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Alongside 5,600 graduates, Concordia University honours 11 exceptional individuals

Distinguished recipients include Indigenous leaders, a chief scientist at NASA, and a Rwandan government official
May 9, 2018

This June, Concordia will present honorary doctorates to 11 individuals who have made their mark in the fields of law, art, Indigenous rights, journalism, nanoscience, business and philanthropy.

They will receive their honorary doctorates during the university's spring convocation ceremonies on June 11, 12 and 13, 2018 in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts.

The honorands join more than 5,600 students from four Faculties and the School of Graduate Studies who will be receiving their diplomas.

Concordia’s 2018 spring convocation: the honorands

Edith Cloutier

Edith Cloutier

For her empowerment of Indigenous people and bridge-building with the wider community

Edith Cloutier, member of the Anicinabe Nation, has been executive director of the Val d’Or Native Friendship Centre since 1989 and president of the Regroupement des Centres d’amitié autochtones du Quebec for more than 20 years.

The first Indigenous woman to chair the board of a university in Québec, Cloutier played a key role in the creation of the Université du Quebec en Abitibi-Temiscamingue’s First Peoples Pavillion.

Her outstanding support for Aboriginal women in Val-d’Or who reported situations of abuse of power led to widespread mobilization to counter violence against women throughout Québec. In 2016, Cloutier was presented with Québec's Prix de la justice for her leadership in the fight against racial discrimination.

Since 2014, Cloutier has also served as co-director of DIALOG, a SSHRC and FRQSC-funded research network of 100 researchers and Indigenous partners. Its projects explore new means of enhancing Indigenous cultures and improving the socioeconomic conditions of Indigenous peoples. Concordia is an active partner of DIALOG.

Edith Cloutier will address Concordia's Faculty of Arts and Science on Monday, June 11, at 10 a.m.

Serge Chapleau Serge Chapleau

Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher 

For holding the powerful to account through their sharp “penmanship”

Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher are prolific political cartoonists whose witty pens have skewered leading political and social figures in Quebec and Canada for more than four decades.

They’ve each earned several National Newspaper Awards.

The two subjects of the 2003 documentary film Nothing is Sacred have frequently paired up in recent years for exhibitions, public appearances and the publication of a book of their cartoons.

Chapleau has been the daily cartoonist for La Presse for more than 20 years. He’s also the creator of the iconic character Gerard D. Laflaque, a news anchor who progressed from his original puppet form on Radio-Quebec (now Télé-Québec) to a computer-generated rebirth on Radio-Canada for the past 13 years.

Terry Mosher Terry Mosher

Chapleau is also a musician, who plays drums and the harmonica.

Best known by his “nom de plume” Aislin, Terry Mosher has been the Montreal Gazette’s main cartoonist since 1972.

Subject of a recent retrospective at the McCord Museum, Mosher’s work has been syndicated across Canada and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Harper’s and Punch.

Mosher was a 10-year member of the Board of Directors of the Old Brewery Mission.

Currently he supports several dozen other charitable organizations in Montreal and Ottawa with annual donations of his Aislin cartoons for fund-raising purposes.

Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher will address the Faculty of Arts and Science on Monday, June 11, at 3 p.m.

Chief Wilton Littlechild (Walking Wolf)

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild

For his leadership and advocacy on behalf of Indigenous peoples

One of three commissioners who led Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) examining the country’s history of residential schools, Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild attended such a school himself.

In 1976, Littlechild became the first Treaty Indian in Alberta to earn a law degree. His law practice has centred on international and Indigenous law.

Littlechild was elected member of parliament for the riding of Wetaskiwin-Rimby (1988-1993). He served on several senior committees in the House of Commons as well as two terms as the North American representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and chairperson of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Littlechild is the founder of the International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development, a United Nations non-governmental organization. 

He is also a founder of the North American Indigenous Games, and the World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games. Recently inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Littlechild won more than 50 regional, provincial, national and international championships in hockey, baseball and swimming.

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild will address the Faculty of Arts and Science on Monday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Meyya Meyyappan

Meyya Meyyappan

For his pioneering research in nanotechnology and extensive volunteer educational outreach

Meyya Meyyappan holds the unique distinction of being the developer of the first and only nanotechnology product to be flown to outer space. In 2007, the U.S. Navy tested his nano-chemical sensor aboard a satellite and later for crew cabin air quality monitoring in the International Space Station.

Meyyappan’s team was also the first to integrate nano chemsensors on smartphones, delivering phones with a gas sensor chip to the US Department of Homeland Security.

One of the most highly respected nanotechnology researchers in the world, Meyyappan has published more than 370 peer-reviewed journal articles.

He also holds 22 patents in nanotechnology, many of which have been licensed by industry. Meyyappan has been a generous and tireless volunteer educating students, professionals and the wider public through his activities, including organizing short courses on nanotechnology, sponsored by NATO.

Concordia hosted one such popular short course, intended for academics and industry, for two years running. Having earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Meyyappan fondly recalls his first exposure to hockey was at Clarkson-Concordia games.

Meyya Meyyappan will address the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science on Tuesday, June 12, at 10 a.m.

Lorne Trottier and Louise Rousselle Trottier

Lorne Trottier and Louise Rousselle Trottier

For their business acumen and philanthropy

Heeding Bill Gates’ call for the fortunate to give back, Lorne and Louise Trottier created the Trottier Family Foundation in 2000 to support initiatives in education, science, technology, environment, and health care.

Among its most recent gifts is a contribution to support the construction of a solar powered bus shelter on Concordia’s Loyola Campus. Product of a student design competition, the project will be carried out as a joint initiative of the University Chair in Integrated Design Ecology and Sustainability for the Built Environment and Concordia’s Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies (CZEBS).

A self-described “geek” who has been passionate about science and technology since childhood, Lorne Trottier worked at Marconi, a radar communications systems developer before co-founding Matrox in 1976 with business partner Branko Matic.

The company made its mark for designing innovative solutions and products in graphics imaging, and video, with Trottier at the helm of research and development.

Louise Rousselle Trottier is a Concordia economics alumna (BA 76) who attended night classes so she could work throughout her studies. She funded the Louise Rousselle Trottier Bursary in Arts and Science. It’s intended as a safety net for students to better meet with the challenging realities of working on a degree while pursuing full-time work.

Lorne Trottier and Louise Rousselle Trottier will address the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science on Tuesday, June 12, at 3 p.m.

Clare Akamanzi

Clare Akamanzi

For her contribution in improving the business environment, private sector development, and standards of living for Rwandans

An international trade and investment lawyer, Clare Akamanzi received a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School (HKS). She received awards for academic excellence and distinguished contributions to the HKS community.

Akamanzi also holds an LLM (with distinction) in International Trade and Investment from the University of Pretoria as well as an LLM (honors) from Makerere University, Uganda.

During her international career, Akamanzi has worked as a commercial diplomat in London and a Trade Negotiator at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

In 2012, she was named Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and a year later was selected as one of Africa’s Top 20 Leading Women in Economic Development by Forbes.

Clare Akamanzi will address the John Molson School of Business on Wednesday, June 13, at 10 a.m.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

For her mastery of the art and science of her profession

Over the past 65 years, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has collaborated on a wide range of projects with internationally acclaimed architects such as Renzo Piano on the New York Times Building, Moshe Safdie on the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Public Library, and the late Arthur Erickson on Robson Square and the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Widely recognized as Canada’s premier landscape architect, Hahn Oberlander has always been mindful of the environment and is a leader in researching green solutions. Governor General David Johnston praised her “…expert technical knowledge… coupled with her concern for expressing cultural and environmental concepts in her work…”

A graduate of Smith College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Hahn Oberlander has received numerous distinctions including: the International Federation of Architects Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award, the American Society of Landscape Architects Medal, the Margolese National Design for Living Prize, and the Landscape Architecture Foundation Medal.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander will receive her honorary degree at a special ceremony on Wednesday, June 13, at 1 p.m. 

Robert Briscoe

Robert Briscoe

For his management and investment leadership and his support for post-secondary education

Over the course of his five-decade career, Robert Briscoe has owned, operated, and invested in companies in a diversity of sectors including several in food distribution. For the past three decades, Briscoe has been president of Macco Organiques. He also owns the holding company Robraye Management and Quebec-based food distributor Dubé Loiselle.

An alumnus of Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions, Briscoe has spoken openly of his gratitude for the university’s flexible schedule allowing him to pursue night classes in order to obtain his BSc and MBA.

In 2016, a major gift from the Briscoes supported the launch of the Bob and Raye Briscoe Centre in Business Ownership Studies, allowing Concordia to offer new opportunities for teaching and research in the field of business ownership.

An active corporate board member, Briscoe was chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce from 2001 to 2002. He supports several Montreal charities and organizations including the  Brome Missisquoi Perkins Hospital and the Butters Foundation, which provides services for intellectually disabled and autistic people.

Robert Briscoe will address the John Molson School of Business on Wednesday, June 13, at 3 p.m.

Peter Schumann

Peter Schumann

For his creative vision and his political activism

In 1963 Peter Schumann and his wife Elka Leigh Scott founded Bread and Puppet Theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The company went on to tour the world with its banners, masks and distinctive characters, often more than six metres tall, towering over demonstrations against the Vietnam War and other protest movements.

The longest running independent theatre company in the US, Bread and Puppet Theatre is now headquartered at a sustainable farm in northern Vermont. It hosts hundreds of students and artists who contribute to the production of its renowned summer performances.

Drawing as many as 40,000 people to its summer shows, the company’s central commitment is to community theatre as a means of political resistance. Bread and Puppet’s international reach extends to Palestine and Haiti where the company helps mobilize local activists.

A visual artist and author, Schumann wrote the Cheap Art Manifesto and lives by its tenets, selling calendars, postcards, posters, booklets and banners so people can own artworks for a modest price.

Peter Schumann will address the Faculty of Fine Arts on June 13, at 7:30 p.m.


Find out more about Concordia's spring 2018 convocation ceremonies.

Fiona Downey
Public Affairs
514-848-2424, ext. 2518

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