March 2, 2020 | Volunteer & Awards

U of T to confer honorary degrees on 15 academic, business and community leaders

By Rahul Kalvapalle

A grid of 15 portraits of U of T's 2020 honorary degree recipients.


A sports executive who oversaw the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA championship. A computer scientist whose pioneering fundamental research led to the current revolution in artificial intelligence. And a prominent leader in Canadian business, philanthropy and volunteer service.

These luminaries – Raptors president Masai Ujiri, U of T University Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton and Indigo Books and Music CEO Heather Reisman – are just three of 15 eminent women and men who will receive honorary degrees from the University of Toronto this year and will address graduating students during the University’s convocation ceremonies.

“These exceptional individuals have left an indelible mark on their respective fields, on the University of Toronto and on society as a whole,” said U of T President Meric Gertler.

“They make an important contribution to the experience of our graduating students at convocation, and they are a lasting source of inspiration to the entire U of T community.”

Here is the full list of honorary degree recipients for 2020:

Elizabeth Cannon

Portrait of Elizabeth Cannon smiling.

Cannon is recognized for her excellence in the academy as a leading researcher and a tireless ambassador for science and technology in Canada and globally. She is a professor of geomatics engineering and president emerita at the University of Calgary.

Douglas Cardinal

Portrait of Douglas Cardinal looking serious.

Cardinal is recognized for his outstanding service to the professions as a world-renowned Canadian architect and pioneer in sustainability, green buildings and ecologically designed community planning. With Métis and Blackfoot roots, he has helped to build a world where beauty, balance and harmony thrive.

David Colcleugh (BASc 1959, MASc 1960)

Portrait of David Colcleugh smiling

Colcleugh is recognized for his outstanding service to the university through his transformative and pioneering contributions to leadership education in engineering. He is an engineer and the former chair, president and CEO of DuPont Canada.

Anne Innis Dagg (BA 1955 UC, MA 1956)

Anne Innis Dagg looks over her camera with a giraffe in the background.

Innis Dagg is recognized for her outstanding service for the public good as a trailblazing scientist and a passionate advocate for equity in academia. She is a prominent zoologist, animal rights advocate and feminist whose extensive publications include her co-authorship of The Giraffe: Its Biology, Behavior and Ecology.

Ken Greenberg (BArch 1970)

Portrait of Ken Greenberg smiling.

Greenberg is recognized for his outstanding service for the public good as a tireless advocate for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life, and excellence in the professions. He is principal of Greenberg Consultants and former director of urban design and architecture for the City of Toronto.

Donald Guloien (BCom 1980 UC)

Portrait of Donald Guloien smiling.

Guloien is recognized for his excellence in the professions as an outstanding leader and contributor to the insurance industry, and for his outstanding service to the University as a dedicated volunteer and mentor. He is a former president and CEO of Manulife Financial. 

Geoffrey Hinton

Portrait of Geoffrey Hinton looking serious.

Hinton is recognized for his excellence in the academy as a global pioneer in the field of deep learning as a mode of artificial intelligence. He is a vice-president and engineering fellow at Google, chief scientific adviser at the Vector Institute and a University Professor emeritus at U of T.

Shirley Hoy

Portrait of Shirley Hoy smiling.

Hoy is recognized for her outstanding service to the University through her tireless commitment to its governance, and for her outstanding service to the local community. She is a former city manager for the City of Toronto and a former chair of U of T’s Governing Council.

Harry LaForme

Portrait of Harry Laforme smiling.

LaForme is recognized for his outstanding service to the nation, as an exemplary advocate for Indigenous rights, land claims, education and self-government, and for his excellence in the professions. He was the first Indigenous judge in Canadian history to be appointed to an appellate court.

Heather Reisman

Portrait of Heather Reisman smiling

Reisman is recognized for her outstanding service for the public good, as a champion of literacy and an exceptional volunteer and philanthropist and for her excellence in the professions as a nationally-esteemed business leader. She is the founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music.

Allen J. Scott

Portrait of Allen Scott looking serious.

Scott is recognized for his excellence in the academy through his innovative and distinctive contributions to the fields of urban studies and economic geography. He is a professor emeritus of geography and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Chandrakant Shah

Portrait of Chandrakant Shah looking serious.

Shah is recognized for his outstanding service for the public good, as a pioneering leader in public health education in Canada, a tireless advocate for Indigenous peoples and a champion of equity and inclusion. He is a practising physician and a professor emeritus at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

David Shore (LLB 1982)

Portrait of David Shore smiling

Shore is recognized for his excellence in arts and entertainment through his creative genius, his exceptional contribution to global culture and his award-winning television series. He currently serves as executive producer and showrunner on the ABC drama The Good Doctor.

Masai Ujiri

Portrait of Masai Ujiri smiling.

Ujiri is recognized for his outstanding service for the public good, as a humanitarian focused on meaningful social change and for his excellence in sports and in the professions as a visionary leader and champion of diversity. He is president of the Toronto Raptors.

Warren Washington

Portrait of Warren Washington smiling.

Washington is recognized for his excellence in the academy, as an internationally recognized pioneer of innovative climate change research and methodology. He is a senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Don't miss out!

Update your contact information to be the first to know about exclusive offers. This makes it easy to tell us when your email has changed.

Update my information

Special discounts

Did you know that U of T alumni get deep discounts on attractions, sporting events, car rentals and more? Sign up today.

Sign up