Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
July 14, 2004
Summerlee honoured by alma mater
University of Guelph president Alastair Summerlee received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his alma mater, the University of Bristol, today.
“There are no words that can describe my feelings of humility and pride,” Summerlee said. “Nothing is more gratifying than having such an honour bestowed upon you by an institution that you treasure, especially when it is your alma mater. This university provided me with my first exposure to the world of ideas and was the launching point for the most rewarding career imaginable. That faculty and administration thought I was worthy of this cherished honour is truly humbling.”
Bristol’s chancellor, The Rt Hon. The Baroness Hale of Richmond, presided over the ceremony. Summerlee was recognized as a leader of higher education in Canada and an internationally renowned scientist whose research has made a significant contribution to biomedical science.
He graduated from Bristol with a B.Sc. in anatomy in 1974, sharing the award for “best graduating student.” He earned a B.V.Sc. in veterinary science in 1977 with credits in both surgery and medicine, and a PhD from Bristol’s Faculty of Science in 1981. From 1981 to 1988, he was a lecturer in veterinary anatomy at Bristol and pre-clinical dean in the School of Veterinary Science and supervised the residence halls.
Summerlee, whose career as a scholar, professor, researcher and administrator spans nearly 30 years, was installed as U of G’s seventh president in 2003. He joined U of G’s Department of Biomedical Sciences in 1988. He served as associate dean of the Ontario Veterinary College in 1992; dean of graduate studies in 1995; associate vice-president (academic) in 1999; and provost and vice-president (academic) in 2000.
Summerlee (who has continued teaching while holding administrative positions) is recognized as a pioneer of alternative teaching methods. He was awarded a prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship in 2003 — the first president in Canada to receive a 3M Fellow. He also received a Distinguished Professorial Teaching Award from the U of G Faculty Association in 1991. Summerlee belongs to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and has been an invited lecturer at universities and colleges around the world.
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