June 4, 2018

Peter Doherty and Sandra Reilly honoured during convocation ceremonies

Honorary degree for Nobel Prize winner; Order of the University of Calgary for leader in child and family health
Sandra Reilly and Peter Doherty.

Sandra Reilly and Peter Doherty.

At convocation, the University of Calgary recognizes a number of exemplary individuals with honorary degrees and Orders of the University of Calgary (OTUC). The honorary degree, the Doctor of Laws, is the University of Calgary’s highest academic honour, bestowed on individuals whose notable achievements and community service merit recognition. The OTUC is a highly prestigious recognition honouring University of Calgary community members who have contributed in an impactful manner to the university over a period of time.

These distinguished individuals will address our graduating class during the June convocation ceremonies, sharing words of wisdom gained through years as leaders in their field. 

Dr. Peter Doherty, PhD, will have the honorary degree conferred upon him at the June convocation ceremony for the faculties of graduate studies, law, nursing and veterinary medicine, and Cumming School of Medicine. Dr. Sandra Reilly, EdD, will be conferred with the OTUC.

Nobel Prize winner, researcher and veterinarian

Professor Peter Doherty is the only person with a veterinary qualification to win a Nobel Prize. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for illuminating The Specificity of the Cellular Immune Defence. He was Australian of the Year in 1997, and has since been commuting between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne.

His research is mainly in the area of the immune system and its defence against viruses, particularly influenza. He devotes time to delivering public lectures, writing articles for newspapers and magazines and participating in TV and radio discussions and contributing to online formats.

Associate professor and leader in child and family health

Sandra Reilly has devoted her career at UCalgary to teaching undergraduate and graduate nursing students, as well as advancing nursing practice in the area of child and family health. Her commitment to the people of Calgary led her to establish a highly regarded crisis nursery that seeks to keep families intact and healthy. 

In 1986, Reilly secured private and public funding and implemented the first crisis nursery in Alberta. She contended that nursing could, in such an environment, reduce stress and provide hope to families, so as to avoid the lifelong consequences of what we now know as toxic stress. The crisis nursery has expanded over more than 30 years to include nine ancillary programs, under the auspices of the Children’s Cottage Society. Together, they have provided a range of services to more than 64,000 infants and children.

Nominations for honorary degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients are open year-round. Nominations forms and other important information are available on the Senate website.