On November 27 and December 30, 175 total individuals were newly appointed or promoted to the Order of Canada, 39 of whom are members of U of T faculty, alumni, or supporters. 

The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest national honours, a distinction made for those who exemplify admirable character as illustrated by the Latin motto, “desiderantes meliorem patriam,” or “they desire a better country.” The 39 U of T faculty, alumni, and supporters were awarded the position for their contributions to Canadian society through their service, innovations, and compassion in various realms, including public health, art, and conservation.

 In 2019, over 24 U of T faculty members and alumni were appointed, and over 30 were appointed in 2018. The Varsity broke down a few of this year’s recipients. 

Public health 

Vivek Goel, a professor from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, was named a Member of the Order for his contributions as an academic and administrator, and his commitment to the advancement of public health services, evidence-based health care, and research innovation. Goel is a special adviser to the president and provost at U of T and helps guide U of T’s COVID-19 planning and response. He also previously served as the founding head of Public Health Ontario.

Other faculty members in the health care sphere who were appointed to the order include Philip Berger and James Drake. Berger is an associate professor at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, who co-founded the Toronto HIV Primary Care Physicians Group and established the HIV Project Centre Primary Care Mentor Program. James Drake is a professor of surgery at Temerty, as well as the surgeon-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children. 

The arts

Among those representing the arts is John Hartman, whose works are displayed in the U of T Art Museum. Hartman brings landscapes and cityscapes to life on printing plates, canvas, and paper. Daniel John Taylor, an associate professor and the head of the early music program in the Faculty of Music, also showed performing arts talent within the university; he was named an Officer of the Order in recognition of his achievements as an internationally renowned opera singer and his commitment to mentoring the next generation of Canadian singers.

Other faculty members

Other appointed professors and faculty members include Cristina Amon, Allan Borodin, Bill Graham, Eugenia Kumacheva, and Marietta Orlov. Amon is a professor of mechanical engineering and the dean emerita for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. 

From the Department of Computer Science, Borodin was named a Member of the Order for his expertise in theoretical computer science. Graham is the chancellor for Trinity College, as well as a former minister of foreign affairs and a former minister of national defense, and Kumacheva, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, was recognized for her great contributions to chemistry and advocating for women in science. Orlov was appointed to the Order of Canada posthumously, in recognition of her contributions to piano instruction and performance. 


Michael S.W. Bradstreet, a New College graduate and undergraduate zoology major, was a long-time senior adviser with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He was named a Member of the Order in recognition of his conservation initiatives for birds as well as his leadership in protecting natural habitats. 

Another esteemed graduate of the university was John Borrows, who achieved a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Victoria College and two degrees from U of T’s Faculty of Law. He was named an Officer of the Order for his scholarly work on the legal traditions and rights of Indigenous peoples, which has had a profound effect worldwide. Borrows is a member of the Chippewas of the Nawash First Nation.

Representing the finer things in life, Leonard Pennachett, who received his master’s degree in Italian Renaissance history from the university, was named a Member of the Order for his work in developing Ontario’s wine industry as well as attracting tourists to the Niagara Peninsula region. He is the president and founding partner of Cave Spring Vineyard.