Some 1,500 graduating students will be receiving their diplomas at this year’s two Fall Convocation ceremonies on Mon., Nov. 29 in Place des Arts’ Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. Two longtime McGill stalwarts will receive honorary doctorates during the ceremonies, where the Principal’s Awards will also be handed out. This year, one winner in each of five categories will receive the Principal’s Award for Administrative and Support Staff. Four Principal’s Prizes for Excellence in Teaching will also be awarded, as will one new honour, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Learning. Read about the recipients in the Dec. 2 issue of the Reporter.
This year’s honorary doctorates recipients are Robert Rabinovitch and J. John Cohen.
Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 10 a.m. ceremony
A longtime Canadian public servant and businessman, Robert Rabinovitch worked for the federal government from 1968 to1986, serving as Under Secretary of State from Jan. 1985 to Sept. 1986 and Deputy Minister of Communications from 1982 to 1985. Rabinovitch also held several positions within the Privy Council Office, including Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and Senior Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Priorities and Planning.
After leaving the public service in 1987, Rabinovitch was named Senior Vice-President of Claridge Inc., a private corporation, becoming its executive vice-president and chief operating officer in 1990. He has also sat on a number of corporate boards including TSN and Cineplex-Odeon.
Rabinovitch served as president and chief executive officer of the CBC/Radio-Canada from 1997 to 2007, working to solidify the broadcasting corporation’s worldwide reputation for its integrity and excellence in programming. More recently, he was chair of the Prix Italia, a prestigious series of international awards for radio, television and the web.
Balancing his professional life with commitment to the community, Rabinovitch has been active with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), the CRB Foundation, the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, the Canadian Film Centre, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and as chair of the Investment Advisory Committee of the Nunavut Trust.
Committed to the highest standards in the academic world, Rabinovitch served as chair of McGill’s Board of Governors from 1999 to 2009, as member of the Board of Directors of the MUHC and continues to be very active in the University’s affairs including the Campaign Cabinet.
J. John Cohen
Doctor of Science honoris causa, 2:30 p.m. ceremony
A renowned physician, researcher educator, John Cohen got his start at McGill, earning his medical degree here in 1968. After completing his residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital and fellowships at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver and the National Institute of Medical Research in London, Cohen joined the University of Colorado Medical School where he is currently Professor of Immunology and Medicine.
Cohen’s research group was the first to show that cells have a genetic “suicide program” (apoptosis) by which they can be eliminated from the body and, moreover, that the immune system can induce cancer cells to commit suicide.
But Cohen’s career cannot be defined solely by his work within the laboratory. An ardent believer in the vital role education plays in shaping society, Cohen has also distinguished himself in the classroom and beyond.
Remarkably, the students at Colorado have given him the Excellence in Teaching Award every year since 1982. In 2001, Cohen was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2002 he was given the Alpha Omega Alpha Glaser Award as an outstanding teacher of medicine nationally.
Taking education out of the classroom, Cohen founded the first Mini-Med School for the general public in 1989. Conceived as a series of lectures mirroring the student experience of medical school, Mini-Med has become a worldwide phenomenon and is part of community outreach programs at more than 100 universities in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Malta, and Germany. McGill’s own Mini-Med – Canada’s first – has been a sold-out success since it began in 2001, spawning Mini-Music, Mini-Science and more.
A consultant to NASA, the Arthritis Foundation and the Milheim Foundation, Cohen is the consulting editor to The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.
For more information on Fall Convocation 2010, please visit: http://www.mcgill.ca/convocations/fall2010convocations/