Skip to content

Burnaby post-secondary to honour Orange Shirt Day founder, Nobel Prize winner

Fall graduations at SFU in Burnaby this week will include four special guests joining the school's honorary ranks.
[From left to right] Contemporary artist Stan Douglas, Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad, Elder Larry Grant and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Esther Duflo are receiving SFU honorary degrees in laws and fine arts.

The founder of Orange Shirt Day, which Burnaby, the province of B.C. and Canada recognized this past weekend, is set to receive a special scroll from Simon Fraser University (SFU).

Phyllis Webstad will be betsowed with an honorary doctor of laws degree from the local post-secondary school.

She, along with 1,700 students, will be recognized during convocation ceremonies taking place on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 5 and 6.

"Webstad, who is Northern Secwépemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xget’tem First Nation, has tirelessly shared her personal story over the past decade, as a revered speaker and as an author of children's books," her honoris causa description reads.

"Through facilitating dialogue and raising awareness of the Indian Residential School system she has created a space for healing."

Orange Shirt Day celebrated its 10th anniversary as a nation-wide initiative on Saturday, Sept. 30, which was also the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation across Canada.

Webstad will receive her honorary degree during Friday's graduation ceremony.

Meanwhile, a Nobel Prize winner will also be among SFU's honorary ranks.

Dr. Esther Duflo, considered one of the world's most highly accomplished economists, was the youngest-ever recipient of the economic sciences prize at age 47.

The French-American's work in alleviating global poverty earned her the 2019 award worth 11 million Swedish krona (more than $1.3 million CAD).

"Her commitment to addressing areas of health, education, financial inclusion, environment, and governance have led to policy change and real public good," Duflo's doctor of laws honorary degree profile states.

The two other recipients for the fall 2023 slate of SFU honorary degrees are Elder Larry Grant and contemporary artist Stan Douglas.

Grant, doctor of laws

"Elder Larry Grant (sʔəyəɬəq | 洪禮興) is a widely-respected educator and community leader of Musqueam and Chinese ancestry whose tireless efforts have played a key role in revitalizing Musqueam language, culture, and presence throughout Metro Vancouver. An adjunct professor in UBC’s First Nations Endangered Languages program and manager of the Musqueam Language and Culture Department, he has inspired countless generations to learn more about Indigenous histories, rights, and relations in Canada, including the history of First Nations and early Chinese migrants."

Douglas, doctor of fine arts

"Stan Douglas is one of Canada’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, lauded for his distinctive style of telling the stories of transitional periods through various mediums. His work is represented by the world’s top contemporary galleries and exhibitions, including the prestigious Venice Biennale, where he recently represented Canada. Collectively his work reflects intellectual and artistic freedom, and pivotal moments in the history of particular spaces, using technologies to upset conventional modes of representation."

For more information, you can visit SFU's website.