Western University will award honorary degrees to five leading individuals at its 308th convocation in October.

According to Western’s media release, four of the recipients are receiving honorary Doctor of Laws degrees: Sabine Nölke, the Canadian Ambassador to the Netherlands and Canadian representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; Frank Hasenfratz, the current chairman of the Board of Linamar (an international multi-billion dollar manufacturing company); and acclaimed economists and Western faculty members, David Laidler and Michael Parkin. 

Sir Christopher Ricks, an honorary recipient of Doctor of Letters, is a literary critic and previous professor of poetry at the University of Oxford and current William M. and Sara B. Warren professor of the humanities at Boston University. 

All recipients become official alumni of Western.

The process of becoming a recipient of an honorary award from Western starts with filling out a nomination form that is found on the Western secretariat’s site. The nomination form is open to the public.

Once the nominations are in, the Senate’s honorary degrees committee, consisting of senior administrators, faculty, students and alumni, meets twice annually to decide on the recipients for the spring and fall convocation ceremonies. 

Irene Birrell, the University secretary, explained that the main purpose of distributing degrees is not for the benefit of Western. Rather, "it’s an opportunity for us to honour people that we think have made significant accomplishments."

Birrell further explained that the recipients will be presented to the graduating class and then they will give the convocation address. "In some ways they present examples of what we hope our graduates aspire to.”

Western will honour these recipients at the Fall convocation in late October.