U of T faculty, alumni to receive Order of Ontario

They are global leaders in fields as diverse as medicine, computer science, and human rights. Now, these University of Toronto faculty and alumni comprise more than half of the 25 extraordinary leaders appointed to the Order of Ontario.

The list of those appointed to Ontario's highest honour includes six U of T professors renowned for their research and teaching: Dr. Gail Robinson, Ron Deibert, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Stephen Cook, Dr. Shafique Keshavjee and Dr. Rory Fisher, as well as Brian Stewart, Distinguished Senior Fellow with U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

They are joined by adjunct faculty and alumna Phyllis Creighton, alumni Anne Golden, Dr. Vladimir HachinskiJoan Green, John Honsberger and the Honourable Sydney Robins as well as honorary graduate Deepa Mehta.

 “The Order of Ontario recognizes extraordinary Ontarians who have made a lasting mark on the province, the country and the world,” said the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. “This group of remarkable citizens has made a difference in the lives of so many people over the course of a lifetime, and I’m proud to invest them with Ontario’s highest honour."

Onley will invest the appointees at a ceremony Feb. 6, 2013 at Queen's Park.

Members of the U of T community named to the order include:

Professor Gail Robinson of U of T’s Department of Psychiatry, cross-appointed to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is internationally respected as a crusader in the fight against violence toward women. A psychiatrist and advocate, she co-founded Canada's first rape crisis centre and helped establish the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario's task force on physician-patient sexual abuse.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is an associate professor at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. The Palestinian physician and internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist is devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through his own research and by founding the charitable organization, The Daughters of Life Foundation in Toronto.

University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cook is one of the world's most recognized and influential computer scientists. A pioneer in the field of computational complexity, Cook identifies what computers can and cannot solve efficiently; his concept of 'NP-complete' is considered one of the two most essential principles in computer science. He teaches undergraduate and graduate students.

Professor Ronald Deibert is widely recognized to be among the world's leading experts on digital technology, security and human rights. Deibert is the director of the Citizen Lab at U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and was among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communications rights, openness and security worldwide.

Professor Shafique Keshavjee is a thoracic surgeon and world leader in lung transplantation. The James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery, Dr. Keshavjee is also professor, Division of Thoracic Surgery & Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, and director, Toronto Lung Transplant Program.Dr. Keshavjee's advances in organ preservation and repair have significantly increased the number of donor lungs used to save lives with lung transplantation.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Rory Fisher is a pioneer in the field of geriatric care, who has made monumental contributions to the fields of end-of-life care, ethics in geriatric care and prevention of elder abuse. He headed the Department of Extended Care at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto for almost 20 years.

Brian Stewart is a Distinguished Senior Fellow with U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs. The renowned reporter and foreign correspondent has covered international wars, famine, child slavery, genocide and many other topics over his 48-year career. His quality and depth of reporting have earned him numerous awards, including three Geminis.

Adjunct faculty and alumna Phyllis Creighton received her BA and MA from U of T. A passionate advocate for mental and reproductive health care, social justice, peace and the environment. Creighton chaired the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Addiction Research Foundation's clinical institute, and held leadership positions in numerous organizations that benefit both current and future Ontarians.

Alumna Anne Golden has made enormous contributions to public policy and civil society over a 40-year career. Golden received her BA and PhD from U of T as well an honorary doctor of laws in 2002. The retired president of the Conference Board of Canada also served as president of the United Way of Greater Toronto and chaired several high-profile public policy task forces. She is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Special Advisor at Ryerson University.

Alumnus Dr. Vladimir Hachinski is a world-renowned neurologist and one of the foremost authorities in the fields of stroke, dementia and Alzheimer research. His discoveries have changed thinking, approaches and treatments, to the benefit of millions. Dr. Hachinski is also a professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario and is currently president of the World Federation of Neurology.

Alumnus the Honourable Sydney Robins of Toronto has been a prominent figure in Ontario's legal profession for more than 50 years. As a Supreme Court of Ontario judge, and a judge of the province's Court of Appeal, Robins authored many decisions cited frequently in courts across the country.

Alumnus John Honsberger received his BA from U of T. A widely respected Thornhill lawyer specializing in bankruptcy and insolvency law, for seminal contributions to legal education, history and community service. Honsberger was founding editor of the Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette.

Alumna Joan Green received her BA from St. Michael's College, U of T and her B.Ed and M.Ed from OISE at U of T. The Toronto Board of Education's first female CEO and the founding CEO of Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), Green has improved the learning experiences of Ontario's children and has served the community in a wide range of volunteer roles.

Honorary graduate Deepa Mehta, an international icon in the film industry, uses the medium to defend human rights and fight social injustice. U of T awarded Mehta the Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in 2011. A lifetime advocate for women's rights, Mehta received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2012.

Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario, the province's highest official honour, recognizes the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field. Nominations are made by members of the public. The deadline for nominations is March 16.


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