MiMi Aung and Robert Houle offer words of advice to the Class of 2023

Watch videos of this year’s honorary doctorate recipients as they offer sage counsel to the Fall Class of 2023

On November 20, some 1,000 students crossed the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier stage in Place des Arts to accept their degrees during Fall 2023 Convocation. 

During the morning event, the University presented MiMi Aung with the Doctor of Science, honoris causaDuring the afternoon Convocation ceremony, the University awarded artist and McGill graduate Robert Houle the honour of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. 

Click on the videos below to hear their speeches.

MiMi Aung, Doctor of Science, honoris causa 

Owen Egan / Joni Dufour

MiMi Aung is a pioneering space engineer. While working for theNASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Aung led the creation and flight of the first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another planet. On April 19, 2021, “Ingenuity” took off in the thin Martian atmosphere and stayed aloft for 39 seconds. In comparison, the first Wright brothers flight lasted 12 seconds within Earth’s known atmosphere. In the last couple of years, “Ingenuity” has flown over 60 successful missions.  

Before leaving the JPL, Aung also worked on the Psyche asteroid mission. Its goal is a rendez-vous between a spacecraft and an asteroid, six years from now. Psyche’s closest point to Earth’s orbit will be some 150 million miles away.  

In July 2021, Aung closed her 30 years at JPL and became director of technical program management for Amazon’s Project Kuiper. The initiative seeks to increase broadband internet access through an array of satellites in low Earth orbit.  

Watch MiMi Aung’s address below

Robert Houle, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa 

Owen Egan / Joni Dufour

Houle is a residential school survivor who found his way beyond trauma through painting and drawing. Over the last 50 years, he has become a leading figure of contemporary Canadian art. He has also been a tireless advocate for the recognition of Indigenous artists and Indigenous leadership within academic and cultural institutions.    

Houle was the first Indigenous curator of contemporary Indigenous art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History). He was also the first professor of Indigenous Studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He is the recipient of many honours and awards, including the Janet Braide Memorial Award for Excellence in Canadian Art History, which he won twice. 

Watch Robert Houle’s address below


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