Nov. 9, 2021

Class of 2021: Meet our fall 2021 Order of the University of Calgary recipients

Honour recognizes record of exemplary and distinguished service to the university  

During today’s fall 2021 convocation ceremonies, the University of Calgary will recognize two extraordinary academics who have shown both excellence in teaching and research, and outstanding advocacy in their fields.

Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD’99, and Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD, are the fall 2021 recipients of the Order of the University of Calgary. 

The award honours those with a continual record of exemplary and distinguished service to the university and is available to all current or past members of the campus community.  

Meet our recipients:

Marina L. Gavrilova

Leader, educator, diversity advocate

Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD’99, demonstrates academic distinction, exemplary leadership, and a commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion. As a University of Calgary computer science professor, she fosters growth and excellence in her students and mentees, empowering graduates of her lab to build successful careers.

After graduating from Lomonosov Moscow State University and completing her PhD at UCalgary, she became one of the world’s leading experts on machine learning and biometrics. She has raised UCalgary’s profile internationally, introducing new models of information fusion and instigating the area of social behavioural biometrics.

Gavrilova has launched conferences and co-founded a scientific journal. She has represented Canada as a keynote speaker at major international events and received several prestigious awards. Her publishing record comprises 300 refereed articles and books, including a World Scientific bestseller.

Passionate about inspiring women in STEM, she organized the WISE Faculty Promotion Workshop for Western Canada. She also shared her academic journey in the Diversity Dialogue series at UCalgary and in the book, Women Negotiating Life in the Academy: A Canadian Perspective.

Gavrilova has shared her passion for research on Discovery Channel, CBC Radio and in a National Film Board documentary. She featured in the National Museum of Civilization exhibit, Power of Biometrics: From Science Fiction to Reality, which linked the discoveries of Newton, Einstein and Darwin to her biometric research.

In her spare time, Gavrilova writes poetry, finding inspiration in nature with husband, Dmitri, and sons, Andrei and Artemy.

Keith Dobson

Expert, educator, and mental health advocate

During his 32 years at the University of Calgary, Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD, has made significant contributions to the university as a committed professor and mentor, an accomplished scholar, an innovative researcher, and a generous campus contributor.

From leading the development of Alberta’s first doctoral training program in clinical psychology, to championing the university’s Mental Health Strategy, Dobson’s work has transformed the fabric of our institution. His influence will be felt for generations as his leadership and advocacy have elevated conversations around mental health.

Dobson gained an international reputation as an expert in alleviating mental health stigma and as one of the world’s leading experts on cognitive behavioural therapy — a well-established form of psychotherapy. Working with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, he helped develop several programs to promote mental resilience including The Working Mind (TWM) and TWM First Responders, which have been delivered to more than 250,000 people worldwide.

His incredible body of scholarly work on depression, psychological treatments and professional psychology includes more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, 17 books, and 80 book chapters, with his work being cited more than 20,000 times. He has mentored and supervised more than 50 graduate trainees.

Dobson has held countless roles at UCalgary including serving as psychology department head; chair of the strategic planning committee that led to the university’s bold and empowering Eyes High strategy; serving terms on the General Faculties Council, Senate, and Board of Governors; and sitting on numerous advisory councils and selection committees.

Nominations for Honorary Degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients are open year round.

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Congratulations, Class of 2021

Graduates reflect on their time at the University of Calgary.