Profs Named to Royal Society of Canada

September 22, 2009 - News Release

Two University of Guelph professors have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, considered Canada's senior academic honour.

Prof. Ric Knowles, School of English and Theatre Studies, and recently retired Prof. Peter Kevan, School of Environmental Sciences, are among 77 new fellows. They will be inducted at a Nov. 28 ceremony in Ottawa.

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada is the country’s oldest and most prestigious scholarly organization. Scholars are selected for the honour by their peers and are those the society believes have had a profound impact on sciences, arts and humanities in Canada.

“This is wonderful recognition for these two distinguished researchers and for the University as well,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research). “Both Ric and Peter have contributed greatly to their respective fields during the course of their careers, and it’s gratifying to have their achievements honoured. Their election is also demonstrative of the high quality of our faculty.”

Knowles, a theatre professor, writer and editor, was honoured for being “the foremost scholar of Canadian theatre of his generation,” according to the Royal Society. An expert in Shakespearean theatre and in contemporary theories of theatre production and performance, Knowles is the author or co-author of 15 books. Two of his works — The Theatre of Form and the Production of Meaning: Contemporary Canadian Dramaturgies and Reading the Material Theatre — are considered groundbreaking studies. He also edited The Masks of Judith Thompson and co-authored the recent Remembering Women Murdered by Men: Memorial Sites in Canada. He has been an editor of Canadian Theatre Review since 1996.

Knowles, who teaches courses at U of G in Canadian theatre and drama, recently received the Achievement Award for Excellence in Editing: Sustained Achievement from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Kevan was recognized for his “extensive pioneering ecological, zoological and botanical contributions” and for being a world leader in pollinator conservation, the Royal Society said.

A respected insect ecologist, Kevan has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles covering such topics as conservation, behaviour and learning, physiology, soils, flower colour and colour vision. His studies have confirmed that human activities disrupt pollinator populations, and his work has led to changes in policy and practice.

Kevan served on the U.S. National Research Council expert panel on the status of pollinators, leads a national research network on pollination and is chair of the International Commission for Bee-Plant Relationships. Previously, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Entomological Society of Canada. The Gold Medal Award recognizes lifelong contributions to the study of insects.

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