Campus News

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

News Release

October 10, 2000

U of G to award honorary degrees, special awards at convocation

The University of Guelph will award two honorary degrees and about 650 degrees and diplomas during fall convocation ceremonies Oct. 16 to 18 in War Memorial Hall. All ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m.

Honorary degree recipients are Maarten Chrispeels, director of the Centre for Molecular Agriculture at the University of California at San Diego; and Marian Stamp Dawkins, a professor of biological sciences and animal behaviour at Somerville College at Oxford University. In addition, Gordon Nixon, founder of the U of G Alumni Association, will receive the inaugural Lincoln Alexander Medal of Distinguished Service, and retired land resource science professor Richard Protz and retired environmental biology professor Ronald Harris will be named University professors emeriti.

Fall convocation will also mark the graduation of the first class of U of G's new MBA in Business Administration in hospitality and tourism program from the School of Hotel and Food Administration (HAFA). This spring, the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies formally approved changing HAFA's master's of management studies to a full-fledged MBA degree. The students will graduate Oct. 18 during the ceremony for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS).

Chrispeels will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and give the convocation address Oct. 16 during the opening-day ceremony for the College of Biological Science, College of Arts and Ontario Veterinary College. Chrispeels is an eminent plant physiologist who has made many major contributions to plant biology during his career. He and his co-workers discovered aquaporins, or water channel membrane proteins, which revolutionized the way plant physiologists view water movement in plants. He has also contributed to the production of transgenic plants with insect-resistant seeds.

Ceremonies Oct. 17 will recognize graduates of the Ontario Agricultural College and College of Physical and Engineering Science. Dawkins will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and address graduands. She has had a major influence on the development of the study of animal welfare as a scientific discipline. She researches animal cognition and assesses self-awareness and signalling in domesticated animals and is currently attempting to recognize aspects of the environment that have significant effect on domesticated animals.

Nixon, Protz and Harris will also be recognized during Tuesday night's ceremony. Nixon helped establish the U of G Alumni Association in 1966 and served as its inaugural president. In 1978, he was named Alumnus of Honour, and in 1994, was the first recipient of the Alumni Volunteer Award. During his lengthy career, he had a varied and extensive management background, including membership in many professional organizations such as the Agricultural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society of Rural Extension and the Ontario Institute of Agrologists.

Protz, who retired in 1999, is the author of more than 140 journal articles and book chapters. He continues to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in soil genesis, classification and tropical land and water use. He also helped create the Image Analysis Remote Sensing and GIS Laboratory, which collects and analyses digital data of land and soils and is used by scientists in Ontario, Scotland, the United States and Ecuador.

Harris is known for his strong research centred on insecticide behaviour in soil, soil insect control and insect resistance to insecticides. A recognized world authority on those topics, he has been actively involved in international research efforts, completing assignments in Australia and China. He has also served on numerous provincial, national and international advisory and grant committees.

On Oct. 18, a ceremony will be held for CSAHS with dean Alun Joseph delivering the convocation address.

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