Local First Nations Elder, business leader and astrophysicist honored
UBC’s Okanagan campus will not only be celebrating its students this week but will also be awarding three honorary degrees to business leader Anthony von Mandl, Splatsin First Nation Elder Rosalind Williams and astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi.
UBC Okanagan honorary degrees are conferred on deserving individuals for their long-standing achievement in an academic field or unparalleled commitment to community service. Recipients will receive their honorary degrees during campus convocation ceremonies on June 7 and 8.
“All three honorary degree recipients this year demonstrate, through their outstanding careers and achievements, the very principles that drive UBC’s Okanagan campus,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard. “They have each devoted their lives to creating vibrant and healthy communities and to pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. It is our great pleasure to confer on them honorary degrees.”
Victoria Kaspi will receive an honorary Doctor of Science, Rosalind Williams will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters and Anthony von Mandl will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Victoria Kaspi, CC, FRS, FRSC
Astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi is a renowned leader in the study of neutron stars. A professor of physics at McGill University, she is the director of the McGill Space Institute and a member of the McGill Pulsar Group. She holds a PhD from Princeton University, and has served as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education with McGill University’s Faculty of Science. Her current work includes the development of instrumentation for the new Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope in Penticton, British Columbia.
When: ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 7
Rosalind Williams is an Elder in the Splatsin First Nation and has long been a steadfast advocate for its people. She was the first woman to be elected Chief of the community in 1972 and was one of the first women chiefs in all of British Columbia. She has worked tirelessly to preserve and promote the Splatsin culture and language, becoming a leader in the documentation and conservation of the Secwepemctsín language. In 2000 she created the Splatsin Tsm7aksaltn (Splatsin Teaching Society)—a community childcare and teaching centre—where she works actively to research the Secwepemctsín language and ensure that it and the Secwepemc culture are passed on to future generations.
When: ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 7
Anthony von Mandl, OC, OBC
Anthony von Mandl is an entrepreneur whose efforts have helped transform the Okanagan Valley into a world-class wine-producing region and a popular tourism destination. Born in Vancouver, von Mandl founded a wine importing firm in Vancouver at the age of 22. Despite difficult initial years, he successfully grew the business and in 1981 began to realize his dream of producing world-class wines in BC’s then unknown Okanagan Valley. His family’s Mission Hill Family Estate has since been transformed into an international landmark winery. In 2016, von Mandl was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he is also a recipient of the Order of British Columbia.
When: ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 8