A Nobel Prize winner, a veterinarian working with people and pets experiencing homelessness, and a leader in international development will be among seven accomplished recipients of honorary degrees next week during convocation ceremonies at the University of Guelph.  

About 3,300 graduands will cross the convocation stage during 13 ceremonies taking place June 13-16.  

The ceremonies for all seven U of G colleges are expected to attract more than 10,000 family members and friends to the Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre.  

Honorary degrees will be conferred to: 

B. Denham Jolly 

Denham Jolly

Mr. B. Denham Jolly founded the Black Business and Professional Association, led a range of businesses, and founded and served as president of Milestone Communications, which launched FLOW 93.5 FM, Canada’s first Black-owned radio station.  

Honoured with the Order of Canada, he has spoken out against anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination, including publishing the 2017 Toronto Book Award-winning memoir In the Black: My Life.  

Dr. Michelle Lem

Dr. Michelle Lem

Dr. Michelle Lem is president, founder and director of Community Veterinary Outreach, a pioneering registered charity supporting individuals, families and their pets experiencing homelessness and housing vulnerability.   

A graduate of U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. Lem has studied the effects of pet ownership on street-involved youth and has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.  

Dr. Michael McCloskey

Dr. Michael McCloskey

Dr. Michael McCloskey has harnessed veterinarian training and dairy farming experience as an advocate of the dairy industry’s contributions to food security, environmental sustainability and rural communities.  

He founded Select Milk Producers, a dairy producers’ cooperative, pioneered groundbreaking milk processing technology and novel milk products, and founded Fair Oaks farm in Indiana that models sustainability practices.  

Dr. David Nabarro

Dr. David Nabarro

Throughout more than four decades in international development, Dr. David Nabarro has focused on improving health and health-care access of poorer people.  

He served as special representative of the UN secretary-general for food security and nutrition and undersecretary-general on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. A recipient of the World Food Prize, he co-founded the Geneva-based 4SD foundation to help address sustainable development challenges.  

Dr. Mona Stonefish 

Dr. Mona Stonefish, Bear Clan, Potawatomi, Bkejwanong, Three Fires Confederacy, is a recognized leader in decolonizing education, social justice, disability studies, arts and activism, and Nishnaabe language, culture and tradition.  

A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, she worked with the United Nations as a delegate for the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People on human rights and Nishnaabe language, culture and tradition, and testified for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Dr. Donna Strickland 

Dr. Donna Strickland

A co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for groundbreaking inventions in laser physics, Dr. Donna Strickland was the fifth Canadian and the first Canadian woman – and the third woman overall – to receive the physics Nobel Prize.   

A professor at the University of Waterloo and a member of the joint physics graduate program run by U of G and Waterloo, she co-invented chirped pulse amplification widely used in data storage, materials manufacturing and medicine.  

Dr. Valerie Tarasuk

Dr. Valerie Tarasuk

A leading global scholar and a preeminent public health nutrition researcher, Dr. Valerie Tarasuk has led landmark studies to understand the experiences of food insecurity among low-income families and homeless youth in Canada, including the roles of food banks, meal programs and other community food programs. 

An applied human nutrition graduate of U of G, she is principal investigator of PROOF, a research program to identify policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity.  


Brenda Whiteside

Brenda Whiteside 

U of G will also name Brenda Whiteside as an Honorary Fellow of the University for her numerous contributions to U of G student life over nearly two decades as associate vice-president (student affairs). 

During convocation, U of G will honour six recently retired faculty members.  

Two faculty members will be named as University Professor Emerita: 

Dr. Jacqueline Murray 

A history professor and former dean of the College of Arts, Murray is internationally recognized for her scholarship in sexuality and gender.

Dr. Jan Sargeant 

An internationally recognized veterinary epidemiologist, Sargeant is professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, and inaugural director of U of G’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.   

Four retired faculty members will be named as University Professor Emeritus:  

Dr. Mike Dixon 

A professor in the School of Environmental Sciences within the Ontario Agricultural College and director of U of G’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, Dixon is a global leader in space-based agriculture and advanced life support research. 

Dr. Dave Kelton

A professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, Kelton is internationally renowned for his epidemiological research of dairy cattle health and welfare. 

Dr. Clive Thomson 

A professor in the School of Languages and Literatures, Thomson is an internationally recognized scholar of French literature.  

Dr. Chris Whitfield 

A professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology within the College of Biological Science, Whitfield is a leading researcher in antimicrobial resistance.