July 5, 2023 | Volunteer & Awards

Order of Canada recognizes outstanding U of T community members

By Adina Bresge

Three Order of Canada medals: six white petals surround a maple leaf and crown hub.

(photo by Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall, OSGG)

A science policy visionary who transformed the landscape for Canadian health research. A game-changing basketball executive. A composer who draws from Anishinaabe teachings and classical musical training to hone her own contemporary sound. 

These are some of the members of the University of Toronto community recently recognized with the Order of Canada.

The Governor General announced 85 appointments to the Order of Canada on June 30, including one promotion within the Order. Alan Bernstein (BSc 1968 Innis, PhD 1972, Hon LLD 2019), one of Canada’s foremost scientific leaders, Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri (Hon LLD 2020) and internationally renowned composer Barbara Assiginaak (BMus 1991) are among the U of T alumni luminaries who appear on the list.

“Today, we recognize individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to our society,” Gov. Gen Mary Simon said in a statement. “A group of individuals who, through dedication and ajuinnata – perseverance – make our communities and our country better every day.” 

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes individuals who have made a difference in their communities with their outstanding achievements and service to the country. 

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: 

Barbara Assiginaak (BMus 1991), an alumna of the Faculty of Music, was named a Member of the Order for “her diverse contributions to contemporary music as a classically trained musician rooted in Anishinaabe teachings.” The Odawa First Nation composer and musician has had commissions and performed across Canada and around the world.

Alan Bernstein smiling and wearing academic robes.
Alan Bernstein (photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Alan Bernstein (BSc 1968 Innis, PhD 1972, Hon LLD 2019), an alumnus and professor emeritus in the department of molecular genetics at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, was promoted to Companion of the Order for his leadership in Canadian health research and science policy and support for future generations of researchers.

Bernstein is credited with revitalizing Canadian health research, promoting interdisciplinary research and championing women and younger scientists as the inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the president and CEO of CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), among other roles in research administration. 

Alumnus Irwin Elman (BEd 1984 OISE, MEd 2009), who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), has been named an Officer of the Order for his “advocacy of children and youth, and for his transformational listening tours that give voice to society’s most vulnerable.” An educator, counsellor, youth worker and policy developer, he has influenced fundamental shifts in the child welfare system. 

Physician Ronald Gold was named a Member of the Order for his work to eradicate meningitis globally and his mentorship of the next generation of pediatric specialists. From 1979 to 1992, Gold served as head of the division of infectious disease at the Hospital for Sick Children and professor of pediatrics at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

Jayanne English laughing outdoors.
Jayanne English (photo by Martin Dunkley-Smith)

Jayanne English (BSc 1989 WDW), an alumna of U of T’s Woodsworth College, was named a Member of the Order for her “innovative work at the crossroads of science and art, and for making astronomy accessible to all.” English, who has worked with NASA on coordinating their Hubble Heritage Project, currently teaches in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Manitoba.  

Joan Heather Garson (LLB 1978), an alumna of the Faculty of Law, has been named a Member of the Order for her "leadership and governance of numerous non-profit organizations within Jewish communities across Canada and around the world.” Garson has held many leadership roles with local and international organizations.  

Gary Daniel Goldberg (BA 1972 UC) was appointed a Member of the Order for “his decades of philanthropic leadership and contributions to scientific, health, environmental and educational initiatives.” An alumnus of University College, Goldberg served on Governing Council from 2013 to 2020, and received an Arbor Award in 1998 in recognition of his service to the university. 

Astronomer and astrophysicist Richard B. Larson (BSc 1962 VIC, MA 1963), who earned his bachelor of science degree and master’s degree at U of T, was made a Member of the Order for his immense contributions to our understanding of star formation and galaxy evolution. 

Executive John Anthony Lederera supporter of U of T’s Urology Global Health Fund, which provides surgical expertise around the globe with the goal of improving health in underserved communities – was named a Member of the Order for his business leadership and philanthropy toward the community and health sectors. 

Jeff Reading smiling indoors.
Jeff Reading (photo courtesy the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health)

Physician Jean Marmoreo (MD 1974), an alumna and former lecturer at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, was named a Member of the Order for her work as a family doctor specializing in women’s midlife health care and advocacy for medical assistance in dying. 

Jeff Reading (MSc 1990, PhD 1994) was named a Member of the Order for his contributions to Indigenous health research and “leadership in bringing Indigenous perspectives to scientific and health institutions.” An alumnus of U of T, Reading is a professor (status-only) at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and special advisor to the dean in the area of Indigenous health. He held a one-year term as inaugural interim director of Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health in 2015. 

Physician Richard Keith Reznick (PGMT 1982) was named an Officer of the Order for his “innovative contributions to the field of medical and surgical education.” The inaugural director of the Centre for Research in Education at University Health Network (The Wilson Centre) from 1997 to 2002 and former R.S. Mclaughlin professor and chair of U of T’s department of surgery, he later served as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University, and president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

Robert James Sharpe (LLB 1970), a distinguished jurist in residence at the Faculty of Law, was named an Officer of the Order for his contributions to Canadian jurisprudence both as a judge and a scholar. An active member of the U of T community, alumnus and former professor, Sharpe served as dean of the Faculty of Law from 1990 to 1995, departing upon his appointment to Ontario Court of Justice (General Division), now the Superior Court of Justice. He spent more than two decades as a judge on the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Ann Martin Shaw (BA 1962 TRIN), who graduated from Trinity College in 1962, was named a Member of the Order for her lifelong dedication to figure skating as a participant, official, educator and mentor. Having competed in the World Championships as an athlete, Shaw has judged skating at all levels – including two Olympics – and played an influential role in applying the concepts of ice dance to shape the International Skating Union’s judging system. She was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2010.

Masai Ujiri gestures while speaking in Convocation Hall, wearing academic robes.
Masai Ujiri (photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Stephen Stohn (JD 1977), an alumna of the Faculty of Law, was named a Member of the Order for his longtime contributions to the Canadian entertainment industry. An executive producer of the Degrassi television series, Stohn also represented hundreds of Canadian artists over the years as an entertainment lawyer, including Blue Rodeo and Randy Bachman. 

Masai Ujiri (Hon LLD 2022), a 2022 U of T honorary degree recipient, was named an Officer of the Order for his work on and off the basketball court. Ujiri, president and general manager of the Toronto Raptors and vice-chair of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, is the founder of the Giants of Africa Foundation, director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Africa program, and launched the philanthropic platform That’s Humanity in 2019. In 2019, he delivered the keynote address at U of T's Black History Month luncheon.




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