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Honorary degree recipients announced

Dr. Raymond Findlay (left) and Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri

By David Sorensen

Memorial University has announced the names of two people whom it will salute with honorary doctorates at fall convocation ceremonies in October 2012.

Memorial will present degrees honoris causa to engineer and scholar Raymond David Findlay and philanthropist Chandrasekhar Sankurathri during convocation at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's on Friday, Oct. 19.

Grenfell Campus will also celebrate fall convocation. It takes place at the Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook on Friday, Oct. 5.

Dr. Chandra Sankurathri is a Memorial graduate who responded to the tragic loss of his wife, son and daughter in the 1985 Air India bombing by dedicating his life to help alleviate the suffering of others. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Oct. 19.

Dr. Sankurathri graduated in zoology from Andhra University, holds a M.Sc. in biology from Memorial and was awarded a PhD by the University of Alberta. He has worked as visiting scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and as a scientific evaluator with Health Canada.

He currently heads two registered charities, Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation in Canada and Sankurathri Foundation in India.

Dr. Sankurathri established the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation as a registered charity in Canada in 1989 and the Sankurathri Foundation in India in the same year. Within the Sankurathri Foundation, Dr. Sankurathri manages an eye hospital, Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, and the Sarada Vidyalayam high school. These charities provide free education to hundreds of rural children and have provided free eye care services to almost two million patients, including restoring eyesight to nearly 200,000 patients through free cataract surgeries.

He has been recognized with many awards for his charitable work, including the 2006 Outstanding Community Achievement Award of the India Canada Association, and was named a CNN hero by CNN international in 2008 — the first to be nominated from India.

Dr. Raymond Findlay is one of only three Canadians to ever hold the presidency of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). For his contribution to the IEEE and engineering education, he will receive an honorary doctor of science degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on Oct. 19.

Professor emeritus at McMaster University, Dr. Findlay obtained his B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. and PhD at the University of Toronto. He is a professional engineer (P.Eng., Ontario) and vice-president of JDRF Electromag Research, Inc., a company whose principal mandate is research and development.

Prior to joining McMaster, Dr. Findlay taught and researched for 14 years at the University of New Brunswick. During one of those years he was a National Research Council of Canada Senior Industrial Research Fellow at General Electric Company in Peterborough, Ont.

He has also been a research fellow at the University of Southampton, (U.K.), at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Sydney, Australia, and the Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium.

His technical interests include low frequency electromagnetic fields and losses in electrical power devices in which he has more than 60 refereed journal publications and more than 140 refereed conference publications. He has supervised or co-supervised 12 PhD students to completion, and 29 master's degree students.

Dr. Findlay is a fellow of both IEEE and the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), was awarded the Canadian Pacific Railway Engineering Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada, the IEEE Regional Activities Board Innovation Award and the IEEE Millennium Medal, to name just a few of his awards.

Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university's academic governing body, after a very careful examination of the grounds for their nomination. The honorary doctorate degree is designed to recognize extraordinary contribution to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement.

Professor emerita
At the 7:30 p.m. session of convocation on Oct. 19, sociologist Marilyn Porter will be honoured as professor emerita. The category of professor emeritus is open only to retired members of the faculty. To be eligible, a person must have served at least 10 years as a regular full-time faculty member at Memorial and must have held the rank of professor upon retirement. The prime criterion for nomination is sustained, outstanding scholarly work and/or service to the university.

Dr. Marilyn Porter's record as a scholar and administrator has been sustained and superlative, and she has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. When she joined Memorial's Department of Sociology, she initially distinguished herself as a writer and researcher about the lives of women in rural and coastal Newfoundland and Labrador. Since then, her research has expanded to include gender and development issues with an international focus. Dr. Porter has more than 50 single or co-authored articles in peer-reviewed and international journals and some 70 academic conference presentations.

Dr. Porter earned an honours degree from Trinity College, Dublin, a diploma in education from Oxford, a diploma in social science from Bristol University, an MA from Trinity College and a PhD from the University of Bristol.

Appointed as a faculty member in 1984, she was named University Research Professor at Memorial in 2003. Dr. Porter was elected president of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association in 1992.