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Mr. Neil Pasricha

Neil Pasricha

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Health Sciences

For his internationally recognized efforts as a promoter of positive mental health, social advocacy, community wellness and youth literacy, the university is proud to confer upon Mr. Neil Pasricha the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Mr. Pasricha’s work contributes to mental health awareness and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. The Oshawa-born author, speaker and award-winning blogger earned acclaim in 2010 for his first publication The Book of Awesome, which appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List for 125 weeks, and sold more than a million copies in 12 countries. His newest book The Happiness Equation has rocketed to the top rungs of the Globe and Mail’s Canadian non-fiction list.

Mr. Pasricha connects with audiences through a unique blend of humour and authenticity. His inspirational TEDx lecture The 3 A’s of Awesome recounts his journey through depression after the loss of his marriage and the suicide of his best friend. Those difficult times prompted him to launch the website 1000awesomethings.com, which encourages people to notice and appreciate everyday pleasures we often overlook and undervalue. By compiling a list of simple moments – such as cashiers opening new lanes in the grocery store, or idly popping bubble wrap – Mr. Pasricha and his perspectives became an international sensation.

In 2015 he partnered with a Discovery Channel animation studio on an interactive children’s book, Awesome is Everywhere, which teaches resilience through gratitude. As well, his The Awesome Project donates books to children in need, thanks to a partnership with Kobo and First Book Canada.

Mr. Pasricha is a Director of The Institute for Global Happiness, whose mission is to improve happiness levels inside organizations. His focus on workplace well-being and productivity extends to his current position as a human resources executive at Walmart Canada, where he initiates leadership development programs for CEO development.

A graduate of Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mr. Pasricha is a member of the Durham District School Board’s Definitely Durham Hall of Fame. He has served on the Board of Directors for Shad Valley, a Canadian charity that empowers exceptional secondary school students to become tomorrow’s leaders and change makers.