Two inspirational McGill alumni – Bertrand Cesvet, of the award-winning creative agency Sid Lee, and Joanne Liu, of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders – will receive honorary doctorate degrees at the university’s fall convocation ceremonies.
The graduation events will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Place des Arts (175 St. Catherine Street West). Two ceremonies will take place, the first starting at 10 a.m. and the second at 2:30 p.m. Mr. Cesvet will receive a Doctor of Letters degree at the morning session; Dr. Liu will receive a Doctor of Science degree in the afternoon.
Bertrand Cesvet (BA’86, MBA’90) joined the creative services firm Sid Lee in 1997 as Executive Chairman and Senior Partner. Under his leadership the firm has grown from a small and promising creative shop in Montreal, to an international powerhouse known for its creativity, originality and unique business model. The agency has won a host of awards and accolades over the years. Marketing Magazine named Sid Lee Agency of the Year three years in a row from 2009 to 2011. Cesvet is also a dedicated community leader. In 2012, together with his Sid Lee partners and Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre (LL.D. ’12), Cesvet launched the C2 Montréal business conference, which focuses on creativity and commerce by bringing to Montreal some of the world’s most innovative thought leaders. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and of the ONE DROP Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on water as a transformative agent to improve the living conditions of people around the world.
Dr. Joanne Liu
Joanne Liu (MDCM’91, IMHL’14) studied medicine at McGill and went on to specialize in pediatric emergency care; she later returned to McGill to complete the International Masters for Health Leadership Program. As a practicing physician, she has had a distinguished 20-year engagement with Médecins Sans Frontières, culminating in her election as its International President in 2013. During her tenure at MSF, Dr. Liu has worked with Malian refugees in Mauritania, people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Indonesia, and war-wounded patients in Syria. She also helped develop one of the first programs offering comprehensive medical care for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2014, in the face of an ineffective global response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, she spearheaded a campaign to marshal world support. She has also spoken twice at the United Nations Security Council to denounce attacks on hospitals in armed conflicts. In 2015, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential People by TIME magazine.