Distinguished alumni among recipients of honorary doctorates at Waterloo's convocation

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Waterloo alumnus with a distinguished career as a civil servant, banking executive, venture capitalist, policy advisor and philanthropist will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates at the University of Waterloo’s upcoming spring convocation ceremonies.

Toby Jenkins, a champion of the knowledge-based economy in the Waterloo region, has served on a number of advisory and governance boards of organizations in higher education, health care, government and media.

For more than three decades, she has honed a strong relationship with the University, first as a student in urban planning, as a banker who funded growing technology companies and later as an avid supporter of research in health sciences.


In 2006, Jenkins developed a multi-tenant professional-services building in the David Johnson Research+Technology park. In 2012, she and her husband gifted the building to the University. Since then it has provided much-needed space for the growing Faculty of Applied Health Sciences­, integrating research and community programs in diverse disciplines to develop innovative health interventions. Jenkins will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences ceremony taking place on Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m.

The University will award other honorary doctorates at the following ceremonies:

ENVIRONMENT – Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Susan Cartwright will receive an honorary Doctor of Environmental Studies. She has had a distinguished 38-year career of public service, in Canada and abroad. Her contributions have been recognized with the Order of Canada, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, the public service Outstanding Achievement Award (the sole recipient in 2012 at the Prime Minister’s request), the Canada 125 Medal, the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, alumni achievement awards from the University of Victoria and the University of Waterloo and, from the President of the Republic of Hungary, the Order of Merit of Hungary at the end of her term as Canadian Ambassador to Hungary. 

ARTS – Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Lee Maracle will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. She is a member of the Stó:lō Nation, and one of Canada’s most influential and prolific Indigenous authors. Maracle has won numerous awards including The Order of Canada in 2018, the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in Ontario in 2014, and the Canada Council Mentor Award in 2010.An expert in Indigenous culture and history, Maracle is an advocate dedicated to exposing and eliminating racism, sexism, and economic oppression through a postcolonial lens. She expresses her activism through her writing, most notably through novels, poetry, short story collections, and collaborative anthologies. Maracle’s writing is unique as she uses poetry, fiction, non-fiction, myth, and memoir to convey Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing in a way with which the broader Canadian society can connect. 

ARTS – Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Antoni Cimolino will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters. He is an internationally renowned Canadian actor and director, and the Artistic Director for the Stratford Festival. Under his leadership, the Stratford Festival has explored innovative ways of presenting and translating the plays of Shakespeare and other notable dramatists, reimagining the Festival in such a way as to engage new audiences and foster a deeper appreciation of the relationship between text, performance, and society. Cimolino has also brought to the Festival a strong and determined commitment to increasing diversity in the casting of major roles. Cimolino’s leadership role within Canada’s theatrical and artistic community was recognized in 2015 when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

ARTS – Wednesday, June 12,  2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Kevin Dancey will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. Dancey is currently the chief executive officer of the International Federation of Accountants.  His contribution to the Canadian and global accounting profession resulted from his roles as Canadian Senior Partner and CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Assistant Deputy Minister, Tax Policy with the Department of Finance, President and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and as the first President and CEO of the newly formed Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.  Most significantly he oversaw the unification of professional accounting in Canada, the most significant event to impact Canadian accounting profession in the last fifty years.

SCIENCE – Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Arokia Nathan will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. Nathan is an Honors graduate of Leeds in Communications Engineering in 1981, and subsequently earned his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1984 and 1988, respectively.  From 1989 to 2005 he was a Professor in UW’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he held a Canada Research Chair and was a Steacie Fellow.  In 2005, he was appointed to the Sumitomo Chair for Nanotechnology at the London Center of Nanotechnology at University College London and subsequently was the Chair for Photonic Systems and Displays at Cambridge University in 2011. Currently, he serves as the CTO of Cambridge Touch Technologies.  Arokia is a co-founder of the Giga-to-Nano Lab and of the Nanotechnology Engineering degree program at UW.

George Woo will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. He is an international leader in vision science and has had a major impact on eye health around the globe. Woo has made significant contributions as an academic, authoring 184 scientific publications on a wide variety of basic science and clinical topics. These range from fundamental studies of Panum’s fusional area of the retina, to epidemiological work concerning the incidence of amblyopia in Canadian schoolchildren, and further, to studies of the needs of the visually impaired population. He also embodies the spirit of Waterloo’s pragmatic entrepreneurialism, inventing a device which provides an inexpensive, flexible and simple vision assessment solution for developing countries.

MATHEMATICS – Friday, 14 June 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Shafrira (Shafi) Goldwasser will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics. Goldwasser completed her B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University (1979), and her M.S. (1981) and PhD (1984) at University of California, Berkeley. Following her PhD, Goldwasser began her career as a faculty member at MIT. In 1997, she was appointed the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and, since 2018, has served as the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at Berkeley. Since 1993, Goldwasser has simultaneously held a professorship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Among many honours, Goldwasser was co-recipient of the 2012 Turing Award and won the Gödel Prize in 1993 and 2001.

David Sankoff will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics. Sankoff holds the Canada Research Chair in mathematical genomics at the University of Ottawa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the International Society for Computational Biology and is active in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Throughout his career he has made ground-breaking contributions in bioinformatics, mathematics, linguistics, music analysis and more. A leading Canadian scientist for more than five decades who has been called the “father” of bioinformatics, Sankoff has been a leading researcher consistently innovating at the highest levels of computational biology.

MATHEMATICS – Friday, June 14, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Barbara H. Liskov will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics. Liskov is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She obtained her BA (1961) in Mathematics from University of California, Berkeley and PhD (1968) in Computer Science from Stanford University. She is best known for her work in software systems design, particularly data abstraction as a key organizational principle in large software systems. Among numerous awards and honours, she is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, charter fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors, fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and recipient of the Turing Award.

ENGINEERING – Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

David Tse will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is the Thomas Kailath and Guanghan Xu Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University and a world-renowned researcher in wireless systems and information theory. His research has applications to networking and performance limits of communication systems, and to problems on reconstruction of genomic sequences from partial data. Tse graduated with the highest honours from the Systems Design Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo in 1989. In 2000, he received the Erlang Prize in applied probability for researchers under the age of 35 and in 2009, he received the Frederick Emmons Terman Award from the American Society for Engineering Education for educators under the age of 40. In 2017, Tse received the highest accolade from the information theory community, the Claude Shannon Award. He was inducted into the US National Academy of Engineering in 2018.


ENGINEERING – Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.


H. Vincent Poor will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is the Michael Henry Strater University Professor at Princeton University, from which institution he received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science in 1977. His pioneering contributions to wireless networks, energy systems, and related fields have been published in more than 20 books and 700 journal articles. Professor Poor is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and Sciences, and is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. Recent recognition of his work includes the 2017 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal and the 2019 ASEE Benjamin Garver Lamme Award.  

All ceremonies take place in the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) on the Waterloo campus.  More information is available on the spring convocation website.

Members of the media are required to confirm their attendance with Chris Wilson-Smith.

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca.

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