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UPEI confers three honorary degrees at May convocation

Stanish, Bick, Murphy all leaders in health-related fields
| Special Event

Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Prince Edward Island, announced today that three leaders in their respective health-related fields will be awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees at Convocation ceremonies on May 7.

Receiving the highest honour the university can bestow will be Alzheimer researcher and policy writer Dr. Katherine L. Bick, sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon Dr. William D. Stanish, and entrepreneur and pharmacist Mr. Ray Murphy.

“Each honorary degree recipient exemplifies success in their chosen health-related field,” said President Abd-El-Aziz. “We are so excited to honour these three distinguished individuals who have contributed so much to their communities. They are inspiring examples of how our graduates might use their talents, skills, and education to develop to their full potential and make their own special contributions to the world.”

The University’s Senate approved the honorary graduands at a meeting earlier this year in accordance with University policy that states that honorary doctorates of laws will be presented “to individuals who display the highest levels of achievement in public and community service.”

The Convocation ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 7 in the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre with the first ceremony beginning at 10:00 am and the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 pm. Dr. Stanish will address the morning convocation while Mr. Murphy will speak during the afternoon ceremony. Each ceremony will be broadcast live on Eastlink TV and at

Dr. Katherine L. Bick

Born in Clyde River, PEI, Dr. Katherine L. Bick is a leader in Alzheimer research and policy, and credited with being a key part of the awakening of the public’s consciousness about this neurodegenerative disease. During her illustrious career, she carried out research on other diseases of the brain including multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s.

Dr. Bick graduated from Prince of Wales College in 1949, and received her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology from Acadia University in 1951, Masters in 1952, and earned her PhD from Brown University in 1957. She held research positions at the University of Western Ontario and UCLA School of Medicine, and academic positions at California State University (Northridge) and Georgetown University. In 1976, Dr. Bick joined the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Washington, DC and later served as Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health until 1990. Dr. Bick received an honorary degree in science from Acadia University in 1990.

Dr. Bick continued to work on epidemiological studies of dementia in Italy and the United States on behalf of the World Health Organization, and then became a consultant to several foundations.

Dr. William D. Stanish

Dr. William (Bill) Stanish is a well-known leader in the field of orthopaedic surgery, specializing in sports medicine and innovative research in physiology and biomechanics of the tendon, ligament, and knee cartilage. Starting his academic studies at the Prince of Wales College in 1961, Dr. Stanish was a star athlete playing on the football, hockey, and basketball teams. Dr. Stanish went on to Dalhousie University’s medicine program where he continued his athletic abilities as captain of the football and hockey teams, earning him the 1965 and 1967 title as Dalhousie’s most outstanding male athlete. In 1970 he received the Malcolm Honour Award for being the top graduate of Dalhousie University.

Dr. Stanish has lectured worldwide, authored numerous book chapters and articles, and is considered an international leader in the field of sports medicine. His accomplishments are many; included among them Dr. Stanish is the founder and Director of the Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic of Nova Scotia, Chief Medical Officer for the Canadian Olympic Team, past Deputy Editor of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, member of the Order of Nova Scotia, and has been inducted into the UPEI and Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame. Dr. Stanish is Professor Emeritus–Surgery at Dalhousie University and was recently inducted as a Professor Emeritus to the International Federation of Orthopaedic Research.

Mr. Ray Murphy

Mr. Ray Murphy is a health and community leader on Prince Edward Island who is dedicated to the well-being of Islanders. Mr. Murphy has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Saint Mary's University and graduated in 1973 from Dalhousie University's College of Pharmacy. Murphy’s Pharmacies was founded in 1981 and has been nationally recognized for health promotion, patient care, innovation, and charitable work. Murphy Healthcare has expanded over 35 years to include pharmacies, medical centres, and retirement homes.

Mr. Murphy is a recipient of the Order of PEI, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, and was named one of our country's 100 most influential pharmacists by the Canadian Pharmacists Association. In 2009 he was inducted into the Junior Achievement of PEI Business Hall of Fame. Mr. Murphy has been heavily involved in numerous charities and community organizations over the years including the United Way of PEI, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Chair of the Gold Cup and Saucer Parade, President for the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, and boards of directors for Maritime Electric and the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Mr. Murphy rejuvenated the former Basilica Recreation Centre into Murphy’s Community Centre, a non-profit facility that promotes healthier communities through programs and services such as sports, fitness, music, dance, childcare, camps, and a Teen Zone. Mr. Murphy is a strong advocate for the health of Islanders and his generous nature, advocacy, and vision are proof of his commitment for a better Prince Edward Island.


Nicole Phillips
Associate Director
Marketing and Communications
(902) 566-0947

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