Source: University of Windsor
Business, humanitarian and community leaders to receive honorary degrees at weekend convocation ceremonies
October 10, 2006
ONTARIO, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2006) – The University of Windsor will confer
degrees on 949 graduating students during two sessions of the university’s
86th Convocation ceremonies this weekend.
Humanitarian Dr. James Orbinski, businessman and community leader Michael
Solcz,and Research in Motion (RIM) founder Mike Lazaridis will receive
Dr. James J. Orbinski will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and
will be invited to address Convocation at the 10 a.m. session. Since 1990,
Dr. Obinski has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
(MSF), the world’s largest independent medical humanitarian organization and
has served in Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and Zaire. During his term as
President of the MSF International Council, he accepted the Nobel Peace
Prize on behalf of the organization, which
provides medical humanitarian assistance to populations in danger because of
conflict and social instability. It advocates for patients based on
universal medical ethics and has more than 400 projects in 80 countries.
Orbinski is a research scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and is
an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at
St. Michael’s Hospital Faculty of Medicine and an associate professor at the
Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. He is
President, Founding Board Member and Principal Investigator for Dignitas
International, an organization that works with local and national health
institutions to increase access to prevention, treatment, care and support
for people and communities living with HIV/AIDS.
He has received a number of honours, including the President’s Award from
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for his humanitarian
contributions in providing medical relief to those in need through his work
with MSF; the Meritorious Service Cross, Canada’s highest civilian medal,
for his MSF mission to Rwanda and for opening the Agha Khan Hospital in
Kigali in the middle of a contested area often under mortar and machine gun
fire; the Centennial Medal for outstanding humanitarian service in Somalia;
and the Percy Williams Medical Research Award for excellence in medical
research focusing on perinatal HIV infection and clinical case definitions
of pediatric AIDS in infancy.
Michael G. Solcz will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and will be
invited to address Convocation at the 10 a.m. session. Solcz is founding
partner of the Valiant Group of Companies, which was established as a small
Windsor tool shop in 1959. Today the company operates 17 facilities around
Solcz has served as co-chair of the University of Windsor Automotive Capital
Campaign to establish the University as a global leader in automotive
research and development and was the first Executive-in-Residence at St.
Clair College’s Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing. He has been an
advocate for increased collaboration between industry, academia and
government and was a founding member of the Initiative for Automotive
He has served on the Board of Directors of the Industrial Research and
Development Institute; the Greater Windsor Community Foundation; the
National Bank of Canada’s Regional Advisory Board; the Canadian Tool and
Machining Association; the Windsor-Essex County Development Commission; St.
Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology; the Ontario Casino Corporation
Monitoring Committee and the Industrial Resource Centre.
Solcz is one of the inaugural winners of the Charles Clark Award for
Community Service and a recipient of the Philanthropist of the Year Award
from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has received a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce.
Mike Lazaridis will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and will be
invited to address Convocation at the 3 p.m. session. As founder and co-CEO
of Research in Motion, Lazaridis oversees all product development and
operations at RIM, the company responsible for the revolutionary Blackberry,
the first complete, wireless solution for accessing email and PIM from a
single handheld device. In 2000 he founded the Perimeter Institute, an
organization dedicated to the study of fundamental issues in theoretical
physics. Lazaridis has received widespread recognition for his extraordinary
success with RIM, including the acceptance of the RIM Interactive Pager 950
into the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent research collection of
information technology, the world’s premier historical record of computing
applications and innovations. Among other honours, he received an Academy
Award for Technical Achievement for his designs in computer film editing
equipment, an Emmy Award, and a Canada Award for Business Excellence for the
design of industrial communications cards. He is responsible for the
development and ownership of several patents for Digisync, software code,
and radio technologies.
In addition to the Blackberry, his wireless technical achievements include
the world’s first two-way interactive pagers for the Mobitex and DataTAC
nationwide wireless data networks; the world’s first PCMCIA Type II wireless
radio modem for the Mobitex wireless data network; and the world’s first
integrated wireless terminals for Point-Of-Sale credit-card and debit-card
applications. RIM was recognized in 1995 as one of Canada’s fastest growing
high-tech companies in the Deloitte and Touche Canadian Technology Fast 50
For photo jpegs of Honorary Degree recipients please contact Lori Koutros.
The Governor General’s Gold Medal, given annually to the top graduate
student at the University of Windsor, will be presented to Norman Fazaa. Dr.
Fazaa received his BA in Psychology in 1998 from York University and
completed his Masters and PhD studies at the University of Windsor. He
completed his PhD in Adult Clinical Psychology and graduated in October,
Dr. Fazaa has had a remarkable academic career and has received recognition
and several awards for his doctoral research, including the Canadian
Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence in 2002. During
his graduate studies at the University of Windsor he was the recipient of
several scholarships, as well as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council Doctoral Fellowship from 2003 to 2005.
Dr. Fazaa is a Psychologist at the Children’s Psychiatric Research Institute
in London, Ontario.
The Fall Convocation schedule begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 14 with
the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (Doctoral and Master’s degrees)
and Bachelor degrees and certificates from programs in the Faculty of
Engineering; Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Science (BA Economics and BA
Mathematics), and Inter-Faculty Programs (BA-Forensics & Crim., BArSC, BES,
BFS). The second session begins at 3 p.m. with Bachelor degrees and
certificates from programs in the Odette School of Business; Faculty of
Education; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Faculty of Human Kinetics;
and Faculty of Law.
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CONTACT: Lori Koutros
Manager, News Services
University of Windsor
Cell: (519) 564-9908