Canadian Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield will be one of three honorary degree recipients at the University of Guelph’s winter convocation ceremonies.

Whitfield, who won gold in the first Olympic triathlon in 2000 in Sydney, will receive an honorary doctorate along with Michael McCain, president of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., and Suzi Beber, a dedicated supporter of cancer research and care at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

Ceremonies for more than 700 graduands will take place at War Memorial Hall Feb. 17-18.

McCain will speak Feb. 17, 1 p.m., during the ceremony for the College of Biological Science and the Ontario Agricultural College.

McCain has been president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Foods, a major Canadian food processing company, since 1999.

Among his volunteer and philanthropic contributions, he has been a member of food industry stakeholder groups, a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, a trustee of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and director and co-chair of the campaign cabinet of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation.

Whitfield will speak Feb. 17, 4 p.m., to graduands of the College of Business and Economics.

At the Sydney Games, he recovered from a cycling crash to win the event, setting an Olympic record. He won silver eight years later in Beijing.

He is one of only five men worldwide to have competed in triathalon in all four Games since it became an Olympic sport.

Since retiring from competing, Whitfield has donated time, effort and money to support young athletes, and has become an entrepreneur.

Beber will speak Feb. 18, 1 p.m., to graduands of the College of Arts, the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, and OVC.

She started the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund in 2001 to support cancer prevention and treatment.

The fund has raised more than $1.6 million from events including sponsored walks and sales of art, jewellery and a cookbook. All proceeds support OVC’s Pet Trust fund.

Beber also supports pet owners grieving the loss of their animals. In 2013, she received a Canadian Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General for her service to the community.

Full Schedule:

Wednesday, Feb. 17

10 a.m.
College of Biological Science
(undergraduates only)

1 p.m.
College of Biological Science
(graduate students only)

Ontario Agricultural College
Honorary Degree Recipient: Michael McCain

4 p.m.
College of Business and Economics
Honorary Degree recipient: Simon Whitfield

Thursday, Feb. 18

10 a.m.
College of Physical and Engineering Science

1 p.m.
College of Arts
College of Social and Applied Human Sciences
(graduate students and bachelor of applied science)
Ontario Veterinary College
Honorary Degree recipient: Suzi Beber

4 p.m.
College of Social and Applied Human Sciences