Brad Bennett and Deepa Mehta to receive UBC honorary degrees in June

Kelowna businessman and community volunteer Brad Bennett and filmmaker Deepa Mehta will receive honorary doctoral degrees at this June’s Convocation ceremonies at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett has a long and distinguished record of community service in the Okanagan and leadership in higher education in British Columbia. He served as Chair of UBC’s Board of Governors for five years, and was instrumental in the creation of UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Since 1990, Bennett has been the president of McIntosh Properties Ltd., a real estate investment and holding company. He is a director of the Premier’s Technology Council, UBC Properties Trust Board, a trustee and member of the Executive Advisory Board of the Fraser Institute, and a member of the BC Business Laureates Hall of Fame Cabinet.

Bennett has also served as Chair of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, the Okanagan University College board, and was the first co-chair of the Okanagan Partnership, a community-led, non-profit society dedicated to the vision of a prosperous and sustainable Okanagan region. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, and the Honorary Alumni Award from UBC. In October 2010, Bennett was awarded the Order of British Columbia.

Deepa Mehta is a Genie Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated Indian-born Canadian film director and screenwriter. She began her career as a television and motion picture editor, producer and director, after coming to Canada from India in 1973.

Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta

In 1996, Mehta wrote, directed and produced Fire, the first film in her “elemental trilogy.” It became the subject of controversy in India as Hindu fundamentalists pressured the Indian government to ban the film because of its lesbian content and questioning of the destiny of marginalized Indian women. The film went on to receive 14 international awards.

The next instalments, Earth and Water, also drew critical acclaim. Water, centering on the practice of child marriage and the treatment of widows, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007 (Best Foreign Film) and won three Genie awards, including best film.

Mehta also directed several English-language films set in Canada, including The Republic of Love (2003) and Heaven on Earth (2008) which deals with domestic violence.

Convocation ceremonies will be held at UBC’s Okanagan campus on Thursday, June 9, and Friday, June 10. Both honorary degrees will be conferred during ceremonies on June 9. Brad Bennett’s honorary degree will be conferred at the 12:30 p.m. ceremony, and Deepa Mehta will receive her honorary degree during the 3 p.m. ceremony.

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