Honorary degree recipients, June 6, 2018
Glen Alan Jones and Janet Rossant
Each year, the University of Manitoba bestows honorary degrees upon individuals who have achieved preeminence in the advancement of culture, communications, education, administration, scholarship, leadership, philanthropy, mentorship and business.
During the 139th annual Spring Convocation of the University of Manitoba on June 6, 2018, Glen Alan Jones, for his outstanding contributions to higher education research, and Janet Rossant, for her pioneering work on stem cells, are receiving honorary degrees.
Glen Alan Jones, B.A., B.Ed.(Manitoba), M.Ed., Ph.D.(Toronto)
Dr. Glen Jones is widely recognized as the foremost scholar writing about Canadian universities, as well as one of the world’s leading authorities on university governance.
He grew up on a farm near Killarney, Man., the youngest of four children. He began his post-secondary education at the University of Manitoba, earning his bachelor of arts in 1983 and bachelor of education in 1985.
During his studies, he developed a passion for universities, envisioning these post-secondary institutions not just as places to be educated, but as extraordinary spaces where ideas are born and diverse perspectives come together. He has since devoted a lifetime to the study of what makes the Canadian system unique, why it works and how we can maximize its capacity to be an incubator of new opportunities.
Dr. Jones pursued this dream at Canada’s largest all-graduate faculty of education, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. After earning his master’s and doctorate in higher education, he joined the faculty as a teacher and researcher. He’s progressed through a number of roles, and was the first to hold the prestigious Ontario Research Chair in Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement.
In 2016, he became dean of OISE, an appointment that allows all of his strengths to converge. With Dr. Jones at the helm, the organization has successfully undergone a comprehensive and rapid transformation involving a range of stakeholders, from students and staff to policymakers.
While his leadership skills are revered, he is most proud of his contributions to higher education research. Collaborating with peers from around the world, he has greatly expanded our academic understanding of the factors impacting Canadian universities, from systems and governance to politics and policy.
His work has explored the unique aspects of the Canadian model, including the strong national partnerships that have flourished within the world’s most decentralized university system. Two decades ago, he explained these differences in the book Higher Education in Canada: Different Systems, Different Perspectives, and it remains a foundational work for understanding higher education across our country.
Dr. Jones has written or co-authored 14 books and more than a hundred articles on Canadian higher education, and has been called upon to share his expertise in more than 40 countries. The many awards and honours bestowed on his work have taken him to Barbados, Beijing, Oslo and Shanghai, to name a few.
The University of Manitoba is proud to award a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, to Dr. Glen Alan Jones for his outstanding contribution to higher education.
Janet Rossant, C.C., B.A., M.A.(Oxford), Ph.D.(Cambridge), LL.D.(Dalhousie, Mount Allison, Windsor), D.Sc.(UBC, Cambridge)
Through her trailblazing stem-cell research, Dr. Janet Rossant has advanced the study of children’s illnesses and laid the groundwork for future advances in regenerative medicine.
Growing up in southeast England, she was inspired to study life sciences by her female biology teacher, during a time when girls were often discouraged from pursuing science. Undeterred, she received her bachelor of arts in zoology at Oxford University, followed by a Ph.D in mammalian development at Cambridge University. In 1977, marriage brought her to Canada, where she joined Brock University and then the University of Toronto, as an associate professor.
The goal of her research is to understand the miracle of how a single cell develops into a complex organism like a human being. She demonstrated that mouse embryonic stem cells can in fact form a healthy, living creature, if provided with supporting placental cells. This suggested that human embryonic stem cells could be a major source of cells to treat degenerative diseases.
Her groundbreaking work led to the discovery of the trophoblast stem cell, which helped understand how congenital abnormalities in the heart, blood vessels and placenta can occur. Her current research focuses on genetic control of both normal and abnormal development of embryos. These findings have been applied to the study of regenerative medicine, birth defects and cancer.
With these advances come questions about the ethical use of stem cells. She has helped lead the discussion by chairing the working group developing stem cell guidelines set by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Today, she remains at the forefront of developmental biology and stem cell research. She is president and scientific director of The Gairdner Foundation, a senior scientist and chief of research emeritus at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a deputy scientific director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network. She has also been the director of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a member of the University of Manitoba’s Distinguished Professor Selection Committee.
Her contributions have been recognized with many national and international awards, including the Gairdner Wightman Award (2015) and the Ross G. Harrison Medal from the International Society of Developmental Biologists (2013). In 2018, she was selected as the Laureate of North America for the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award. She is also a Companion of the Order of Canada.
The University of Manitoba is proud to award a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, to Dr. Janet Rossant, a world leader in the field of developmental biology.