Campus News

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

News Release

November 22, 2004

Icelander receives top doctoral prize

The University of Guelph today awarded the Brock Scholarship, its largest and most prestigious doctoral award, to a native of Iceland who plans to pursue a PhD in zoology.

Bjarni Kristjansson, who completed his master’s degree at Guelph in 2001, received the honour during a graduate awards presentation on campus. The Brock Scholarship, valued at up to $120,000, is granted annually to one extraordinary doctoral candidate. Recipients are considered outstanding in their field of studies, their research work and their ability to serve as mentors and leaders to other students in doctoral programs.

“Bjarni’s research is already widely recognized for its originality and creativity,” said zoology professor David Noakes, who was Kristjansson’s graduate adviser. “His work is at the leading edge of experimental analyses of ecology, evolution and behaviour, and he stands among the brightest and best in modern ecological research.”

Kristjansson’s research focuses on understanding the ecological and behavioural processes of rapid evolutionary change in vertebrate animals. He has also been actively involved in an academic exchange between U of G and Iceland’s Hólar University College. He has taught, organized and managed a Guelph environmental field course taught in Iceland, and taken a leading role in organizing new courses at Hólar.

The Brock Scholarship is funded from an endowment of $1 million donated by Bill and Anne Brock. Bill Brock is a 1958 graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and an active U of G volunteer. He was chair of the Board of Governors from 1991 to 1995 and is now chair of the board of the Heritage Trust. He has also served as a member of the University Senate, director of the OAC Alumni Association, chair of the OAC Advisory Committee and deputy chair of the university's capital campaign.

Bill and Ann Brock attended today’s awards ceremony, along with Kristjansson and Skuli Skulason, rector of Hólar University College, who both travelled from Iceland to be there. Gudmundur Eiriksson, the Icelandic ambassador to Canada, and Gail Einarson-McCleery, the honorary Icelandic counsel in Toronto, were also in attendance.

In addition to the Brock scholarship, the University highlighted 30 awards during today’s ceremony and recognized 99 student recipients.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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