2019 Recipients

Dr. Gerald Chan
Chairman and CEO, Morningside Group

Dr. Gerald Chan, the cofounder of the Morningside Group, is renowned as a scientist, a businessman and philanthropist. The recipient of six honorary degrees, Dr. Chan is a trustee of Scripps Research Institute, and a member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Chan also chairs the Innovation Advisory Committee of the Wellcome Trust in London and the Committee of Overseers of Morningside College of Chinese University of Hong Kong. … / more



Dr. Makoto Gonokami
President, The University of Tokyo

Dr. Makoto Gonokami became the 30th president of the University of Tokyo in April 2015. His area of expertise is optical physics. The University of British Columbia is grateful to Dr. Gonokami for his advocacy for stronger international higher education alliances. Through his support for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, The Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo Center for Quantum Materials and other initiatives, he has shown inspired leadership in fostering global knowledge cooperation. … / more



Elder Larry Grant
Adjunct Professor, First Nations and Endangered Languages Program
Consultant, Musqueam Language and Culture Department

Larry Grant was born and raised in Musqueam traditional Territory by a traditional hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam family. When Larry enrolled in the First Nations Languages Program at UBC it after four decades as a longshore man, it awoke his memory of the imbedded value that the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language has to self-identity, kinship, culture, spirituality, territory and history prior to European colonisation. Grant served as Elder-in-Residence at the UBC First Nations House of Learning where he played a key role in educating others about the first peoples who lived here. … / more



Dr. Akira Haseyama
President, Keio University

A specialist in Japanese legal history, Dr. Haseyama became a professor at the Faculty of Letters at Keio University in 1997. He was appointed Dean of Students in 2001, became the Dean of the Faculty of Letters in 2007 and the Director of the Keio Institute of Oriental Classics. From 2009 to 2017, he served as Keio University’s Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Keio’s affiliated schools, and Mita and Hiyoshi Campuses. He became the 19th President of Keio University in May 2017. The University of British Columbia is grateful to Dr. Haseyama for his commitment to equity and diversity, and for his e fforts to strengthen ties with UBC and other universities globally. … / more



Mr. Gerald Heffernan
Founder, Gerdau Ameristeel Corp

Gerald Heffernan is a world leader in the development and successful adaptation of new technologies to the steel manufacturing industry. Throughout his career Gerald Heffernan placed both his business and scientific talents at the disposal of his country. He served as a Director of the Business Council on National Issues, a Director and Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a member of the Ontario government Committee on Government Productivity, and a member of the federal government’s Neilson Commission. In particular, the University of British Columbia commends Gerald Heffernan for his support for Engineering education, students and graduates. … / more



Dr. Robert H. Lee
Founder and Chair, The Prospero Group

Known to many as “Mr. UBC,” Bob Lee’s ties to the university are deep. He is not only a graduate, it was at UBC that he met his wife, Lily. All four of their children attended UBC. Over the past 30 years, Bob has served on the Board of Governors, as chancellor, and as chair of the UBC Foundation. He was also instrumental in creating the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at the Sauder School of Business. One of Bob’s greatest contributions was envisioning and founding the UBC Properties Trust in 1988. …. / more



The Honourable Beverley McLachlin
Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada

As Canada’s longest-serving chief justice and the first woman in the role, Beverley McLachlin has presided over some of the nation’s most important cases. Throughout her career, she has striven to ensure the primacy of the rule of law, and has promoted impartiality, equality and access to justice for all. From 1974 to 1981, she served as an associate professor in the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. … / more




Ms. Janet Napolitano
President, The University of California

Janet Napolitano is the 20th President of the University of California, and the first woman to serve in this role. She leads a university system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. She is a distinguished public servant, and is the former U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and was a two-term governor of Arizona. … / more



President’s Medal recipients Gerald Chan, Beverley McLachlin and Larry Grant. (Photo by Paul Joseph/UBC)


Janet Napolitano receiving her medal. (Photo by Martin Dee/UBC)


Makoto Gonokami with Santa Ono (photo by Paul Joseph / UBC)



Akira Haseyama with Santa Ono. (Photo by Paul Joseph / UBC)