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

Friday, October 4, 2019

A Waterloo alumnus with a distinguished career in the fields of animal biology, behaviour and social biology will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates at the University of Waterloo’s upcoming fall convocation ceremonies.

Anne Dagg

Anne Dagg will receive an honorary Doctor of Science at this fall’s convocation. Dagg, who received her PhD from Waterloo in 1967, was the first person to study animals in the wild of Africa, and has been a tireless advocate for gender equality in academia.  

Anne worked as a part-time lecturer at Waterloo Lutheran University in anatomy and physiology from 1962-1965, and then as an anatomy demonstrator at the University of Waterloo in 1966. In 1967 she earned her PhD in animal behaviour from the University of Waterloo. 

Anne Innis Dagg became a fellow of the Zoological Society of Ontario in 1967, and was chosen one of eight top living female biologists in Canada by the federal government for the National Museums of Canada’s "Why? Why Not? Exhibit" in 1975. She has also received the Kitchener-Waterloo Status of Women Group Human Rights Award.

The University will award other honours at the following ceremonies:

Honorary Degrees:

Donald Lemmen, BSc, MSc, PhD
Doctor of Environmental Studies, honoris causa
Friday 25 October, 2019/Afternoon Ceremony

After receiving his PhD from the University of Alberta in 1988, Donald Lemmen dedicated over 30 years to studying and publishing on climate and environmental change. With Natural Resources Canada, he led the development of national assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation that have served as benchmarks for policy and program development in Canada. He has represented Canada as a leader on international climate change science and policy through the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including four years as co-chair of the Adaptation Committee, the global advisory body to the 193 member countries.

Joe Mancini, CM, MA
Stephanie Mancini, CM
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa​​​​​​​
Saturday 26 October, 2019/Morning Ceremony

Stephanie and Joseph Mancini are graduates of the University of Waterloo, with B.A.s in history (St. Jerome’s, 1980 and 1981, respectively), and an M.A. in history for Joseph (Waterloo, 1982).  Soon after graduation, they founded the Working Centre to offer practical job search support to the unemployed, followed by St. John’s Kitchen in 1985, to serve hot meals to those in need. They continue to develop community-based projects to help marginalized communities in downtown Kitchener. The Mancinis were recognized in 2014 with the Bene Merenti Medal, a Papal honour, and in 2016 with the Order of Canada. 

Honorary Member of the University:

Vic DiCiccio, BASc, MASc​​​​​​​
Faculty of Mathematics
Friday 25 October, 2019/Afternoon Ceremony

Vic DiCiccio graduated from Waterloo with a BASc (1976) and MASc (1979) in Electrical Engineering. He was instrumental in founding the Institute for Computer Research (ICR), a multidisciplinary institute supporting collaborations across the University and with other University and corporate partners in the areas of computing, communications and other aspects of information technology. When digital media research was in its early days, DiCiccio capitalized on opportunities for Waterloo to expand its activities in this field. DiCiccio also promoted Waterloo researchers' increased participation in Ontario and Canadian research networks and created several large grant proposals that were awarded to Waterloo researchers and their teams. 

Ginny Dybenko, BA, MMath​​​​​​​
Faculty of Arts
Saturday 26 October, 2019/Morning Ceremony

Ginny Dybenko has been a technology and education leader since graduating from the University of Waterloo (MMath, 1972). Career highlights include her appointment as founding President and CEO of Bell Advanced Communication and Dean of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. At Waterloo, she served as Executive Director of the newly-launched Stratford Campus, contributing to its enormous growth and success. Ginny has served on many boards, including TV Ontario, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Kitchener and Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. She was identified as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and, in 2012, was honoured with a Waterloo Barnraiser Award.

Mary Soulis, BSc, MASc​​​​​​​
Institutional Analysis & Planning
Saturday 26 October/Afternoon Ceremony

Mary Soulis' long history with the University of Waterloo began at the age of seven when her father was hired as a professor in Engineering at the still-new University of Waterloo. Mary joined Waterloo herself in 1971 as an Earth Sciences student, later completing her Masters in Civil Engineering at Waterloo in 1978.  Mary joined Institutional Analysis & Planning in 1981, and throughout her 35-year career in IAP, both the University and the broader postsecondary education sector across Ontario and Canada benefited from Mary's keen analytical mind and methodical and creative solutions to challenging problems.   

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Chris Godsil, BSc, PhD​​​​​​​
Department of Combinatorics and Optimization
Friday 25 October 2019/Afternoon Ceremony

Chris Godsil earned his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Melbourne in 1979. He joined Simon Fraser University as Assistant Professor in 1981, and was promoted to Professor in 1985. In 1987, he moved to Waterloo and joined the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization. He has served as department chair, and several times as associate chair for graduate affairs. Professor Godsil is a world-leading authority in the field of Algebraic Combinatorics, especially Algebraic Graph Theory. His scholarly work has been profoundly influential on the development of the subject, impacting the work of many researchers in Mathematics and beyond.

Erik Woody, BA, MS, PhD​​​​​​​
Department of Psychology
Saturday 26 October 2019/Morning Ceremony

Erik Woody earned his PhD from Duke University and spent 36 years as a professor at the University of Waterloo.  As a clinical psychologist, his leadership in the accredited clinical psychology graduate program was crucial to the continuing success of that program.  He has served terms as Associate Chair, Graduate, for the Department and twice as Director of Clinical Training.  He was elected Fellow of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in 1993, and received the Society’s highest honour, the Henry Guze Award, in 2011.  At Waterloo, he was recognized with the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2006 and with two Outstanding Performance Awards.

Derek Besner, BA, MSc, PhD​​​​​​​
Department of Psychology
Saturday 26 October 2019/Morning Ceremony

Derek Besner received his PhD from Reading University in the United Kingdom, following which he spent 37 years as a professor at University of Waterloo.  As a cognitive psychologist, his expertise is in the domain of attention and basic processes in reading, a field in which he is an internationally recognized leader.  He has been elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, The Psychonomic Society, and the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science.  He has had continuous grant funding from NSERC throughout his career.  At Waterloo, he was recognized for his stellar scholarship with an Arts Research Award in 2017.

Dates and Times of Ceremonies
Faculties of Applied Health Sciences and Science - October 25 at 10 a.m.
Faculities of Environment and Mathematics - October 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Faculty of Arts - October 26 at 10:00 a.m.
Faculty of Engineering - October 26 at 2:30 p.m.


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

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