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Memorial's Department of History has a unique convocation

Ref. No. 148

DATE:     May 31, 2002
SUBJECT:     Memorial's Department of History has a unique convocation

Convocation 2002 at Memorial

Memorial's Department of History has a unique reason to celebrate this spring Convocation; four PhDs will be awarded in a single ceremony. At today's ceremony, Willeen Keough, Richard Rennie, Carla Wheaton and Andy Parnaby will all receive their doctorate degrees. "All were Fellows of the School of Graduate Studies in recognition of the high calibre of their scholarly attainment while doctoral students with this department," said Dr. David Facey-Crowther, head of the History department. "All four were scholarship and award winners during their periods of study."

The head of History is not the only one delighted with the graduates' achievements. Supervisors also regard the four students highly as both scholars and colleagues. Dr. Gregory Kealey spoke of Andy Parnaby of Palgrave, Ontario, and Richard Rennie of Little St. Lawrence as, "the type of students supervisors dream about - self-directed, critical thinking and hard working. They will both have great careers as significant Canadian historians."

Dr. Joe Cherwinski first met Carla Wheaton during her time as an undergraduate. When she returned to Memorial for her doctorate, he was delighted to supervise her and has glowing words for her dissertation on Water Street department stores. Dr. Linda Kealey referred to Willeen Keough of St. John's in similar terms, describing her as, "highly motivated, keen, imaginative and very independent."

Richard Rennie's dissertation has taken him on a journey, both academically and personally. A native Newfoundlander, Mr. Rennie initially chose to pursue his doctorate in Newfoundland for personal reasons. This decision led him to conduct fieldwork and research near his home community on a topic that both affected him personally and intrigued him as a scholar.

Mr. Rennie concentrated his work in St. Lawrence, a mining town that lost many men to industrial disease. Through interviews, research and archival work, Mr. Rennie vindicated those in the community whose concerns about mining's health hazards had not been endorsed at the time. These findings were of special significance to Mr. Rennie as his father was one of the miners who died from industrial disease. His intensely personal connection to his work sometimes proved difficult for him, as it meant balancing emotions with the necessary academic detachment and rigour.

All four graduates have moved on to post-doctoral studies, research or teaching positions.

Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada, with more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Outstanding research in a variety of disciplines and extraordinary teaching in more than 250 academic programs, plus a strong tradition of service to the community, are the university's hallmarks. Memorial's diverse offerings are available at in four distinctive campus locations - in Newfoundland and in England - on the Web and in field courses around the world, providing a rich learning experience for students from this province and, increasingly, elsewhere.

In addition to providing personal and intellectual growth, a Memorial University education prepares students for fulfilling careers. According to a recent survey conducted by the provincial government, one year after Convocation over 80 per cent of Memorial graduates had found full-time employment related to their field of study.

For more information about Memorial University, visit the Web site at www.mun.ca, email info@mun.ca or phone 709 737-8663. Please note photos are available at http://www.mun.ca/univrel/photos.html.


For further information, please contact Deborah Inkpen, acting manager, News Service, Memorial University, 737-8665, cell # 687-9243, e-mail: inkpend@mun.ca.


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