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TORONTO, May 30, 1997 -- A leading jurist on Canada's highest court, a remarkable lawyer and former lawmaker, and North York's greatest champion will receive honorary degrees at York University's spring convocation ceremonies.

Mr. Justice Peter deCarteret Cory of the Supreme Court of Canada, former Ontario Attorney General Ian Scott, and North York Mayor Mel Lastman, will be presented with the degrees at convocation ceremonies to be held on Friday, June 13.

Cory and Scott, both alumni of Osgoode Hall Law School, will each receive a Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLd) at the convocation ceremony for Osgoode Hall Law School on Friday, June 13 at 2:30 p.m. in the main gymnasium, Tait McKenzie Centre. Approximately 315 undergraduate and 60 graduate students will be granted their degrees at this ceremony.

Lastman, who will receive a Doctor of Laws honoris causa, will address the Schulich School of Business and Faculty of Graduate Studies convocation ceremony on Friday, June 13 at 10 a.m. in the main gymnasium, Tait McKenzie Centre. Approximately 340 students will be presented with degrees at this ceremony.

"York University is proud to recognize the significant contributions these individuals have made to their communities, their professions, and their country. Whether in the courts of law or in the political and civic arenas, they have shown leadership and a commitment to bettering society that we acknowledge and applaud," said York University President Susan Mann.

  • Mr. Justice Peter deCarteret Cory (Osgoode 1950) was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1989. Cory, 71, originally from Windsor, Ont., has written significant decisions in criminal, family, constitutional, commercial, labour, administrative, and common law. His years as an appellate judge coincided with the challenging development of case law elaborating and applying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, vastly expanding the scope and changing the nature of judicial decision making. He is highly regarded as a model of the professional virtues of integrity, courtesy, industry and commitment to the service of others.

    After being appointed to the Ontario bench in 1974, Cory served for seven years on Ontario's High Court and for eight years on the Court of Appeal before moving to the country's highest court. Cory has also served on many professional associations, including the national council of the Canadian Bar Association. Cory practised law at the Toronto firm of Holden, Murdoch, specializing in litigation. He served with distinction as a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and has been a strong supporter of law schools and legal education throughout his career.

    Cory graduated from the University of Western Ontario (1947) and Osgoode Hall Law School (1950), after joining the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 17 and serving with courage and distinction as a pilot during the Second World War.

    "Mr. Justice Cory's judgments stem from a keen intelligence and broad knowledge of the law, and a profound commitment to doing what he believes is right, both for the law and in the service of justice," said Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Marilyn Pilkington.

  • Ian Scott (Osgoode 1959) is best known for his service as Attorney General of Ontario from 1985 to 1990, but also enjoys a reputation as one of Canada's leading barristers. He was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 1985, representing the downtown Toronto riding of St. George-St. David until his retirement from politics in 1990. Scott, 62, held key cabinet posts, including Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Native Affairs. During the early years of the Rae administration, Scott served as Opposition critic for Intergovernmental Affairs and Native Affairs.

    As Attorney General, Scott led the way on important reforms, including the introduction of the first public sector pay equity legislation in North America, and the comprehensive reform of the Ontario court system. Scott led the government's initiative to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and implemented a new process around provincial judicial appointments designed to ensure that the most highly qualified candidates be appointed to the bench.

    Scott held the Bora Laskin Chair in Public Law at Osgoode Hall Law School (1991-92), served as an instructor for several years in the law school's annual Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop, and lent his expertise to several other Ontario university law schools. Before entering the legislature, Scott practised law with Cameron, Brewin & Scott, which merged into Gowling, Strathy, Henderson, to which he returned after retiring from the legislature. In his distinguished career at the bar, Scott argued cases in every level of court in the country. He also served as counsel during important public inquiries and has provided leadership in a wide range of legal and community organizations. In 1993, Scott suffered a crippling stroke. In his recovery, he has demonstrated the same personal strength that has enabled him to achieve so much on behalf of others throughout his distinguished career in the law. In 1996, he received the Order of Canada.

    "Ian Scott exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism and public service, and this degree is a fitting tribute to his distinguished career," said Dean Pilkington, adding that he has always shown his commitment to law schools in the province, particularly Osgoode.

  • Mel Lastman will become the third member of his immediate family to graduate from York University when he receives his honorary degree from the Schulich School of Business. During the convocation ceremony, he will be escorted by his sons Dale (LLb 1982) and Blayne (BA 1983). The mayor of North York since 1972, Mel Lastman has championed his community as the "city with a heart," and has helped to shape North York into a truly cosmopolitan centre.

    Lastman, 63, was a key player in the development of the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts. He has fostered close ties between the North York community and York University, and he has been a major figure on the civic scene during most of the university's developing years. He is a former member of the university's Board of Governors and has been a great friend to the university over the years. Lastman's fight for the extension of the Spadina subway line to York University is legendary. He instituted a City of North York Scholarship program for first-year York University students, and he continues to encourage and support connections with York's Schulich School of Business. The city has hosted a major reception annually for the East-West Enterprise Exchange, an international training seminar sponsored at York each year. He has maintained a close relationship with Enterprise York through the city's Small Business Development Office.

    "Mel Lastman's success in promoting and transforming the City of North York has greatly enhanced the city's profile, to the benefit of local businesses and the entire community. We are delighted to acknowledge the strong ties between York University and the North York community that he has helped to foster," said Deszo Horvath, Dean of the Schulich School of Business at York University.


    For more information, call:

    Mary Ann Horgan
    Media Relations
    York University
    (416) 736-2100, ext. 22086

    Sine MacKinnon
    Senior Advisor for Media Relations
    York University
    (416) 736-2100, ext. 22087

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