McGill will bestow its highest honour on three outstanding individuals by awarding honorary degrees at ceremonies this fall: Jane Goodall, internationally renowned researcher and environmental advocate, will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa at a private ceremony on September 26. Irving Ludmer, visionary Montreal business leader and philanthropist, and Stuart (Kip) Cobbett, Governor Emeritus of the University’s Board of Governors, will receive their honorary degrees with approximately 1650 graduating students at the Fall Convocation ceremonies to be held on October 29 at Place des Arts.
At the age of 26, Dr. Jane Goodall followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her pioneering research into the behaviour of wild chimpanzees. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. In 1961, she entered Cambridge University as a Ph.D. candidate, one of the few people in history to be admitted there without a university degree. She earned her Ph.D. in ethology in 1966. In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the world and for generations to come. JGI continues the field research at Gombe and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitat. JGI is also widely recognized for building on Dr. Goodall’s work in community-centred conservation, which recognizes the central role that people play in the well-being of animals and the environment. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, a global program that guides young people in more than 50 countries in becoming conservation activists and leaders in their daily lives. Today, Dr. Goodall travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, environmental crises, and her reasons for hope. Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace and Dame of the British Empire.
A visionary philanthropist and business leader, Irving Ludmer is dedicated to promoting the advancement of research for brain and mental health. After graduating from McGill University, Mr. Ludmer joined the Steinberg grocery chain, where he held a number of positions, including that of vice-president. In 1971, he left the company to become one of Quebec’s leading real estate developers. He rejoined Steinberg’s in 1983 and assumed control of its real estate subsidiary, Ivanhoe Inc., and then as president and CEO of Steinberg Inc., he played a pivotal role in the firm’s successful turnaround. In 1989 when Steinberg’s was sold, Mr. Ludmer, along with Dr. Arnold Steinberg and Mr. William Cleman, formed the investment holding company Cleman Ludmer Steinberg. That same year, he established the Irving Ludmer Family Foundation.
The Ludmer Foundation works to improve the quality and efficiency of treatments offered to patients dealing with mental health illnesses as well as supporting a great number of organizations, social services, and health agencies. In 2015, Mr. Ludmer received the award for Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, for his unwavering commitment to making breakthroughs in brain research more achievable
A passionate humanitarian, Irving Ludmer has made a difference with his love of science and generosity. He serves as a model of philanthropy among McGillians.
Stuart (Kip) Cobbett’s love of McGill began as a student. Highly involved in campus life, he participated in activities ranging from intramural athletics to the Winter Carnival. From 1976 to 1985, he was a part-time lecturer in banking and negotiable instruments in the Faculty of Law and when he moved to London, he took on the role of President of the McGill Alumni Association (MAA) in the United Kingdom.
Kip Cobbett has enjoyed a distinguished law career spanning more than 40 years. During his time as partner at the business law firm of Stikeman Elliott, he served as Managing Principal of its London office, Managing Partner of its Montreal office and Chief Operating Officer of the firm. He worked to place greater emphasis on the firm’s corporate social responsibility. For his many contributions to the practice of law, the Barreau du Québec recognized him as Advocatus Emeritus.
A McGillian to the core, Kip Cobbett has received almost every major honour possible from the McGill Alumni Association. He is a Governor Emeritus of McGill University’s Board of Governors, having served since 2005, including seven years as Chair. In his words: “McGill has provided the foundation for my entire professional and business career. My McGill education transformed my life and set me on a path that I have followed to this day.”
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