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U of T faculty, alumni named to prestigious Order of Canada

Award recognizes recipients for significant contributions in respective fields

U of T faculty, alumni named to prestigious Order of Canada

Over 24 U of T alumni and faculty have been named to or promoted within the Order of Canada as of December 27. Established in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes individuals for outstanding accomplishments in varying fields that impact and contribute to Canadian society.

There are three tiers of membership within the order: Member, Officer, and Companion, with Companion being the highest ranking. The order is one of the highest civilian honours in the country after the Order of Merit.

Among the recipients appointed by Governor General and U of T alum Julie Payette are mathematics professor Dr. James Arthur and artificial intelligence pioneer Dr. Geoffrey Hinton — they are the only two members of the university community to be named as Companions this year.

Arthur, a professor in the Department of Mathematics since 1978, was recognized for his research and contributions to contemporary mathematics, particularly introducing the Arthur–Selberg trace formula and Arthur conjectures, complex formulas that support the trace formula theory.

Arthur was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1981, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. More recently, he was named a fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013 and won the prestigious Wolf Prize in mathematics in 2015.

“I have had scientific recognition in Canada, but I feel very proud – and thrilled – to be recognized more broadly with the Order of Canada,” Arthur stated in a U of T press release.

Hinton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science, was recognized as a pioneer in artificial intelligence and deep learning, a branch of computer science that mimics human learning and development in technology.

Hinton also boasts many achievements in the field, having won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category and the IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award in 2016, as well as the 2010 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

He was also elected a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 for his work in artificial neural networks in relation to speech recognition.

Many other community members from the life sciences were named as Members to the Order of Canada. Mary L’Abbé, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, was recognized for her work on nutrition quality of North American foods.

Physics professor Pekka Sinervo was recognized for his work on electromagnetic forces, atoms, and molecules. Sinervo has previously served as dean of U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science.

Arthur Slutsky, a U of T professor of medicine, surgery, and biomedical engineering, was also recognized for his research on acute respiratory failure, non-conventional ventilation, classic respiratory mechanics, and the significance of lung protective ventilator strategies in decreasing mortality rates among patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Over 30 U of T community members named to Order of Canada

Faculty, alumni honoured with prestigious award recognizing contributions to Canadian society

Over 30 U of T community members named to Order of Canada

On December 29 last year, over 30 University of Toronto faculty members and alumni were named to or promoted within the Order of Canada. The order is the second highest honour a Canadian citizen can receive, behind the Order of Merit, and it is the highest that is limited to only Canadians.

U of T’s Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr told The Varsity that she was impressed with the representation of U of T community members receiving the Order of Canada — they counted for approximately 26 per cent of the 125 people named to the order.

“One thing that is very clear is that we have absolutely astounding faculty, staff and alumni,” wrote Regehr. “This recognition highlights the incredible quality of people here at the University of Toronto, people who are associated with The University of Toronto, and the impact that our staff, faculty and graduates have on our community, on Canada and on the world.”

There are three levels to the Order of Canada: the lowest level is Member, which recognizes those who have greatly contributed to their local or regional community; the second level is Officer, which recognizes national achievements; and the highest honour is Companion, which recognizes international achievement or national pre-eminence.

Professor Molly Shoichet was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the field of biomedical engineering, as well as her efforts to advocate for more women in science and to promote scientific literacy.

Another notable appointee was poet and author Lee Maracle, an instructor at U of T’s Centre for Indigenous Studies and an Elder at First Nations House. She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada “for her influential voice in cultural relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.” Maracle has written multiple novels and short story collections.

“Lee Maracle is a really valued member of our community. She has been engaged for many years here at the University of Toronto and she has a real leadership role with the university in assisting us and adhering that indigenous voices are heard, and helping us make the university a better place for indigenous students, staff and faculty and in linking us with our community,” wrote Regehr.

U of T alumnus Bernard Sherman, Chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc., was also named as a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions in the pharmaceutical industry and philanthropy work. Sherman provided support for children’s education and other notable charitable causes. Unfortunately, Sherman passed away on December 15 and was unable to receive this honour himself.