Fall 2018 honorary and award recipients

Honorary doctorates

An honorary degree (honoris causa) is the highest honour conferred by the University. Through the conferring of honorary degrees, the University of Waterloo seeks to recognize outstanding achievement, whether academic or through service to society.

David A. Butler-Jones, MD, MHSc, LLD, FCFP, FRCPC, FACPM

Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Friday, October 26, morning ceremony

Dr. Butler-Jones earned a medical degree (Toronto, 1978), specialist credentials in family medicine (Queen’s, 1980), and a Master of Health Science and Residency in Community Health and Epidemiology (Toronto, 1982). He was the inaugural Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and Head of the Public Health Agency of Canada. He is currently the Senior Medical Officer in Ottawa, and Atlantic Region Public Health Specialist for First Nations and Inuit Health, with Indigenous Services Canada. Dr. Butler-Jones has received numerous prestigious awards from professional and scientific associations for achievements in public health and commitment to health equity.

David A. Butler-Jones photo


Ingrid Daubechies, BSc., Ph.D.

Doctor of Mathematics, honoris causa
Friday, October 26, afternoon ceremony

Professor Daubechies obtained her Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels in 1980, staying on as a professor. In 1987, She took a research position at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where she published her discoveries re wavelet theory. In 1994, Dr. Daubechies left AT&T to become the first female full professor in Mathematics at Princeton University. In 2011, she joined Duke University as James B. Duke professor of Mathematics and Electrical & Computer Engineering. Dr. Daubechies has received numerous honours, including the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics, John von Neumann Lecture Prize, MacArthur Fellowship, and being made a Baroness by the King of Belgium.

Ingrid Daubechies photo


Parker Mitchell, BASc, MPhil

Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa
Saturday, October 27, afternoon ceremony

Parker Mitchell received a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1999, and an MPhil degree in Developmental Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2002. In 2000, he co-founded Engineers Without Borders (EWB) with George Roter. Through the next decade, he helped build EWB into one of Canada’s most influential non-government organizations dedicated to tackling global poverty. Parker is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary degrees from Queen’s University and Seneca College, and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross (Civil). After he left EWB in 2011, Parker co-founded Significance Labs to help American families living in poverty. He now lives in New York, where he is Founder and CEO of SHIFT.

Parker Mitchell photo


George Roter, BASc

Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa
Saturday, October 27, afternoon ceremony

George Roter received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1999 and started a MASc in orthopaedic biotribology the same year. In 2000, he launched Engineers Without Borders (EWB) with Parker Mitchell. George withdrew from his MASc in 2001 to spend the next 13 years developing and expanding EWB into a vibrant and highly successful organization dedicated to tackling global poverty. George has been recognized with four honorary degrees (including three doctorates) and eight other major awards including the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil) given by the Governor General of Canada. George left EWB in 2014 and is now a Director for Mozilla in Berlin, Germany.

George Roter photo


Distinguished professor emeritus

The Distinguished Professor Emeritus/a designation is made to faculty members who have had a distinguished record of service in teaching and research in the University. The honorary award is granted upon, or shortly after, retirement.

Leo Rothenburg, Dipl. Phys., PhD, PEng, FCSCE

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Saturday, October 27, afternoon ceremony

Leo Rothenburg spent over three decades as a professor at the University of Waterloo. Educated as a physicist and engineer, he holds degrees from Moscow State University (Dipl. Phys., 1968) and Carleton University (PhD, 1980). He joined Waterloo’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in 1983 and later served as Department Chair, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and Associate-Vice President, International. In these roles, he established a legacy of highly innovative research achievements, exceptional teaching and student supervision and outstanding service. His expertise in theoretical and computational methods has been applied worldwide to the geomechanics of mining, petroleum, solid waste and transportation.

Leo Rothenburg photo


Honorary members of the University

The Honorary Member of the University designation is the highest honour a staff member can attain at the University of Waterloo and is granted upon retirement. It recognizes the individual for outstanding service to the University as a whole, not limited to one department or faculty. For faculty members, it recognizes distinctive administrative service to the University.

Lynn Judge

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
Friday, October 26, morning ceremony

As the Director of Academic Services in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (formerly Graduate Studies Office), Lynn Judge championed a multitude of projects to improve services for graduate students and the graduate student experience. Examples include transforming the application process to a fully electronic platform; simplifying the delivery of student awards; facilitating a web presence for marketing and recruitment; and having an online Graduate Studies Academic Calendar – initiatives ahead of many other Canadian universities. Lynn’s accomplishments were recognized through external accolades during her career, including the Ontario University Registrars’ Association Honorary Membership and the Achievement and Innovation Award for Waterloo’s online application project.

Lynn Judge photo


Alfrieda Swainston, BA

Human Resources
Friday, October 26, afternoon ceremony

Alfrieda Swainston has worked at the University of Waterloo for 50 years, creating a legacy of loyalty, commitment and exceptional service at Waterloo and with her peers. She was instrumental in the design, development and management of the staff salary structure and job evaluation system.  This contribution helped the University achieve and maintain pay equity compliance to ensure equitable and affordable salary administration practices across the campus for all staff.

Alfrieda Swainston photo