Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 12, 2002

Renowned scientists, author to receive honorary degrees

Renowned U.S. scientist Stephen Jay Gould, author Barry Callaghan and biologist William Costerton will receive honorary degrees from the University of Guelph at winter convocation Feb. 20 and 21.

Gould will receive an honorary degree at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 20. He will also hold a free public lecture at 5 p.m. called "Homosapiens as an Entity, Not a Tendency" in MacNaughton Room 113. The media and public are invited to attend. His lecture is sponsored by Guelph's Department of Psychology and the Guelph chapter of Sigma Xi.

The three convocation ceremonies will be held in War Memorial Hall, with close to 630 students receiving degrees and diplomas. Two retired professors - Doug Killam of the School of Literatures and Performance Studies in English and Peter Martini of the Department of Land Resource Science - will be granted University professor emeritus status during the ceremonies. And landscape architecture professor Ron Stoltz will received the John Bell Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to teaching.

Costerton, associate dean of research of the College of Engineering at Montana State University, will receive an honorary doctorate of science and give the convocation address at the Wednesday 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Biological Science. Director of Montana's Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana, Costerton is the primary proponent of the importance of biofilm research. Biofilm, a substance that forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in aqueous environments and begin to excrete a glue-like substance, costs billions of dollar yearly in equipment damage, product contamination and medical infections. Costerton holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of British Columbia.

Gould, a zoology professor at Harvard University, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and address graduands at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. One of America's pre-eminent scientists, he is best known for shaping crucial debates on the theory of evolution and the interpretation of fossil evidence. The author of 20 books and hundreds of essays, reviews and articles, he is one of the most popular and well-known writers and lecturers on scientific topics and is known as one of Harvard's most visible and engaging educators.

Gould, who also serves as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a member of numerous other scientific societies and organizations, says his paramount challenge is to "make people less scared of science so they won't see it as arcane, monolithic and distant but as something important in their lives." He holds a bachelor's degree from Antioch College and a doctorate from Colombia University.

Callaghan, an English professor at York University, will receive an honorary doctorate of letters and address graduands Thursday at the 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and the College of Physical and Engineering Science. The author of nine books, Callaghan has been a figure of major stature in the English-Canadian literary culture as a writer, critic, journalist and cultural commentator. His writings have won him several awards and have appeared in French, Spanish, Italian, Serbian and Croatian translations. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the State University of New York and has also worked at an editor, publisher and translator.

Killam will be named University professor emeritus during the same ceremony. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and London University, he was already known internationally for his pioneering work in the field of African literature. Editor of The Oxford Companion to African Literatures, Killam is also the author of 10 books, 22 book chapters and 19 journal articles. He retired from the University last spring.

At the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the Ontario Agricultural College, the Ontario Veterinary College, and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences Martini will be named University professor emeritus and Stoltz will be honoured with the John Bell Award and will give the convocation address. Martini, who joined U of G in 1973, is recognized internationally for his research in sediomentology and quaternary geology. He is best known for his groundbreaking work in the James Bay Lowlands that led to his research on the generation of cold-climate coals. The author of five books, seven field guides, eight book chapters and numerous articles and other publications, he has also taught in universities around the world.

Stoltz, a 1999 recipient of a prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship, joined U of G in 1975. He was director of Teaching Support Services from 1992 to 1997 and also served a stint as acting director of the Centre for International Programs. During both appointments, he continued teaching at least half time in the School of Landscape Architecture.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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