McGill announces Honorary Degree recipients

Luminaries in their fields, this year’s Hon Docs will be honoured during Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies, running from May 28 to June 5

Ten exceptional individuals will receive honorary degrees from McGill as part of Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies. This year’s recipients represent a diverse array of leaders whose contributions span disciplines, industries, and continents.

“The conferral of an honorary degree, McGill’s highest honour, is both a recognition of the transformative power of individual achievement and a celebration of the values and aspirations that unite our community,” said Deep Saini, President of McGill. “Each a poignant testament to the limitless possibilities of human endeavour, our honorary doctorate recipients are wonderful role models for the Class of 2024, and an inspiration to us all.”

McGill grants honorary degrees – the highest honours conferred by the University – to individuals who have lifetime records of outstanding scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or of exceptional contributions to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity.

Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies will take place from Tuesday, May 28, to Wednesday, June 5.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
Health Sciences (May 28, 10 a.m.)

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan is a globally recognized leader in public health and infectious diseases. A pediatrician and a renowned researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, Dr. Swaminathan has more than 40 years experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into effective programs.

In 2017, Dr. Swaminathan joined the World Health Organization as Deputy Director General (Programmes), and, in March 2019, was named its first Chief Scientist, a role she filled until late 2022. Swaminathan’s leadership at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in coordinating research efforts, disseminating crucial information, and advising policymakers on effective strategies to control the spread of the virus.


Monique Leroux: Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Desautels Faculty of Management (May 29, 10 a.m.)

Monique Leroux is a prominent Canadian business leader and advocate for corporate social responsibility. With a distinguished career spanning finance, insurance, and cooperative sectors, Leroux has left an indelible mark on the Canadian business landscape.

Leroux was the first woman to lead a major Canadian financial institution, serving as Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group from 2008 to 2016.

Beyond her corporate achievements, Leroux is actively involved in various philanthropic endeavors, serving on the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to arts, education, and youth. Her unwavering commitment to ethical leadership continues to inspire future generations of leaders striving to make a positive impact on society.


Chile Eboe-Osuji: Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Faculty of Law (May 29, 3 p.m.)

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji is a prominent figure in international law, renowned for his contributions to the field of human rights and international criminal justice.

Born in Nigeria, Eboe-Osuji has distinguished himself as a legal scholar, advocate, and jurist. He served as a judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he made significant strides in prosecuting individuals for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. He also served as ICC president, prioritizing the impartial application of international law.

Beyond his judicial duties, Eboe-Osuji is a respected author and lecturer, sharing his expertise on international law and human rights with audiences worldwide. His legacy continues to inspire future generations of legal professionals dedicated to upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law.


Louis Lortie: Doctor of Music, honoris causa (D. Mus.)
Schulich School of Music (May 29, 3 p.m.)

Montreal native Louis Lortie is a world-renowned pianist celebrated for his virtuosic performances and profound musical interpretations. Considered one of the leading pianists of his generation, Lortie has captivated audiences with his exceptional technique and artistic sensitivity.

A prolific artist, he has produced more than 45 recordings for Chandos Records featuring the pillars of piano literature. He is followed by more than 300,000 listeners monthly on streaming platforms and generated more than 6 million streams in 2022.

Beyond his solo career, Lortie is also an esteemed chamber musician, known for his collaborative spirit and musical depth. As a passionate advocate for music education, he frequently engages in teaching and mentoring activities, inspiring the next generation of pianists.


Shoshana Zuboff: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
Faculty of Engineering (May 30, 10 a.m.)

Shoshana Zuboff is a pioneering scholar and author renowned for her profound insights into the intersection of technology, economics, and society. With a distinguished career spanning academia and public discourse, she has become a leading voice in understanding the implications of surveillance capitalism.

Zuboff, who holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School.

The author of three seminal books, each signaling a new epoch in technological society, Zuboff has predicted everything from the computer revolution in the workplace; to the rise of digitally mediated products and services tailored to the individual; to the advent of the surveillance economy.


Carl James: Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (D.Litt.)
Faculty of Education (May 30, 3 p.m.)

Carl James is a distinguished scholar and advocate for equity and diversity in education and society. Coming to Canada from the Caribbean in the early 1970s, he has dedicated his career to researching and addressing issues of race, immigration, and education.

The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, at York University, James is a former founding Director of the York Centre for Education and Community. He also served as the Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation in York’s Office of the Vice-President of Equity, People and Culture; and presently serves as the Equity Advisor to the Dean in the Faculty of Education.

James is renowned for his groundbreaking body of research in Black education in Canada, and in multicultural and anti-racist education worldwide.


Frederic Bertley: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
Faculty of Science (May 31, 10 a.m.)

Born in Montreal, from a family of numerous McGill graduates, “Dr. B.” earned a B.Sc. in Physiology and Mathematics, and a PhD in Immunology from McGill.

For the past eight years, Bertley has served as the President and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Under Bertley’s leadership, COSI has gained national prominence as one of the top science museums in the U.S., boasting the largest science outreach program in North America.

A staunch advocate for innovation and critical thinking, Bertley is committed to democratizing access to STEM subjects and works toward this goal through a variety of cutting-edge initiatives, outreach efforts, and widespread participation. He strives to make science accessible and engaging for people of all ages and backgrounds.


Edward Burtynsky, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Faculty of Arts (June 3, 10 a.m.)

Photo: Birgit_Kleber

With a career spanning over 40 years, Edward Burtynsky, is a luminary of contemporary photography, capturing the intersection of industry, nature, and humanity with profound insight and artistry. Renowned for his large-scale, meticulously detailed images, Burtynsky’s work serves as a powerful visual commentary on the impact of human activity on the environment.

Burtynsky’s​ many distinctions include the inaugural TED Prize (which he shared with Bono and Robert Fischell), the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, and an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and was named the 2022 recipient for the annual Pollution Probe Award.


Minnie Grey, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
School of Continuing Studies (June 4, 3 p.m.)

Born in Kangirsuk, on the western shore of Ungava Bay, Minnie Grey has spent nearly 40 years advocating for the health and well-being of Inuit and the Inuit ways of life  in various polar regions.

As a former Vice-President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, as chief negotiator for the establishment of a Nunavik regional government, and as co-founder and board member of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, she has played a pivotal role at local and national levels.

In her decade-long tenure as executive director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, from which she retired in 2022, Grey worked to develop and implement vital health policies – particularly those needed to address the critical issues of youth mental health and suicide risk.


Marcel Groleau: Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (June 5, 2:30 p.m.)

Having grown up on the family dairy farm in Thetford Mines, Quebec, Marcel Groleau champions policies that support sustainable agriculture, rural development, and the well-being of farming communities.

Groleau joined the board of the Syndicat des producteurs de lait de Québec in 1990; and the board of the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec in 1992, where he became president in 2004. In 2005, Groleau joined the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), serving as president from 2011 until 2021.

Today, Groleau is president of UPA DI – an international cooperative of 15 countries to promote a strong family agricultural sector. He is also President of the Feeding Humanity Sustainably Coalition, which brings together 60 member organizations and works to ensure food access and security.  In 2023, Groleau was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.


Notify of

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, comments appear with first and last names (no pseudonyms) and may be published in whole or in part, at the discretion of the Reporter. Please be constructive and respectful; all comments are moderated according to the Reporter’s guidelines. We reserve the right to close comments on individual stories. Please note that the University does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dr. Rajni Saksena
26 days ago

Dr Swaminathan is from India. Daughter of father who brought about a green revolution in India.
Very Elegant lady deserve a honorary degree from Mcgill.
Congratulations !