Another name has been added to the list of luminaries receiving honorary degrees from Memorial during spring convocation in St. John's. For his contribution to the Canadian civil service, Dr. Alex Himelfarb will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree on Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Himelfarb is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he obtained his BA, master's and PhD in sociology. He was a professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick from 1972 to 1981.
Dr. Himelfarb joined the public service in 1981 with the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada. He has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility since that time. In June 1999, Dr. Himelfarb became deputy minister of Canadian Heritage, a position he held until his appointment as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet in May 2002.
The Clerk of the Privy Council is the head of the Canadian civil service. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently nominated Dr. Himelfarb as ambassador of Canada to Italy.
Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university's academic governing body, after a very careful examination of the grounds for their nomination. The honorary doctorate is designed to recognize extraordinary contribution to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement. The awarding of honorary doctorates, an important feature of Memorial's convocation, serves to celebrate both the individual and the university as well as to inspire graduates, their families and guests. Spring convocation kicks off at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook on May 12. In St. John's, convocation runs at the Arts and Culture Centre from Wednesday, May 24, to Friday, May 26.
At Memorial’s spring convocation ceremonies honorary degrees will also be awarded to the six members of the Olympic gold medal curling team: Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab, Mike Adam, Russ Howard and coach Toby McDonald; Irish poet Paul Muldoon; nursing practitioner Kay Matthews; Choir leader Sister Kathrine Bellamy; Roland Martin, businessman and public servant; author and academic Dr. Roland Le Huenen; businessman Gary Bruce; historian Dr. Robert Gellately; and Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman. During fall convocation 2006, slated for Oct. 20 in St. John's, honorary degrees will be awarded to Ingeborg Marshall, Anne Hart and Dr. Alison Feder.