The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes McMaster University graduates who have attained a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts or sciences and/or service to society. This Award is intended to honour alumni whose accomplishments and contributions are of national and/or international significance, and/or have had a seminal or transformative impact on their field of endeavour. Two Distinguished Alumni Awards will be offered each year, one in the Arts (comprising Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Business) and one in the Sciences (comprising Science, Engineering and Health Sciences).

Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award will be chosen annually by the Selection Committee from among the nominations submitted. Nominations will be retained and reconsidered annually for a period of three years.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented at Fall Convocation, and cannot be conferred in absentia.

Visit the Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Archive to see past recipients of the award.

More information on
Eligibility and Criteria.

Click here to submit a nomination for a Distinguished Member.


The 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients


Dr. Junsen Zhang

Junsen Zhang is a two-time McMaster graduate, having earned his MA and PhD in economics from our University in 1986 and 1990 respectively. His career as a scholar began with positions at the Australian National University and the University of Western Ontario before he joined the faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. There, Dr. Zhang now serves as the Wei Lun Professor of Economics and the chair of the Department of Economics. He is also co-director of the Institute of Economics and Finance and a former associate dean (research) for the university’s Faculty of Social Science.

Much of Dr. Zhang’s theoretical and empirical research has focused on important family-related issues that have almost universal relevance. These issues include fertility, marriage, education, intergenerational transfers, marital transfers, gender bias and old-age support. Dr. Zhang also works on related macro issues such as aging, social security and economic growth. His work has used data sets gathered in Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China. Dr. Zhang has published more than 90 articles, many of them in leading economics journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economic Studies, Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics and International Economic Review. His work is influential. According to the Google Scholar Citations, his articles have been cited over 11,000 times as of November 7, 2016. He has served as editor of the Journal of Population Economics since 2001 and was president of the Hong Kong Economic Association from 2007 to 2011. Dr. Zhang is also a frequent contributor to broader-interest publications including Ming Pao Daily, Hong Kong Economic Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2013, Dr. Zhang became an elected fellow of the Econometric Society, one of the most prestigious honours in economics, and was the only fellow elected from Asia that year. He has earned the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Research Excellence Award and twice been ranked among the Top 1,000 Economists in the world. The McMaster Alumni Association inducted Dr. Zhang into the Alumni Gallery in 2009.

McMaster is proud to recognize Dr. Junsen Zhang of the Classes of ’86 and ’90 with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.



Dr. Margaret E. Clarke

Margaret Clarke earned her McMaster medical degree in 1984. She is now a longtime member of faculty at the University of Calgary where she previously held the Fraser Mustard Chair in Childhood Development – a chair named in honour of one of the most storied figures in the history of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr. Clarke is currently a professor in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine with appointments to the departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Kinesiology. She is also a fellow in the School of Public Policy. Known for her exceptional work related to autism, she was the founding executive director of both The Ability Hub and the Sinneave Family Foundation which is dedicated to building successful futures for adolescents and adults living with autism. She is currently the foundation’s senior vice-president and the lead for its work in science, practice and policy.

Dr. Clarke has served on the National Expert Advisory Committee for the Centres of Excellence for Children’s Well-Being and on the board of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. She has chaired Alberta’s Expert Advisory Panel on Autism and is currently a member of the executive committee of Neurodevnet and a member of both the Telus Community Board and the Canadian Autism Partnership working group.

With a strong focus on translating research into practical and clinical applications, Dr. Clarke has designed clinical practice guidelines and educational programs for physicians, judges and childcare professionals through the Brain in Mind program at the University of Calgary’s Child Development Centre. She has also developed innovative community outreach programs for schools, women’s shelters and rural communities. She currently devotes the majority of her clinical time to the aboriginal children and youth at the Elbow River Healing Lodge.

A two-time recipient of the University of Calgary’s Gold Star Teacher award, Dr. Clarke was named one of the 100 top physicians of the century by the Alberta Medical Association. She has also received an Alberta Centennial Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal.

McMaster is proud to recognize Dr. Margaret Clarke of the Class of ‘84 with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.