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Canada's Auditor General to receive UW honorary degree

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September 20, 2005

Source: University of Waterloo:

Canada's Auditor General to receive UW honorary degree

WATERLOO, Ont. -- Canada's Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, is among those receiving honorary degrees at the University of Waterloo's fall convocation to be held Saturday, Oct. 22.

The first woman to hold this highly visible federal office, Fraser will be awarded a Doctor of Laws (LLD) at the convocation ceremony for graduates in the faculties of Applied Health Sciences and Arts starting at 10 a.m. in the Physical Activities Complex (PAC).

Appointed to her 10-year term in 2001, Fraser has provided leadership in enhancing effectiveness in public auditing. Before her appointment as Auditor General, she had a distinguished professional career as an Ernst & Young partner in Quebec, followed by a senior leadership role in the federal public sector.

Also at the morning convocation ceremony, former UW president James Downey will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) and address the graduating class. Downey will also be named "President Emeritus."

Downey served as Waterloo's president from 1993 to 1999 and was previously president at the University of New Brunswick and Carleton University. He recently stepped down as founding director of the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education.

Other honorary degrees to be given at the morning ceremony are:

  • Peter Harder will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD).

    A graduate of UW (BA, 1975; alumnus of Conrad Grebel University College) and Queen's University (MA, 1977), Peter Harder is a leading public servant who is expected to shape Canada's role on the international scene.

    He was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in June 2003. Since 1977, Harder has held various private and public sector positions, culminating in his appointment as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    In May 2000, Harder was awarded the Prime Minister's Outstanding Achievement Award for public service leadership. Also, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan named him to the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force on Digital Divide and Development in November 2001.

  • Rudy Wiebe will receive a Doctor of Letters (DLitt).

    A storyteller par excellence, Rudy Wiebe has helped define and describe Canada to Canadians and to the world. He has twice earned the Governor General's award for fiction.

    Wiebe is the author of nine novels, three collections of stories, and other prose works, including (with Yvonne Johnson) the award-winning Stolen Life: The Story of a Cree Woman, published in Canada, United States, Denmark, Norway and Germany.

    Wiebe has written about Mennonites with immense scope and tenacity, vision and complexity. As well, his writings about the Native peoples of the Canadian West and North sparked creativity among youthful talent, including a number of Native writers.

    Honorary degrees will be awarded at the convocation for graduates in the Faculties of Engineering, Environmental Studies, Mathematics and Science, and Independent Studies, beginning at 2 p.m.

  • Ronald Ming Cho So will receive a Doctor of Engineering (DEng).

    Chair Professor and Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Ronald Ming Cho So has carried out research and made significant contributions in many areas of fluid dynamics.

    Besides his fundamental theoretical, computational and experimental research in fluid dynamics, So has successfully transferred the results of academic research to many industrial applications, including the development of computer codes for use in the diesel engine, gas turbine and nuclear industries.

  • Robert Harding will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD).

    Chair of UW's Board of Governors (2001-2005) and concurrently Chair of Campaign Waterloo, Robert Harding is Chairman of Brascan Corp., an asset management company with a focus on property, power and other infrastructure assets.

  • Josef Kates will receive a Doctor of Mathematics (DMath).

    His name "Kates" is carried by KPMG -- one of the four major international accounting firms -- reflecting how Josef Kates' early work in information technology and consulting was enhanced by traditional accounting to become a world standard.

    Kates joined the University of Toronto's new computer centre after graduation in 1948 where he designed and built the first pilot model of the first Canadian electronic computer (UTEC) and Bertie the Brain, the first electronic game-playing machine. Kates also served as Chairman of the Science Council of Canada and Chancellor of UW.

  • Dianne O'Leary will receive a Doctor of Mathematics (DMath) and address convocation.

    Dianne O'Leary is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland and Professor at Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Her contributions to research and education in the mathematical and computer sciences are often "mission driven" -- she develops algorithms to solve mathematical problems that are motivated by practical applications in engineering and science.

    O'Leary has been a leader in American Women in Mathematics, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging women and girls to pursue studies in the mathematical sciences and has been an outstanding mentor to many female computer science graduate students.

    Also at the morning convocation ceremony, retired Prof. Hannah Fournier, French Studies, will be recognized as a "Distinguished Professor Emerita," and at the afternoon ceremony, Prof. Jack Kalbfleisch, dean of Mathematics from 1990 through 1998, will receive a "Distinguished Professor Emeritus" title.


    Bios of degree recipients available/prepared by UW Secretariat


    Trenny Canning, UW Secretariat, (519) 888-4567, ext. 5924;

    John Morris, UW Media Relations, (519) 888-4435;

    Release no. 204 -- September 20, 2005

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