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Mr. Kenneth Knox

Mr. Kenneth KnoxDoctor of Laws, honoris causa

Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

For his visionary contributions to Ontario agriculture, dedication to public service, and his extensive leadership in Canadian science, technology and innovation, the university proudly confers upon Kenneth Knox the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Mr. Knox served as the Chair of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund selection board. He also served as Chair of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, an independent advisory body mandated by the Government of Canada to provide confidential advice on science, technology and innovation policy issues.

He was actively involved in Ontario agriculture as Chair of the Departmental Audit Committee of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and as an advisor to agricultural associations. He also owns a 500‑acre cash-crop and pumpkin farm, and is a renowned breeder of champion Percheron horses.

After graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph he joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This kick-started a 27-year career in the Ontario Government where he held positions such as Deputy Minister of Energy, Science and Technology and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food. He retired from the Ontario Public Service in 2000.

On the science and technology front, Mr. Knox established and led a ‘virtual ministry’ that fostered a ‘culture of innovation’ in Ontario, through investment in scientific research and the application of new technologies. Under his leadership, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, the Ontario Innovation Trust, and the Premier’s Research Excellence Awards were established.

Mr. Knox has played a vital role in the creation and administration of many organizations and initiatives, such as the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Innovation Institute of Ontario, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, and the MaRS Discovery District. He has served on the boards of the Ontario Bio Council, the Ontario Science and Innovation Council, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.

Mr. Knox is the recipient of many honours, including the Toronto Biotechnology Initiative Community Recognition Award; the Ontario Amethyst Award for public service; and the Sandra D. Lang Lifetime Achievement. He is also a member of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.