UWindsor Announces 2011 honorary degree recipients

University to mark 100,000th graduate during Spring 2011 Convocation ceremonies

WINDSOR, ON, May 19 /CNW/ - The University of Windsor will confer honorary degrees during Spring Convocation ceremonies June 15, 16 and 17 on individuals who have made outstanding contributions to business, sports, law, government, the arts, social justice and community service.

Celebrating its 95th Convocation ceremonies, the University will confer a degree on its 100,000th graduate, who will be joining the alumni family this spring. The University will not single out any one individual as its 100,000th graduate, but rather will celebrate the achievements and potential of every graduate of the class of 2011. Student profiles representing a cross section of the 2011 Spring Convocation class are available at www.uwindsor.ca/2011 grads.

Receiving honorary degrees are:

  • Belinda Stronach, Chair of the Belinda Stronach Foundation
  • Maestro John Morris Russell, Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra
  • Michael Mueller, alumnus and tireless UWindsor supporter
  • Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Olympic hockey player and sportscaster
  • The Honourable Justice Robert J. Sharpe, Judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario

Belinda Stronach will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 15, session of Convocation. She is a business and public leader who is focused on developing innovative solutions to the challenges of poverty, economic opportunity and quality of life, both at home and abroad. She is the former Executive Vice-Chairman of Magna International Inc., where she also served on the board of directors and as the company's president and CEO. Stronach entered politics in 2004 after having been one of the key individuals involved in uniting the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties. She subsequently ran for the national leadership of the new Conservative Party and was elected to the House of Commons in 2004 as a Conservative MP. In 2005 she joined the Liberal Party and served as an MP for Newmarket-Aurora until October, 2008. She held a Cabinet position in the Liberal government and served as Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development; Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal; and Minister responsible for Service Canada.

While in Cabinet, she was elected Chair of the Liberal Women's Caucus and is an honorary director of the party's Judy LaMarsh Fund, established to encourage more women to enter public life.

Among her many contributions to the cause of social justice, Stronach established the Belinda Stronach Foundation, to provide education opportunities for young women and aboriginal youth, and to improve the lives of young people in developing nations. In partnership with Canadian television personality Rick Mercer, she co-founded Spread the Net, a grassroots fundraising campaign started in 2006 to raise awareness and funds to combat death from malaria, following a 2005 trip to Africa where she witnessed its devastating effects first-hand. Stronach is also the co-founder and honorary chair of Belinda's Place, York Region's first homeless women's shelter, scheduled to open in 2012.

Following her personal experience with breast cancer in 2007, she also established the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation. She is a strong supporter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and has served as honorary chair of the foundation's CIBC-Run for the Cure.

Among many other honors, Stronach received the Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2008, one of the highest honours that Rotary International can bestow on an individual, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the ideals the club represents.

Maestro John Morris Russell will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., Thursday, June 16, session of Convocation. During his 10 years as Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Russell has fostered unprecedented growth and invigorated the musical life of the Windsor-Essex region. He is widely considered North America's leader in orchestral educational programming and from 1997 to 2009 conducted the "LinkUP!" educational concert series at Carnegie Hall. The series is the oldest and most celebrated of its kind, created in 1891 and made famous by Leonard Bernstein. The Sound Discoveries series Russell developed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra remains a leading model for education concerts, and in Windsor, he created the Peanut Butter 'n Jam and Family Jamboree concert series, especially for youngsters and families. He spearheaded the creation of The Windsor-Essex Youth choir and the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra and has forged performance partnerships with the University of Windsor School of Music, the Windsor Centre for the Creative Arts and dozens of choral, dance and performing ensembles throughout the community. Since the creation of his One Community - One Symphony project in 2008, he has worked with more than 1,000 teenagers in school music programs and his education concerts have engaged more than 100,000 students and teachers in Essex, Lambton and Kent counties.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra has made 17 CBC broadcasts and received Gemini and Juno Award nominations under his direction. The WSO's first nationally televised production was created with Russell for the CBC Television series Opening Night, which won the Gold World medal for Best Performance Program at the New York Festival Awards for Television and New Media, as well as a Gemini Award nomination. He created the WSO's first multi-year composer-in-residence position and is deeply involved in the production of the annual Windsor Canadian Music Festival.

Russell has led many of North America's most distinguished ensembles, including the orchestras of Toronto, the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was named principal guest conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.

Russell is a two-time recipient of Ontario's Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts; the Ontario Art's Council's Vida Peen Award for Artistic Excellence; the Arts Leadership Award by the Windsor Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of his contributions to the region's cultural life; and the Herb Gray Harmony Award by the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, in recognition of the WSO's programming and outreach activities to support and celebrate the region's diversity.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from William College in Massachusetts and a Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London; the Cleveland Institute of Music; the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado; and the Pierre Monteaux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine. In December, 2010, he was named Conductor Designate of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and will begin his full-time tenure with the Pops in September, leading performances at Cincinnati's Music Hall and the Riverbend Music Center.

Michael J. Mueller (B.Comm.'70) will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 3 p.m., June 16, session of Convocation. He was the National Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Canada, and served as Global Leader of the organization's Middle Market practice until 2007. Among other positions, he served as a Managing Partner of the Windsor office. He has been a Director of SMART Technologies Inc. since 2010 and a member of the board of directors for Hydro One Inc. since 2007.

Mueller currently sits on the board of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Commission; is a member of the Ontario Ministry of Finance Economic Advisory Panel; and is Chair of the Management Advisory Board for the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor.

He served as President and Chair of the Windsor Symphony Society; President of the Better Business Bureau of Windsor; Director of the Rotary Club of Windsor; President of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Windsor and Essex County; and was a member of the Stratford Festival's board of governors.

Mueller is an avid University of Windsor supporter, has mentored many UWindsor business students and has assisted the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration in raising the profile and reputation of the Odette School of Business. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Business Valuator.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10 a.m., June 17, session of Convocation. She is the only captain to lead a Canadian hockey team to two Olympic gold medals - Salt Lake City in 2002 and Turin in 2006 - as well as a silver medal at the Nagano Olympics in 1998.  Campbell-Pascall was captain of Canada's National Women's hockey team from 2001 to her retirement in 2006, making her the longest-serving captain in Canadian hockey history. In total, she won 21 medals with Canada's national women's teams, including 17 gold and four silver medals. She was the first female hockey player elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was voted the Toronto Sun's Sportsperson of the Year in 2006.

She was the first woman to do colour commentating on Hockey Night in Canada and currently works as a TV analyst for TSN's women's hockey coverage, as well as providing colour commentary for TSN, The Score, the NHL Network and Hockey Night in Canada, as well as radio work during Calgary Flames games.

She is the founder of the Cassie Campbell Street Hockey Tournament, which raises more than $200,000 a year for Ronald McDonald House; is a spokesperson and host for Hockey Canada's Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey program, which encourages skill development and social principles for players and parents; a spokesperson for HIP, a smoking prevention program for young girls; and supports Applewood Acres Charity, a community school for intellectually and physically challenged children.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall is the author of two books - H.E.A.R.T., a children's book, and Some Things I Have Learned.

The Honourable Justice Robert J. Sharpe will receive an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree during the 3 p.m., June 17, session of Convocation. He has served as a Judge for the Court of Appeal for Ontario since 1999 and served previously as a member of the Ontario Court of Justice. He was Dean of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law from 1990 to 1995 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He received the Ontario Bar Association Distinguished Service Award; was elected a Senior Fellow of Massey College; and received the Mundell Medal for Distinguished Contribution to Law and Letters. He has written and co-written a number of books and scholarly articles and is a frequent law lecturer.

Justice Sharpe was a member of the Advisory Panel to Assist the Constitution of Kenya review Commission, and a member of the International Bar Association Rapid Response missions to investigate threats to judicial independence in Russia and Pakistan.

He is a mentor to law students and has visited the University of Windsor Faculty of Law many times.

Founded in 1963, the University of Windsor has close to 16,000 full-time and part-time students. The University of Windsor's mission is to enable people to make a better world through education, scholarship, research and engagement.

SOURCE University of Windsor

For further information:

Lori Lewis
Manager, News Services
Public Affairs and Communications
519-253-3000 ext. 3241


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