Crago and Crépeau among McGillians honored by G-G

On Dec. 29, the Governor General got a jump on the New Year celebrations by announcing 125 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Several members of the McGill community will be receiving what is widely considered the country’s highest civilian honour.


Order of Canada Investiture CeremonyAs is the New Year custom, on December 29, Governor General Julie Payette (BEng’86) announced the 125 newest appointments to the Order of Canada.

Among the McGillians to make the prestigious list were Law professor François Crépeau and Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) Martha Crago, who were appointed Officer and Member, respectively. Professor emeritus Barry Pless was promoted to Officer. Landscape architect and honorary doctorate recipient Cornelia Hahn Oberlander was promoted to Companion, the highest rank in the Order of Canada.

In addition, three McGill grads were appointed Officers:

  • Sally Armstrong (BEd’66, DLitt’02), human rights activist, journalist and author
  • Joseph Martin (DSc’94), neurobiologist and former Chair of McGill’s Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • William Shatner (BCom’52, Hon DLitt’11), film and television actor known for his iconic role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek

Four grads were made Members of the Order:

  • John W. Hilborn (MSc’51, PhD’54), nuclear physicist
  • Judy Illes (MA’83), neuroscientist
  • John Lord (BEd’64), disabilities researcher and advocate
  • Nancy Neamtan (BA’72), social and economic advocate

True to form, the social-media savvy Shatner took to Twitter to express his feelings: “I am very proud to receive the Order of Canada. It means a great deal to Canadians to receive this award and therefore it means a great deal to me.” (Later, when asked if he is to be addressed as “Sir William” or “Lord Shatner,” the actor twit-quipped, “Supreme Lord Shatner will do, and bow and kiss my ring.”)

The Order of Canada was created in 1967, and is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Appointments to the Order recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation. The newest appointments comprise four Companions, 35 Officers and 86 Members.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

Law professor François Crépeau

Prof. François Crépeau (BCL’82, LLB’82) was honored for his “research and contributions to international law and for his efforts to promote civil rights, particularly with respect to refugees.” He has served as Director of McGill’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism since 2015, and holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law. Crépeau previously served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants from 2011 to 2017. His research focuses on migration control mechanisms, the rights of foreigners, the interface between security and migration, and the interface between the Rule of Law and globalization.

“This award is a great honour,” says Prof. Crépeau. “I owe it to the migrants who have inspired me by their courage and determination in the uphill struggle for their rights. Creating, against all odds, a future for themselves and their families, migrants make an invaluable and too often unrecognised contribution to their host communities.”

Martha Crago, V-P (Research and Innovation)

V-P Martha Crago (BA’68, MSc(A)’70, PhD’88) returned to McGill in July 2017 after a decade spent in senior administration positions at Université de Montréal and Dalhousie University. After completing her studies here, she was appointed a professor in McGill’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her five years as Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (2000-2005) earned her the honour of having a lounge named after her in Thomson House. Crago was named a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of “her contributions to research and innovation in Canada, notably in the area of ocean science.”

“I am deeply honoured to be named a member of the Order of Canada,” says V-P Crago. “It is an honour that rightfully belongs to the many talented people along side of whom I have had the privilege of  working and learning. In particular, my love and belief in the power of research was forged over more than forty years by McGill’s culture of research ambition and the excellence of its professors, many of whom taught me and then became my colleagues.”

Dr. Barry Pless, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993. He is considered a pioneer in the fields of ambulatory (social) pediatrics, chronic illness, and injury prevention, and was the first Canadian President of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association. His promotion to Officer reflects “his steadfast dedication to improving children’s health as a champion of injury prevention through research and advocacy.”

In recognition of “her long-standing contributions to the field of architecture as a worldwide leader in promoting socially conscious and environmentally responsible landscape designs,” Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (DSc’08) was promoted to Companion. She was first appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

Members of the wider McGill community were also honored. The newest Officers include man of letters Alberto Manguel, who was the McGill Library Scholar in Residence in 2014, and Dr. André Parent, a Université Laval neurobiologist who also serves as a member of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging.

Read the press release issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Glenda Falovitch
6 years ago

Bravo Martha,
You are a very special person receiving a well deserved honour. You taught me lessons in counseling way back in the day as a young S-LP. Now retired from the public sector, I look back at Beatty Hall with affection. Congratulations. Glenda Falovitch

Dr Colin Forbes
6 years ago

Congrats to my friend from Montreal Childrens Hospital days Barry Pless. I returned from many years of service in Africa and have now retired in my homeland ,Jamaica, I would like to contact Barry. Colin.

Nancy Ship
6 years ago

Congratulations Martha! Remember me? Nancy Ship— go wayn way back,

Nancy Ship
6 years ago

Congratulations, Martha! Remember me? Go way, way back——Nancy Ship

Farla Shatner Cohen
6 years ago

How proud we are of our brother, William Shatner, who has achieved such success in his lifetime. His passion, positive attitude, hard work, perseverance, and above all, enormous talent, have brought him to the lofty heights he enjoys today…and, bravo…he is still performing.
His loving sisters.

Farla Shatner Cohen
6 years ago

Congratulations on getting this most prestigious Canadian award! It comes from the country that you grew up in, and are so proud of.