U of T community members recognized with Order of Canada
A psychiatrist who has advanced the understanding of the genetics of schizophrenia. A composer and conductor who has helped nurture the next generation of classical musicians. A computer scientist whose work helped enable the development and adoption of touchscreen interfaces.
These are just a few of the University of Toronto community members who were recently recognized by appointments to – or promotions within – the Order of Canada.
The Governor General announced 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Dec. 28 (including three promotions). They include Anne Bassett, a senior clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a senior scientist at University Health Network (UHN) and a professor in the department of psychiatry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine; Gary Kulesha, an associate professor, teaching stream, in the Faculty of Music; and Bill Buxton, an adjunct professor of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
“I greatly value the opportunity to celebrate individuals whose perseverance, ingenuity and community spirit have benefited Canadians throughout the country,” Gov. Gen. Mary Simon said in a statement. “As governor general, I have seen first-hand that our communities are rich in both excellence and diversity, which we need to do our utmost to recognize.”
Created in 1967, the Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. It recognizes individuals whose achievements and service have had an impact on communities across Canada and beyond.
Here is a list of U of T faculty, alumni, supporters and friends who were appointed to, or promoted within, the Order of Canada in the latest round:
Current and former faculty
Anne Bassett, a senior scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, UHN, senior clinician-scientist in the Schizophrenia Division at CAMH and a professor in the department of psychiatry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, was named a Member of the Order for her research and clinical contributions to advancing the understanding of the genetics of schizophrenia. She completed post-graduated medical training at U of T.
Ian Burton, a professor emeritus in the department of geography (now geography and planning) and School of the Environment in the Faculty of Arts & Science, was named an Officer of the Order for his scholarship and policy work on climate change adaptation.
Bill Buxton, a current adjunct professor and former associate professor in the department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, was appointed an Officer of the Order for his research and innovations shaping the way humans interact with technology. A U of T alumnus who holds an honorary degree from the university, Buxton’s work on multi-touch systems helped usher in the development of trackpads and touchscreens.
Gary Kulesha, an associate professor, teaching stream, in the Faculty of Music, was named a Member of the Order for his contributions as an esteemed composer, conductor and mentor to classical musicians. A pianist, Kulesha’s music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by musicians and ensembles around the world.
Francine Lemire, an adjunct assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, was named a Member of the Order for her accomplishments as a Paralympic medallist in cross-country skiing and her leadership in family medicine. Lemire, who won two gold medals at the 1988 Winter Paralympics, is the former executive director and CEO of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
Bruce G. Pollock, a senior scientist, vice-president of research and director of the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology and toxicology at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, was named a Member of the Order for his pioneering contributions to geriatric psychopharmacology as a researcher, builder and educator. A U of T alumnus, Pollock is the inaugural Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Late-Life Mental Health at U of T and CAMH.
Arun Ravindran, a senior scientist in the General Adult Psychiatry and Health Systems Division at CAMH and a professor in the department of psychiatry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine cross-appointed to the department of psychology and the Institute of Medical Sciences, was named a Member of the Order for his contributions to mental health research and clinical care, notably in the areas of mood disorders and global mental health.
Alumni and friends
Sara Joy Angel, who earned her PhD in art history at U of T, was named a Member of the Order for elevating Canada’s visual history and culture as a journalist and founder of the Art Canada Institute.
Bronwyn D.A. Drainie, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from U of T, was named a Member of the Order for her long-standing contributions to Canadian arts and culture, notably as a prominent radio host and editor-in-chief of the Literary Review of Canada.
Wenona Giles, who earned her master’s degree and PhD in anthropology at U of T, was named an Officer of the Order for her contributions to refugee and migration studies and work to provide people in refugee camps with access to higher education. A professor emerita at York University, Giles helped launch the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, which has provided access to tuition-free university degree programs to people living in refugee camps in Kenya.
Tennys J.M. Hanson, who earned a bachelor’s degree from U of T Mississauga and went on to serve as U of T Mississauga’s executive director of campus development and public affairs, was named a Member of the Order for contributions to health care and education in Canada through her transformative leadership in the fundraising sector. Hanson served 23 years at the helm of the UHN Foundation (previously known as the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation).
Victor Peter Hetmanczuk, who earned two bachelor’s degrees from U of T, was named a Member of the Order for his enduring dedication and leadership in the Ukrainian-Canadian community and beyond. Hetmanczuk’s many contributions include organizing and financing volunteer missions to provide medical assistance to soldiers wounded during the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Lillie Johnson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at U of T, was named a Member of the Order for her impact in improving public health within the Black community. Johnson was the first Black director of public health in Ontario and is known for the founding of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario.
Susan Margaret Macpherson, who earned a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Arts & Science, was named a Member of the Order in recognition of her lifetime devotion to dance as an artist, educator, director, researcher and mentor. Macpherson was an artistic associate at the Dance Arts Institute (formerly the School of Toronto Dance Theatre) for nearly 25 years and served as a faculty member at the institute.
Medhat Sabet Mahdy, who earned a bachelor’s degree from U of T, was named a Member of the Order for his unwavering dedication to building community and improving the quality of life for all in the Greater Toronto Area. Mahdy is former president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto and former president of YMCA Ontario.
Noella Maria Milne, who graduated from the Faculty of Law in 1986, was named a Member of the Order for her volunteer leadership and commitment to community service, particularly to initiatives supporting education, women and youth.
Peter Robb Pearson, who studied political science at U of T, was appointed an Officer of the Order for his groundbreaking contributions as a filmmaker and for his tireless advocacy of Canadian film and television. The winner of 19 Canadian Film Awards, Pearson is credited with directing some of Canada’s most influential films including Paperback Hero and The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar.
André Picard, health journalist and recipient of an honorary degree from U of T in 2017, was named a Member of the Order for his dedication to advancing public health understanding and practices in Canada as a leading health journalist. A staff writer at the Globe and Mail since 1987, Picard is also a bestselling author.
Joel Quarrington, who earned an artist’s degree from U of T’s Faculty of Music, was named a Member of the Order for his contributions as a world-leading double bass player and respected educator. The Juno Award-winning musician, who teaches at the University of Ottawa, is a soloist and has served as Principal Double Bass of the London Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company and Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Zainub Verjee, a senior fellow at Massey College, was named a Member of the Order for advancing representation and equitable policy legislation within Canada’s arts and culture sectors as a leading artist, administrator and critic.
Flavio Volpe, who earned a bachelor’s degree from U of T, was named a Member of the Order in recognition of his work advancing Canada’s automotive and technology industries on an international scale as a leading policy expert in national trade and industry competition. Volpe is president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.