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Honorary doctorates

This high honour recognizes individuals who do remarkable and exemplary things in the University’s fields of endeavour. Recipients may come from within academia and outside it in Québec, across Canada, or elsewhere in the world.


Rebecca Belmore

Contemporary Artist
Honorary Doctorate in Visual and Media Arts

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Rebecca Belmore is one of Canada's prominent contemporary artists. Her works are a provocation to cause us to look closely at the past damage and ongoing impacts of colonialism.

Through the early years of her practice, Belmore challenged audiences as a performance artist—using her presence as an Anishinaabe woman to confront depictions of Indigenous stereotypes. Her approach blends performance, installation, photo, and video, to operate at the intersection of art and politics. The artist confronts the issues of colonialism; including Canada's conflicting relationship with the land, the abusive treatment of women, access to clean water, homelessness, human displacement, and violence against Indigenous peoples.

Belmore's work addresses complex and troubling subjects while her aesthetic is conveyed in an unexpected contrast. She confronts the viewer with uncomfortable facts—about injustice, violence, and human suffering—through the use of beautiful imagery, quietude, and dignity.

Rebecca Belmore's work is exhibited at prestigious galleries in Canada and abroad and has earned her numerous honours over the past 15 years. She was the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and more recently she participated in Documenta 14 in 2017 and the 2019 Istanbul Biennial. Ms. Belmore was recognized with the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2013 and with the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2016.

A major force in the visual and media arts community, Rebecca Belmore is an influential artist whose work is taught alongside that of other leading artists in the world of art.

Lucien Bouchard

Lawyer, Politician, and Former Premier of Québec (1996–2001)
Honorary Doctorate in Law

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Lucien Bouchard is a lawyer and politician who served as premier of Québec from 1996 to 2001. Recognized for his leadership and his talent as a mediator, he is renowned as an ardent champion of Québec's interests.

Mr. Bouchard was born in the region of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and studied social sciences and law at Université Laval. His work as chief prosecutor on the Commission of Inquiry on the Exercise of Union Freedom in the Construction Industry (the Cliche Commission) did not go unnoticed, and he was subsequently appointed chief negotiator for the government of Québec, and later, Canada's ambassador to France.

In 1988 Lucien Bouchard entered federal politics as a member of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government. A few months before the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, he resigned his position and founded the Bloc Québécois.

After playing a key role in the 1995 referendum campaign, Mr. Bouchard left federal politics for the Parti Québecois, succeeding Jacques Parizeau as party leader and premier of Québec. Under his leadership, Québec balanced its budget while at the same time making significant social advances. He also proved himself an exceptionally competent and caring leader in managing the 1998 ice storm crisis.

Lucien Bouchard returned to the practice of law in 2001. Highly sought after as a negotiator and mediator for his ability to resolve thorny and complex disputes, he is recognized throughout Québec for his determination and continues to inspire decision-makers to this day. Mr. Bouchard has been honoured with numerous awards and distinctions, including Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec and Commander of the French Legion of Honour. He is deeply committed to social issues and actively supports the mission of Université Laval.

Janice J. Eng

Professor, University of British Columbia (UBC)
Honorary Doctorate in Rehabilitation Science

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Janice J. Eng is a world-renowned scientist whose innovative programs have changed the way neurological rehabilitation is practiced, improving the mobility and quality of life of numerous people.

Dr. Eng has built an impressive career on the strength of her multidisciplinary background in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, biomedical engineering, and kinesiology. A professor at the University of British Columbia since 1997, she has trained a new generation of skilled scientists, published over 250 scientific articles, and obtained$40 million in research funding, including$16 million as principal investigator.

Dr. Eng's physiotherapy and occupational therapy exercise programs for neurological patients have been adopted worldwide, and her scientific leadership and influence is indisputable. She continues to work with colleagues to develop international guidelines for patients of stroke and spinal cord injury.

Throughout her career, Dr. Eng has shown a remarkable ability to generate knowledge that is accessible, relevant, and easy to use in both clinical and community settings, and also by patients and their families.

A valued collaborator of the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval, Janice J. Eng is generous with her time, and an outstanding mentor to several Québec City–area researchers and clinical specialists with whom she has developed close working relationships. This down-to-earth woman strives hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance and is an inspiring model for future health science graduates.

Temple Grandin

Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University (CSU)
Honorary Doctorate in Animal Science

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Temple Grandin has made an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of animal welfare. Her world-class research led to important changes that help minimize stress on cattle and pigs during transport and slaughter operations.

Ms. Grandin was born in Boston in the United States. She has autism. She did not talk before the age of two and was given intensive speech therapy as a result. Encouraged in her studies by a high school science teacher, she went on to earn her PhD in animal science and become the renowned scientist we know her as today.

A professor of animal health at Colorado State University, she has developed special expertise in agricultural building design. Half the slaughterhouses in Canada and the United States now use the cutting-edge equipment she created. Her list of objective criteria for assessing animal stress is also widely used.

In addition, Temple Grandin is a world-renowned advocate for neurodiversity. In her bestselling book Animals in Translation (2005), she explains that her autism enables her to better understand the sensory reactions of animals. In 2010 she was the subject of a biopic and was also named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

The winner of over 80 awards and honours, Temple Grandin has always pushed her limits with courage and determination. Her story shows that higher education is possible despite the personal challenges one may face along the way.

Photo: Rosalie Winard

Maria Klawe

President, Harvey Mudd College (HMC)
Honorary Doctorate in Computer Science

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Renowned computer scientist and mathematician scholar Maria Klawe seeks to make the world of science more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

The Alberta native studied mathematics and worked at IBM Research in California before embarking upon an academic career. When leadership opportunities in this very masculine world arose, she didn't hesitate. She was the first woman to head the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, the first to be appointed dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Princeton University, and in 2006, the first to become president of Harvey Mudd College, a position she still holds today.

One of Maria Klawe's life goals is to ensure that everyone can feel comfortable about envisioning postsecondary studies or a career in computer science, science and technology, engineering, or math, regardless of their gender identity, origin, or sexual orientation.

Ms. Klawe's leadership and reputation have clearly shown that action to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion is possible. Under her guidance, the number of women enrolled in computer science at Harvey Mudd College increased from 10% to 50%. And during her tenure as dean of UBC's Faculty of Science, the number of women in academic positions doubled.

Maria Klawe is a visual arts enthusiast who believes that the world of science is a creative environment that influences social trends. She is a highly sought-after speaker, and her vision and engagement have earned her numerous awards and distinctions, including honorary degrees from 17 universities.

Marie-Nicole Lemieux

Opera Singer
Honorary Doctorate in Music

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Marie-Nicole Lemieux's outstanding vocal talent, determination, and versatility have established her as a top operatic talent and a voice for Québec on the world's greatest stages.

Marie-Nicole Lemieux was born in Dolbeau-Mistassini and studied at the Chicoutimi and Montréal music conservatories. Her career as a contralto took off in earnest in 2000 when she won the Queen Fabiola Prize and the Special Lied Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium.

For the past 20 years, Ms. Lemieux has criss-crossed the planet as an opera singer, recital artist, and soloist with leading symphony orchestras. She has worked under the direction of many of the world's best-known conductors. The breadth of her voice, her virtuosity, and her sense of nuance and drama make her equally at home and appreciated in a wide range of repertoires.

Ms. Lemieux thrives on challenge and loves exploring new horizons. She has 36 recordings to her credit and has performed over 200 times in the past five years. Yet her busy schedule has done nothing to undermine the close relationship she cultivates with her colleagues and audiences, instead only amplifying the vitality and sincerity of the connection.

A multiple award winner and outstanding cultural ambassador for Québec, Marie-Nicole Lemieux continues to attract new audiences to opera and classical singing with her passion and energy. She is known and loved by music aficionados across Québec, and serves as a model and inspiration for Université Laval students.

Photo: Geneviève LeSieur photographe

Davianna Pōmaika'i McGregor

Professor, University of Hawa iʻi at Manoa
Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences

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Davianna Pōmaika'i McGregor is a researcher, educator, and activist who has devoted her career to one goal: reconnecting her Indigenous people, the Kanaka ʻŌiwi, to ancestral lands, culture and sovereignty.

Dr. McGregor was born on Hawai‘i and has deep roots on the island. She holds a master's degree in Pacific Islands Studies, and doctorate in Hawaiian/Pacific History and is one of the cofounders of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she has been a faculty member since 1974. She has also led the Center of Oral History at the university since 2018.

Davianna Pōmaika'i McGregor demonstrates exceptional academic excellence in teaching and research which is profoundly engaged and impactful on her community. Through her work, this pioneer has not only transformed our understanding of Indigenous oral history, but also documented the persistence and vitality of Kanaka Ōiwi culture.

A rigorous and generous scholar, she has played an important role in the reappropriation of cultural practices long distorted by tourism, and in training a new generation of academics who are reasserting long-suppressed Indigenous voices.

She was also a steadfast campaigner for the restitution of the island of Kaho‘olawe, ravaged by many years of use as a U.S. military firing range. Her peaceful approach proved effective with authorities, facilitating mediation that would otherwise have been difficult to achieve.

In 2007, her book Na Kua'āina: Living Hawaiian Culture was published to widespread acclaim. A tireless advocate, Davianna Pōmaika'i McGregor is an inspiration to Canada and to Université Laval, which strongly supports Indigenous education and reconciliation.

Romeo Saganash

Cree Leader and Indigenous Rights Advocate
Honorary Doctorate in Law

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Throughout his career, legal specialist, negotiator, and politician Romeo Saganash has sought to defend human rights, especially the human rights of First Nations people.

Mr. Saganash was born in Waswanipi and raised in accordance with the values and traditions of the Cree Nation until he was seven years old. He then spent ten years at a residential school in La Tuque. That separation from his family and community informed everything he went on to achieve in his professional and political career.

In 1989 Mr. Saganash earned his law degree from Université du Québec à Montréal and became the first Cree to graduate from a Québec law school. As a key member of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) in Québec, he was involved in negotiating the historic “Paix des Braves” agreement between the Cree Nation and the Government of Québec, signed in 2002.

At the federal level, Mr. Saganash was the member of parliament for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou from 2011 to 2019 and New Democratic Party's critic for reconciliation.

Internationally he played a key role in drafting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which he continues to promote tirelessly. Mr. Saganash is firmly convinced that the unacceptable living conditions of Indigenous communities will only improve if the laws are changed.

Mr. Saganash's remarkable life story paints a picture of exemplary resilience and determination by a man who has played a decisive role in Canada's ongoing reconciliation with Indigenous people.

Photo: Dave Huehn

Ronald G. Sultana

Professor, University of Malta
Honorary Doctorate in Counselling

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Social justice advocate Ronald G. Sultana is an inspiring figure in educational and career guidance research. His work aims to reduce inequities and guide people to greater freedom and independence.

This professor of educational sociology and comparative education at the University of Malta has a remarkable track record as a researcher, with over 200 scientific publications to his name, 35 of them books or reports to international organizations.

As head of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, which he founded in 2003, Professor Sultana also leads a team of education researchers in the Mediterranean region. He is known for his pioneering researcher in the field of career guidance policy and is regularly consulted for his expertise by leading international organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the ILO. He is a strong believer in dialogue between career guidance practice and policy governance.

In 2004 Professor Sultana co-authored a major handbook on career guidance for policy makers in which he argued for a personalized approach to lifelong guidance.

He also has a longstanding interest in educational support for populations in difficulty, including immigrants and refugees, and acts as a mentor to many young researchers from developing nations.

Ronald G. Sultana's research has helped foster innovation in career guidance practices around the world. Indeed, his work underpins the research program at CRIEVAT (Centre de recherche et d'intervention sur l'éducation et la vie au travail), a research centre at Université Laval's Faculty of Education.

Gisèle Turcot

Founder of the Femmes et Ministères network
Honorary Doctorate in Religious Studies

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Sister Gisèle Turcot is an active, socially engaged member of the Catholic Church who has devoted her life to raising awareness and promoting peace, equality, and justice.

Sister Turcot's biblical studies and her master's degree in social work laid the foundation for a rich and fulfilling life and career. An inspiring leader, she has consistently combined her work in the community with the practice of reflection, teaching, and writing.

Sister Turcot joined Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil in Montréal in 1958, and is currently serving her third term as mother superior. A long-time advocate for the role of women in the Church, she is a founding member of the Femmes et Ministères network. In addition, she is the only woman to date to have been appointed secretary general of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Québec, a position she held from 1980 to 1983.

Sister Turcot taught at the Université Laval's Faculty of Social Sciences from 1975 to 1977. Drawing on her in-depth knowledge of working-class communities and the needs of the disadvantaged, including refugees fleeing their home countries to seek safe haven abroad, she has co-authored some ten reports and studies for provincial and international organizations.

Over the years, Sister Turcot has penned more than 200 op-ed pieces and commentaries in a variety of general audience publications. In 2006 she founded Antennes de paix, the Montréal chapter of the international organization Pax Christi, and continues to work promoting human rights and reconciliation.

Photo: Altinoa photographie

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Québec Inuit Environmental Activist
Honorary University Doctorate

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Sheila Watt-Cloutier is a dedicated environmental, cultural and human rights advocate renowned for her commitment to protecting the Arctic and Inuit culture.

Ms. Watt-Cloutier was born in Kuujjuaq, and traveled exclusively by dogsled until the age of 10, when she was sent away to school, first to Nova Scotia, then Churchill, Manitoba to the residential school and Ottawa. In the early 1970s she returned to the north, where she would later contribute to efforts to revamp the education system for Inuit youth through her work with the newly formed Kativik School Board.

The historical traumas experienced by her people fuelled her advocacy work. In 1995 she was elected to the Makivik Corporation and the Inuit Circumpolar Council and went on to help spearhead the United Nations global work to ban the production of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), playing an instrumental role in the negotiations leading to the 2001 Stockholm Convention on POPs.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier has actively collaborated on research and consultations on climate change in the Arctic. In 2005 she joined with 62 other members of the Inuit community to file a legal petition to the Washington D.C. based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights detailing the harm her people are experiencing as a result of climate change caused by increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It was the first international legal action on climate change. In 2015 she published The Right to be Cold, in which she makes the case that climate change should be recognized as a human rights issue.  

The recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a UN Environment Programme Champions of the Earth award, Sheila Watt-Cloutier is a great source of pride and inspiration. She embodies the mission and objectives of Université Laval with courage and sensitivity, highlighting the interdisciplinarity that underpins sustainable development, nordicity, education, and the recognition of Indigenous peoples.

Honorary doctorates for years prior to 2018 are currently available in French only.