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Maria Ressa, Michael J. Fox among 2021 Simon Fraser University honorary degree recipients

Rappler
Maria Ressa, Michael J. Fox among 2021 Simon Fraser University honorary degree recipients
The honorary degree is the highest honor conferred by the Canadian university

Rappler CEO and President Maria Ressa and Canadian-American actor Michael J. Fox are among Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) honorary degree recipients for 2021.

SFU’s honorary degree is the highest honor conferred by the Canadian university. This recognition is awarded to individuals for their “scholarly, scientific or artistic achievement” or their “exceptional contribution to the public good.”

On their website, SFU said Ressa has endured political harassment and arrests in her battle for truth and democracy under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Ressa was arrested in February 2019 over a cyber libel case and was later convicted in June 2020 along with former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. In January 2021, a Manila court issued arrest warrants against her and Rappler reporter Rambo Talabong over another cyber libel case. (LIST: Cases vs Maria Ressa, Rappler directors, staff since 2018)

Fox was recognized for his advocacy work through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through research, and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with the disorder today.

A total of 13 individuals will be receiving honorary degrees from SFU. Nine recipients, including Ressa and Fox, will be conferred at the June 2021 Convocation Ceremonies. The remaining 4 recipients will be conferred at the Fall 2021 Convocation Ceremonies.

The rest of the 2021 honorary degree recipients are as follows:

June 2021 honorary degree recipients

  • Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • Victor Hayes, “Father of Wi-Fi” and information technology and communication pioneer
  • Herb M. James, founder of International Sound Foundation
  • Wally Oppal, former Canadian judge
  • Malinda S. Smith, political scientist
  • Theresa Tam, Canada’s first female Chief Public Health Officer
  • Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit activist

Fall 2021 honorary degree recipients

  • John Blatherwick, public health leader
  • Catherine Clement, community history curator
  • Margo Kane, interdisciplinary artist
  • Nurjehan Mawani, humanitarian and lawyer

– Rappler.com