University of Calgary

Honorary Degrees

2008 Recipients of Honorary Degrees

Lloyd Axworthy

Once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to eliminate land mines, Lloyd Axworthy is now president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and was formerly director and CEO of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia and Canada’s foreign minister from 1996 to 2000.
Axworthy is internationally known for his advancement of the human security concept, in particular the Ottawa Treaty—a landmark global treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. For his efforts in establishing the International Criminal Court and the Protocol on Child Soldiers, he received the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe.

In February 2004, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Axworthy as his special envoy for Ethiopia-Eritrea to assist in implementing a peace agreement between the East African countries. Axworthy currently sits on the High Level Commission for the Empowerment of the Poor—a UN development program. In January 2006, the Organization of American States appointed Axworthy to head its electoral observation mission which monitored the 2006 general elections in Peru.

Axworthy remains involved in international matters and lectures widely in Canada, the U.S. and abroad. His book, Navigating a New World-Canada’s Global Future, was published in the fall of 2003 by Knopf Canada.

Axworthy graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts from United College (now the University of Winnipeg), obtained his Master of Arts in political science from Princeton University in 1963 and earned a PhD from Princeton in 1972.

Khalid Aziz

Khalid Aziz, a former University of Calgary professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, is an eminent authority on petroleum engineering, world-renowned, well-respected and highly influential. His research has impacted petroleum engineers and industry globally. His expertise spans reservoir simulation, modeling of advanced wells, multiphase flow in pipes, oil field optimization and natural gas engineering.
Aziz also had a significant influence on petroleum engineering through education. One of his most important contributions has been the education and mentoring of students from around the world. Some have subsequently become leaders in this and related fields. Aziz is significantly involved in the development of the School of Science and Engineering at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences in Pakistan.

Aziz received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1955, BSc and MSc degrees in petroleum engineering from the University of Alberta in 1958 and 1961, and a PhD in chemical engineering from Rice University in 1966. He won the APEGGA Gold Medal at the University of Alberta and the Ralph Budd Award at Rice University.
Aziz was a faculty member at the University Alberta for two years and at the University of Calgary for 17. Since 1982, he has been at Stanford University, where he has served as Chair of Petroleum Engineering and as associate dean for research in the School of Earth Sciences.

Aziz has received numerous professional and international awards and in 1996, he was elected to the national Academy of Engineering of the U.S.A.

Currently, he is the Otto N. Miller Professor of Earth Sciences and professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University. His publications include approximately 200 technical papers, two books and one monograph.

Phillip Currie

Phillip Currie is one of the world’s leading paleontologists and has brought much honour to his profession. He has encouraged many to explore the discipline—from inspiring the dinosaur dreams of school children to motivating graduate students to seek fulfilling careers in dinosaur research.

Currie has popularized dinosaurs in print and on television and has brought paleontological research to the forefront not only in Canada but around the world. He has appeared in more than 600 newspaper, magazine, radio, film and television programs. He was a scientific consultant on the IMAX film T-Rex in the late 1990s and appeared in National Geographic magazine, Time magazine and, from 1995 to 1996, did a weekly dinosaur report called Dinosaur Tracks for the Discovery Channel of Canada.

He has conducted fieldwork around the world on many occasions supported by the National Geographic Society in Canada, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China and the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

Currie has published more than 100 refereed journal articles on dinosaurs in such distinguished publications as the Journal of Paleontology, the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. Also, he has more than 90 non-technical publications about dinosaurs and is the author of 14 books.

Currie is a professor at the University of Alberta as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary.

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal

His Royal Highness Prince El Hasan bin Talal is a world leader in interfaith dialogue and cultural understanding. He is president emeritus of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, president of the Foundation for Inter-religious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue, and president of the Arab Thought Forum.

Hasan has worked tirelessly for inter-faith understanding and peace around the world, particularly in the Middle East. He continues to travel the world, bringing people of all faiths, traditions and political persuasions together, seeking a peaceful and sustainable world.

He is the author of eight books, including Search for Peace, and holds honorary degrees from the University of Durham, University of Ulster, University of Birmingham, University of Oklahoma and University of York, among others.
Hasan was officially invested as the Crown Prince to the Hashemite Throne of Jordan in 1965. He served as Crown Prince until 1999 when the late King’s son Abdullah succeeded to the throne.

On March 31, Hasan received the Calgary Peace Prize, jointly awarded by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and the Chancellor of the University of Calgary, in recognition of his lifelong contribution to world peace and understanding.

Mary Hetherington

Mary Hetherington graduated from Dalhousie University in 1963 with an LLB and practiced law for 11 years in Calgary. During that time, she participated in several high-profile criminal cases. In 1978, she became the first female judge in Calgary when she was appointed to the District Court of Alberta. 

In 1985, Hetherington was the first woman appointed to both the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal. In 1999, she was named deputy judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice and judge of the Court of Appeal of Nunavut. In 2001, she retired from the Alberta Court of Appeal and joined ADR Chambers, an alternative dispute resolution group.

In addition to her extensive judicial responsibilities, she is an active contributor to legal education as a guest lecturer at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta law schools, and has also participated in their Moot Court programs. She has also lectured at the National Judicial Institute, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice and the Legal Educational Society of Alberta.

Hetherington is also a significant advocate for abused and disadvantaged women and seniors. She has served on the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society board, volunteered at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and is the honorary director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary and Discovery House, a second stage shelter for abused women and their children.

John C.S. Lau

John C.S. Lau delivers dynamic leadership in his role as the chief executive officer of Husky Energy. During his term, Husky has grown into one of Canada’s major integrated energy corporations.
Husky Energy has been recognized not only for its business success, but has also received numerous awards and honours for diversity and achievements in quality workplace conditions. Oilweek magazine named Husky Energy Producer of the Year in 2002 and 2007.

Lau has graduate degrees in economics and commerce from the University of Queensland, Australia. He served in a number executive roles within the Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Hutchison Whampoa Limited group of companies before his appointment as chief executive officer of Husky in 1993.

He has been commended for his long-term commitment to improving relationships with Canada’s First Nations and was named Frog Lake First Nation’s Honorary chief, Chief Earth Child and the Blood Nation’s Honorary Chief, Chief Wolf Dog.

Lau has also served on numerous boards such as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Alberta Economic Development Authority, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors and the University of Ottawa’s National Campaign Cabinet, which oversees a $200-million fundraising campaign.

Beverley Longstaff

First elected as the Ward 7 alderman in 1989, Beverley Longstaff was re-elected three times and served on the City of Calgary’s City Council from 1989 to 2001. After four terms as alderman, she ran for mayor in the 2001 municipal election and placed second.

While on council, Longstaff served on 40 city committees and made community safety her priority. In addition to these commitments, she was a director of ENMAX Corporation from 1997 to 2001.

Longstaff continues to serve her community in a number of volunteer positions. She co-chairs Homefront, a coordinated response to domestic violence; is the chair of the Salvation Army Board of Governance; is a board member of the United Way of Calgary; sits on the Sustained Poverty Reduction Initiative; is on the SAIT Polytechnic Board of Governors; is board chair for HomeCo, a non-profit housing development company; and is the affordable housing advisor for the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Longstaff was born in Calgary in 1946. After graduating from Queen Elizabeth High School, she travelled, worked and then completed her diploma in engineering graphic technology from SAIT. After working in the engineering drafting field for a number of years, she became an instructor at SAIT in the engineering drafting department for 10 years until her election to political office.

Lanny McDonald

Lanny McDonald is one of the most well-known players in the National Hockey League (NHL). Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, McDonald played 16 seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and the final seven and a half years of his career with the Calgary Flames.
During his illustrious career, he recorded 500 goals, 506 assists and 1,006 points in 1,111 games. McDonald was named NHL Man of the Year in 1989, which recognized his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. McDonald, who holds the Flames record for most goals in a season—66 goals in 1982-83—retired after the 1988-89 season, but not before capturing the Stanley Cup as co-captain of the Flames. His number nine jersey was retired by the Flames organization in 1990.

McDonald joined the Calgary Flames in a management capacity immediately following his playing career in 1989 and in past years has served as vice-president of corporate development, vice-president of marketing and advisor to the Flames general manager on hockey matters as well as strategic marketing. McDonald has been active as general manager and director of player personnel for the Canadian national men’s hockey team and plays in the Oldtimers’ Hockey Challenge for charity.

McDonald went to school in Medicine Hat and since high school has acquired a wealth of learning and education due to his selfless contribution to his community, his approachability in business, his willingness to ask questions and his contribution to charities across North America. McDonald continues to assist charities such as Big Brothers, Ronald McDonald House and the Special Olympics.

Ruth Ramsden-Wood

Ruth Ramsden-Wood is passionate about being involved in her community in order to make it a better place for everyone. She became president of United Way of Calgary and Area in 1997 and has led the organization through a major strategic direction change. Once a fund distributor, United Way is now a catalyst for social action in the community that facilitates solutions to social issues, examines root causes and creates long-term change.

In 2001, the Strategic Leadership Forum presented her with the President of the Year award. In 2005, the United Way of Calgary and Area was the recipient of the Management and Staff Team (MAST) Award for outstanding employee and volunteer engagement. In 2007, Ramsden-Wood was named a Woman of Vision in Calgary and a Woman of Influence in Canada.

Ramsden-Wood is past co-chair of the imagineCALGARY roundtable for the City of Calgary. She is a member of the board of directors for the Calgary Homeless Foundation, a member of the Council of Champions for The Calgary Children’s Initiative and a member of Mount Royal College’s board of governors.

Ramsden-Wood is focused on coordinating services, building a sense of community for people who need support and bringing about public policy changes that will impact root causes of social issues. She is engaged in leadership committees in the community and wants others to be engaged meaningfully as well.

Bob White

Since his arrival on the theatre scene, Bob White has brought a whole new awareness to Canadian playwriting through dramaturgy, direction and production of a significant body of new Canadian dramatic work. During this time he has mentored and encouraged hundreds of new writers and fostered the work of many more already established.

Since 1999, White has served as artistic director of Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP) and is the program co-director of the Banff Playwrights Colony.

He came to Calgary in 1987 after a decade at Factory Theatre in Toronto, where he also programmed and developed new work. He has also worked as artistic director at Playwrights Workshop Montreal, as a dramaturge for the Manitoba Association of Playwrights and for the Playwrights Union of Canada.

Since joining the team at ATP, he has directed almost 50 plays. Who Has Seen the Wind, Wit, and A Guide to Mourning have all won Betty Mitchell Awards for outstanding direction. White’s other honours include: The National Play Development Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian theatre; the 125 Anniversary medal for distinguished service to Canadian theatre; and the Harry and Martha Cohen Award for sustained contribution for the development of theatre in Calgary.

White received his Bachelor of Arts in English at Loyola College in Montreal and his Masters of Drama at the University of Alberta.