USask to pay tribute to honorary degree recipients

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) will honour five remarkable individuals proudly associated with the university who have gone on to make significant contributions to their communities and to Canadian society throughout their careers.

During this year’s virtual USask Spring Convocation online celebration beginning May 31, the university will award honorary degrees to celebrated writer, Elder and community worker Maria Campbell, world-renowned barley breeder Dr. Bryan Harvey (PhD), award-winning author and social justice advocate Trevor Herriot, innovative entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. That Ngo (PhD), and distinguished legal scholar Ed Ratushny.

USask President and Vice-Chancellor Peter Stoicheff said he is looking forward to the university recognizing the extraordinary achievements of these five individuals.

“We are proud to celebrate the impact these honorary degree recipients have made throughout their remarkable careers,” said Stoicheff. “Their respective achievements span a broad spectrum of fields and disciplines, and most importantly, they have all been committed to the concept of community and service. We are grateful to have this opportunity to bestow the University of Saskatchewan’s highest honour on them during this year’s Spring Convocation celebration.”

Here is a brief look at this year’s recipients:

Maria Campbell

Honorary Doctor of Letters

A dedicated volunteer, activist and advocate for Indigenous rights and the rights of women and children for more than 40 years, Campbell opened doors for Métis writers when she authored her best-selling autobiography, Half-breed, in 1973. She has since written eight books and dozens of stage plays, including Flight, the first all-Indigenous theatre production in Canadian history. For the past 30 years, Campbell has been a mentor for young people, including USask students, and is the cultural advisor at USask’s College of Law after previously being an Indigenous scholar and writer in residence, and working as an assistant professor and lecturer in the College of Arts and Science. Campbell was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008 and named to the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2005.

Bryan Harvey

Honorary Doctor of Science

A world-renowned barley breeder, Dr. Bryan Harvey (PhD) spent four decades contributing to the field of plant science and to the Canadian agriculture economy through his work with the Crop Development Centre at USask. During his time at USask from 1966 until retirement in 2005, Harvey bred or co-bred more than 60 varieties of barley. Harvey’s lifetime of achievement was recognized with appointment to the Order of Canada in 2007, induction into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2020, and being awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Harvey was also inducted into the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2006 and received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2005.

Trevor Herriot

Honorary Doctor of Letters

An award-winning writer, social justice activist and influential naturalist from Regina, Herriot has authored six books, and has had several stories, essays and articles published in the likes of the Globe and Mail and Canadian Geographic magazine. He has produced radio documentaries for the CBC, is a regular guest on media broadcasts, has appeared in and consulted on several video/film documentaries and has taught university creative writing courses. Herriot, who earned a bachelor’s degree with honours in English from USask in 1979, has received multiple awards and honours, including the prestigious Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence in 2017.

That Ngo

Honorary Doctor of Science

After earning his bachelor’s degree and PHD in the 1970s at USask, Ngo went on to become a celebrated biochemist, researcher scientist and innovator, serving as president and CEO of a number of companies in Canada, the United States and China. Ngo has published more than 140 researcher articles, edited seven books, and holds 14 different industry patents, and was the co-inventor of the Ngo-Lenhoff Assay, a groundbreaking technological procedure that benefits diabetes patients worldwide. In 2016, he was selected one of the USask College of Arts and Science’s Alumni of Influence and now opens doors for other enterprising students after establishing the That Ngo Fund for Study Abroad at USask.

Ed Ratushny

Honorary Doctor of Laws

A nationally regarded legal scholar, author and certified NHL hockey agent, Ratushny earned bachelor’s and law degrees at USask in the 1960s before embarking on an award-winning legal career. He became a trusted advisor to public servants, administrative tribunals, cabinet ministers and Chief Justices from across Canada. In turn, these symbiotic relationships imported broader experience and deeper understanding into Ratushny’s classrooms and his related academic writing. His professional achievements have been recognized by the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, an honorary Doctorate from the Ontario Law Society and a variety of additional, prestigious legal awards.


This spring’s recipients will be honoured on the graduation celebration website on May 31, which be accessible through the USask convocation website: https://students.usask.ca/academics/graduation.php

Honorary degrees are the highest honour USask can award, and acknowledge the worthy and unique contributions recipients have made to their community and to the world. The university recognizes individuals who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in research, scholarly and artistic works; performed exceptional public service; contributed greatly through their professional or philanthropic activity; and demonstrated extraordinary athletic prowess. To view past recipients, visit: https://library.usask.ca/archives/campus-history/honorary-degrees.php 

Read the news release here.