Carleton University today conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws on André Picard in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to public health and public health policy as a journalist, columnist and book author.
Picard was honoured at Carleton’s Spring Convocation, where approximately 3,580 students are receiving their degrees over four days of ceremonies.
A Carleton alumnus, Picard is the health columnist at the Globe and Mail, where he has been a staff reporter since 1987. He has written several bestselling books, including his recent work Matters of Life and Death: Public Health Issues in Canada.
“It’s a world of opportunity, where science and technology will shape the future – where you will actually shape the future,’’ said Picard. “So don’t limit yourself, don’t fear straying off the beaten path and failing and taking risks. There’s an African proverb that says: ‘To get lost is to learn the way.’ So I guess the best advice I can given you today is ‘get lost’ – get lost and who knows what you’ll find.”
Picard has received numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to journalism. He is an eight-time finalist of the National Newspaper Awards – Canada’s version of the Pulitzer Prize and, in 2010, was named Canada’s top newspaper columnist. He has received the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism, the Canadian Policy Research Award and the Atkinson Fellowship for Public Policy Research.
Picard has been recognized for his health-care advocacy by a number of health-care groups, including Safe Kids Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and the Canadian Hearing Society. In 2012, Picard was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his role in improving Canadian health care.
“Mr. Picard’s clarity in communicating complex health research, his commitment to fairness in practising journalism, and his dedication to public health in the public interest is a rare combination,” said Kathryn O’Hara, CTV Chair in Science Broadcast Journalism at Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication. “He continues to set an example of excellence for future generations of health science communicators and health journalists.”
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