By Cynthia Lee
When some 800 graduating students walk across the stage at Place des Arts during Fall Convocation to accept their degrees on Nov. 23, they will not have to look far for inspiration in terms of what comes next. Four eminent individuals will receive honorary degrees in recognition of their distinguished careers. While they have all followed different paths, one common denominator remains: all are leaders who have excelled in their respective fields. The honorary degree recipients are:
Sheila Goldbloom, CM, CQ.
Doctor of Laws; 10 a.m.
Sheila Goldbloom has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others. From the time she began studying for a Master’s degree in Social Work at McGill in 1964 until her retirement in 1992, Goldbloom made major contributions at organizations such as Centraide, Meals-on-Wheels and the Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. Post-retirement, Goldbloom has continued to help the needy by putting her energy and expertise behind the inception of various community groups with a strong focus on improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable seniors in the province.
Doctor of Laws; 10 a.m.
In 1997, Robert Wetenhall became the owner of the Montreal Alouettes – and so began his pivotal role in the redevelopment of the team and with it the expansion of McGill University’s Percival Molson Stadium. Alongside his success in business as a co-founder of McConnell, Wetenhall and Co., a New York investment banking firm, Wetenhall has also succeeded in serving his community. For the past two decades he has been a trustee of Lennox Hill Hospital, NY, among others. In Quebec, meanwhile, the Alouettes’ close ties to the community have spawned programs such as “School is Cool” which encourages high school and elementary school students to make positive choices.
Doctor of Science; 2:30 p.m.
Dr. Bernice Grafstein is a noted expert in the field of neuroregeneration research. A graduate of McGill, earning her PhD in Physiology in 1954, Grafstein has long been an advocate for women scientists and a role model for many of her women students and colleagues. She was the first woman to be elected President of the Society for Neuroscience. She is currently a Trustee and Vice-President of the Grass Foundation, which supports training and research in neuroscience. Grafstein continues to teach at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York where she has been honoured as the first recipient of the Siegel Family Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service.
John A Rae, CM
Doctor of Laws; 2:30 p.m.
John Rae is the Executive Vice-President, Office of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Power Corporation of Canada, where he has worked as an executive since 1971. Early on, he served as an Executive Assistant to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Northern Development, the Right Hon. Jean Chretien, from 1967-71. Rae has been on the Board of Power Corporation of Canada since May 1988 and also serves on the boards of BNP-Paribas Bank of Canada and the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation. On top of his business accumen, Rae is well known for his philanthropic support in the areas of education, medicine, culture and community causes, notably at Queen’s University, the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal Heart Institute and the Centaur Theatre.