From a high school dropout to a star on the silver screen, Michael J. Fox was bestowed with Simon Fraser University’s highest honour this week.
He was given an honorary degree from the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. Fox responded with humour upon receiving it during a virtual convocation ceremony.
“I really don’t deserve it,” said the Burnaby-raised actor. “The closest I got to Simon Fraser University was parking at the Burnaby lookout with my girlfriend on Saturday night.”
Fox also joked that the students chose “a really bad time to graduate” but later said, “we need people to travel that road and take us in new directions.”
The actor was recognized for his advocacy work in finding a cure for Parkinson’s, the debilitating disease Fox was diagnosed with at age 29.
His foundation raises funds for new research – including trials at SFU – to help improve the lives of those living with the disease.
More than six million people are currently living with Parkinson’s in countries across the globe, according to the foundation. It affects their nervous systems, gradually weakening their movement over time.
Fox, of 13 recognized with a degree this year, encouraged students to be grateful.
“With gratitude, optimism is sustainable,” he said.
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