Thompson Rivers University

Internationally recognized Canadian to receive TRU honorary degree

May 24, 2006

KAMLOOPS – Thompson Rivers University will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree this June upon Dr. Fraser Mustard, a major Canadian medical researcher and expert and advocate for early childhood education.

One of the world’s leading experts on childhood learning and behaviour, Dr. Mustard is founding president and fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and through his work there, has been a leader in Canada with respect to the socioeconomic determinants of human development and health.

“People throughout Canada and the world have benefited greatly from the lifelong efforts of Fraser Mustard,” said TRU president Roger Barnsley. “His leadership, vision and support of health and education symbolizes Thompson Rivers University’s commitment to lifelong learning and the importance of child welfare and development.”

Perhaps the single most important impact of Dr. Mustard’s work has been the creation of the Council for Early Child Development, formed in 2004 following the publication in 1999 of his pivotal Early Years study, co-edited with former New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain.

The study showed that most of the “wiring” in the human brain, which supports life-long learning, behaviour and health, is in place by the age of six, and that children’s earliest experiences and interactions with adults and other children are far more important than previously realized.

Born in Toronto in 1927, Dr. Mustard graduated high school there in 1947 then earned an MD from the University of Toronto in 1953, and a PhD in Biology at Cambridge University in 1956. For the next ten years, he was engaged in a major research career into platelets, arterial thrombosis, heart attacks and little strokes and was a member of the team credited with discovery of the effects of Aspirin.

He was awarded the Royal College of Physicians of Canada Medal in 1958, and in 1965 was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. In 1966 Dr. Mustard founded the new medical school at McMaster University, in 1967 he received the Gairdner Foundation International Award, and in 1976 was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

In 1982, Dr. Mustard founded the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR), which led to his interest in research into the social determinants of health and human development and a focus on early child development.

As a major researcher, Dr. Mustard has had 489 publications in academic journals and has served on the editorial boards of six academic journals. As an internationally recognized scholar and specialist, Dr. Mustard has acted as advisor to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, UNICEF, the Aga Khan University in Pakistan, and the Canadian and Australian governments, and has been awarded 16 Canadian and two international honorary degrees.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Mustard has served on numerous provincial and federal government committees, advisory boards and foundations, and is currently a member of a dozen humanitarian and educational boards, among them the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, of which he is founding president and institute fellow, Friends and Alumni of Canadian Institutes of Health Research, of which he is a founding member, the Council for Early Child Development of which he is founder and Chair Emeritus.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1986, received the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation Distinguished Service Award and was named Professor Emeritus, Pathology, by McMaster University in 1988, and received the Canadian High Technology Person of the Year and the Canadian Research Management Association R&D Management awards in 1989.

In 1993, Dr. Mustard was awarded the William J. Dawson Medal by The Royal Society of Canada and named Professor Emeritus, Pathology, by the University of Toronto. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1994, received the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada Award of Merit in 1996, was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998. He received the W. Gunther Plant Humanitarian Award in 1999 and the FNG Starr Award by the Canadian Medical Association in 2001, and in 2003 was named to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Dr. Mustard will receive his honorary doctorate at the Education, Social Work and Tourism Convocation Ceremony to be held at Thompson Rivers University’s Kamloops campus at 10:00 am June 8th.

Photo available: contact Bronwen Scott at 250-371-5739 or by email.

    For more information, please contact:

  • Dr. Fraser Mustard at 416.849.1332
  • Dr. Roger Barnsley at 250.828.5001