the city’s growth to the sixth-largest city in Canada.

At 98 years old, Hazel is a member of the Order of Canada and her birthday (February 14th) has been recognized as Hazel McCallion Day by the province of Ontario.

Hazel will receive a Doctor of Commerce (Honoris Causa) on Tuesday, June 18 at 3:30 p.m. at the Ted Rogers School of Management convocation.

Victor Dodig

Victor G. Dodig, CEO - CIBC

Victor Dodig was named president and chief executive officer of the CIBC group of companies in 2014. His education includes an MBA from Harvard Business School and his career spans several leadership roles with other Canadian financial institutions.

Of note, Dodig was the 2017 recipient of the Catalyst Canada Honours (Company Leader), which acknowledges individuals and companies who advance women and inclusive workplaces in Canadian business.

He will receive a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Wednesday, June 19 at 3:30 p.m. as part of the Ted Rogers School of Management convocation.

For more information on Ryerson’s upcoming convocation, visit:

If you would like to nominate someone for an honorary doctorate, visit the convocation website for more information. 

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