Western to honour Olympians, innovators and inspirations at 314th Convocation

Seven distinguished individuals will receive honorary degrees when Western University hosts its 314th Convocation this fall.

The ceremonies, featuring addresses by the honorary degree recipients, are scheduled for the following days:

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue
Wednesday, October 23rd at 10 a.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were not only the first ice dancers from North America to win the Olympic gold medal, but they were also the first ice dance team to win on home ice, the first to win gold in their Olympic debut, and the youngest pair to win. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, they won silver medals in ice dancing and in the team event. After taking a two-year hiatus, Virtue and Moir won two more gold medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Games securing their titles as the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the sport.

Mina J. Bissell
Wednesday, October 23rd at 3 p.m.
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
A Distinguished Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mina J. Bissell pioneered the field of tumor microenvironment. Investigating mammary glands and breast cancer, her body of work proved the pivotal role that extracellular matrix signaling plays in regulation of gene expression in both normal and malignant cells. Her laboratory pioneered the use of 3D organoids and techniques.

Donald Franklin Gerson
Thursday, October 24th at 10 a.m.
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.)
Dr. Donald Gerson is Founder, President and CEO of PnuVax, Inc. and PnuVax SL Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., developers and manufacturers of vaccines. PnuVax is dedicated to the development of vaccines for underserved populations worldwide, and focused on new low-cost vaccines to prevent pneumonia, yellow fever, and other neglected diseases. Gerson received his Chemistry BSc from Western in 1968 and taught biophysics and biochemical engineering from 1972 to 1979.

Max Tibor Eisen
Thursday, October 24th at 3 p.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Max Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia in 1929 into a large orthodox Jewish family. His extended family including parents, two younger brothers and baby sister, his paternal grandparents and uncles, aunts and cousins all perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp in May of 1944. His memoir, ‘By Chance Alone,’ was the Winner of Canada Reads 2019.

Tim David Hockey
Friday, October 25th at 10 a.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Tim Hockey, the President and CEO of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, is a financial services leader with more than 35 years of experience in banking and wealth management. A philanthropist and impassioned volunteer, Hockey is heavily involved with The Hospital for Sick Children and the Mattamy National Cycling Centre. A Western alumnus, Hockey serves on the Advisory Board of the Ivey Business School.

Anita Gaffney Misener
Friday, October 25th at 3 p.m.
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.)
Since being appointed Executive Director of the Stratford Festival in 2012, Anita Gaffney has guided the launch of a number of new initiatives including The Forum, The Laboratory, the HD film series and the Stratford Direct bus service. Named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, Gaffney has an MBA from Ivey Business School and an English Language and Literature BA from Western.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, 519-520-7281 (mobile), jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

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