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Two champions for social justice to receive honorary degrees this fall

An outstanding legal advocate for human rights and a leader in compassionate medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS will receive the University of Alberta’s highest honour this November during fall convocation ceremonies.

“The University of Alberta’s new strategic plan calls on us to lead with purpose … to educate, research and engage in ways that make a lasting, positive difference. The two individuals we are honouring today exemplify that aspiration and that promise,” said U of A Chancellor Peggy Garritty.

“Both Sheila Greckol and Stanley Read have made an indelible impact on the lives of people here in Canada and around the world. They are a testament to the impact our university’s graduates can and do have on the world. And I’m proud to recognize their achievements with the university’s highest honour.”

Fall 2023 Honorary Degree ReceipientsSheila Greckol and Stanley Read

As a lawyer, a judge and a citizen, the Honourable Sheila Greckol is a champion for social justice in Canada and around the world. A graduate of the U of A’s Faculty of Law and a leading labour and human rights lawyer in Alberta for 25 years, she became known nationally for defying the status quo in a quest for social change. As co-counsel for Delwin Vriend, a teacher fired from his job because he was gay, Greckol helped win a landmark 1998 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that would prevent discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. The decision has been the basis for human rights advances for 2SLGBTQ+ people worldwide. Her cases have also advanced gender, racial and reproductive rights, including a 1992 decision confirming that Alberta mothers are entitled to benefits while on maternity leave. Greckol was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench in 2001, and served as a justice of the Court of Appeal of Alberta from 2016 until her retirement in 2022. Her many accolades include the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Suzanne Mah Award from the Alberta Human Rights Commission for outstanding leadership in promoting human rights.
Sheila Greckol received an honorary doctor of laws degree November 22 at 10 a.m.  Click here to read her Convocation Address.

Stanley Read is a pediatric infectious diseases specialist whose compassion and expertise have improved countless lives worldwide. Internationally recognized as an early leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, he co-founded the first AIDS clinic and hospice in Toronto, along with comprehensive facilities and programs to care for adults and children affected by the disease. As an HIV/AIDS researcher, he established testing, treatment and prevention of maternal-infant transmission in Canada, Ukraine, Russia and the Bahamas, and served with other vital groups such as UNAIDS and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. Holder of a University of Alberta medical degree and a Distinguished Alumni Award, Read has produced extensive scholarship including 174 scientific articles, and worked with hundreds of HIV/AIDS experts worldwide. His years of mentorship of numerous health-care professionals has helped reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases, achieve better treatment and improve the quality of life for patients.
Stanley Read received an honorary doctor of science degree November 21 at 3 p.m.  Click here to read his Convocation Address.

September 25, 2023 By Bev Betkowski


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