If convocation is a university’s Olympics, the province’s newest sports heroes are about to get a second gold medal. In a ceremony that is the pinnacle of the academic year, more than 2,000 students will get degrees during Memorial University’s spring convocation. Included among them will be the six members of the Olympic gold medal curling team who will receive honorary degrees for that achievement. Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab, Mike Adam, Russ Howard and coach Toby McDonald will receive honorary doctor of laws degrees at a May 26 session of convocation. They will be joined by a host of leaders from academia, business and the arts.
During fall convocation, three prominent women will be honoured. Receiving honorary degrees from Memorial at spring convocation are: Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who will be honoured during convocation at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College May 12; nursing practitioner Kay Matthews; Choir leader Sister Kathrine Bellamy; Roland Martin, businessman and public servant; author and academic Dr. Roland Le Huenen; businessman Gary Bruce; historian Dr. Robert Gellately; and Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman. During fall convocation 2006, slated for Oct. 20 in St. John’s, honorary degrees will be awarded to Ingeborg Marshall, Anne Hart and Dr. Alison Feder.
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 is designed to recognize extraordinary contribution to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement. The awarding of honorary doctorates, an important feature of Memorial’s convocation, serves to celebrate both the individual and the university as well as to inspire graduates, their families and guests. During spring convocation, Dr. Neil V. Rosenberg will be named professor emeritus. Spring convocation kicks off at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook on May 12. In St. John’s, convocation runs at the Arts and Culture Centre from Wednesday, May 24, to Friday, May 26.
Philip Riteman is being honoured for his role as a witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust and for keeping alive the memories of its victims. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of spring convocation on May 24. When the Nazis came to Szereszow, Poland, in 1940, the Riteman family was, with the rest of the Jews in the area, herded into the Pruzhany ghetto. When the trains began to move, in 1941, the Ritemans were taken to Auschwitz. Within a week at the infamous concentration camp, Mr. Riteman’s parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters were all dead. By the end of the war, he had been shifted through five camps; forced to build crematoriums, to transport bodies, to act as a human shield. When he was liberated in 1945, the 17-year old weighed just 75 pounds. In 1946 he came to Newfoundland to live with an aunt to become a businessman. After 40 years of pained silence, in 1989 Mr. Riteman began to share his story. He now emphasizes the importance of educating youth about the Holocaust.
Dr. Roland J. Le Huenen
For his contribution to the study of French literature and travel literature and to recognize the ties between St-Pierre-Miquelon and Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Roland J. Le Huenen will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters at the 3 p.m. session of spring convocation on May 24. Having received his early education in St-Pierre, Dr. Le Huenen was educated at the universities of Caen and Strasbourg in France. Since 1968, he has been on the faculty of the University of Toronto. He took office as director of the Centre for Comparative Literature in 1998. From 1986 to 1994 he held the Distinguished Melodia Jones Professorship in French Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. A scholar of Honoré de Balzac, he is a founding member of the Groupe international de recherches balzaciennes. Since his 1989 edition of Gobineau’s Voyage à Terre-Neuve he has developed an interest in travel literature. His book Récits, contes et légendes de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon won the France-Acadie prize in 1986.
Sister Kathrine Bellamy
Sister Kathrine Bellamy is being recognized for her exceptional contribution to the development of choral performance in Newfoundland. She will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree at the 7:30 p.m. session of session of spring convocation on May 24. Beginning her studies at Mount St. Vincent University, she went on to DePaul University and the University of Wisconsin, earning a PhD in musicology in 1973 for a highly regarded thesis on Brahms’ choral work. Sister Bellamy began her teaching career on Bell Island and moved to Mercy Convent where her choir won a Mathieson Trophy in 1964 and was invited to Expo ’67 – the beginning of a long run of national and international accolades for Newfoundland choirs. Later, at Holy Heart of Mary High School, her choir won awards at the International Choral Competition in Toronto. On retirement from teaching, she became the choir director and organist at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s, a post she held for over 25 years.
Gary C. Bruce
For his contribution to the development of Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore energy industry, Gary Bruce will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the 3 p.m. session of spring convocation on May 25. As vice-president of offshore development and operations with Petro-Canada from 1997-2002, Mr. Bruce oversaw the development and operation of the company’s interests on the Grand Banks, including Hibernia and the Petro-Canada operated Terra Nova project. Mr. Bruce graduated from Acadia University with an applied science diploma and from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS) with a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1988, he attended the Stanford University MBA Program. He joined Gulf Canada in 1968 where he helped develop Syncrude at Fort McMurray. In 1985 he joined Petro-Canada. In 2002 he returned to Calgary as vice-president, corporate communications and business development.
Roland T. Martin
For his contributions in the private and public sectors, Roland Martin will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of spring convocation on May 26. Born in St. John’s, Mr. Martin was an accomplished athlete. He attended Memorial and graduated with a bachelor of commerce and bachelor of arts in economics. He later earned a master of business administration from the University of Western Ontario and served as a tenured professor in Memorial’s School of Business (now Faculty of Business Administration). Mr. Martin has executive experiences in both the private and government sectors, including his post as comptroller and deputy minister of finance for Newfoundland and Labrador. For over 20 years he was a director of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Corporation, and for several years was a director of Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation. He is currently chairman of Martillac Limited, an Atlantic Canada professional services company. Recently he has been involved with the Canadian energy sector, and was external advisor to Nova Scotia and this province during the planning and renegotiation of revenue sharing for the Offshore Accords during 2001-2004.
Mary Kathleen Matthews
For her service to maternity and to the national and international community, Kay Matthews will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of spring convocation on May 25. Ms. Matthews has a diploma in nursing from St. Anthony’s Hospital Cheam in Surrey, England and a diploma in midwifery from General Lying-in Hospital in London. She received her bachelor of nursing and master of nursing from Memorial. While the natural childbirth movement was not new in 1970, it took the quiet persistence of Ms. Matthews to make it a possibility for women in Newfoundland and Labrador. Involving an effectively drug-free delivery, the process left both mother and child healthier. She began encouraging the use of this approach in her antenatal classes and later extended it further with breastfeeding support groups. She is a former faculty member at Memorial and was named honorary research professor in 2003. She is an honorary member of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Robert John Gellately
For his major contribution to Holocaust studies, Dr. Robert Gellately will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree during the 10 a.m. session of spring convocation on May 24. Dr. Gellately did his BA, B.Ed. and MA at Memorial where, as an undergraduate, he took the Gold Medal for Academic Excellence in History. His doctoral thesis for the London School of Economics was published under the title The Politics of Economic Despair: Shopkeepers and German Politics, 1890-1914. That led to a tenure-track position at Cornell. From 1976 to 1998, he taught at Huron College/University of Western Ontario. He moved to Clark University in 1998 where he was Strassler Professor in Holocaust History from 1998 to 2003. In August 2003 he joined the faculty of Florida State University where he is the Earl Ray Beck Professor of History. In 1990 he published The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945. His latest book is Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945.
For his contribution to Irish literature, Paul Muldoon will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College’s convocation May 12. Paul Muldoon was educated at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Since 1987 he has lived in the United States, where he is Howard G. B. Clark ‘21 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. From 1999-2004 he was professor of poetry at the University of Oxford. Mr. Muldoon is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Moy Sand and Gravel, for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Paul Muldoon was given an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature for 1996. Other recent awards are the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, and the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award.
For excellence achieved on the highest sports stage in the world, members of the Olympic gold medal curling team will be awarded honorary doctor of laws degrees during the 3 p.m. session of spring convocation on May 26. Brad Gushue, Jamie Korab, Russ Howard, Mark Nichols, Mike Adam and coach Toby McDonald reached the pinnacle of their sport with their Olympic victory in February. Mr. Gushue was born in St. John’s, NL, and attended Memorial University where he received a BBA. Mr. Gushue won the 2001 World Junior Championship as skip for Canada. Mr. Korab was born in Harbour Grace, NL, and graduated from St. Francis High School in Harbour Grace. He attended Academy Canada and graduated in 2001 with Microcomputer Applications
Program. He now works at Aliant. Mr. Howard was born in Midland, Ont., and currently lives in Moncton, N.B. He has skipped in a record 13 Briers, winning two. He won the World Curling Championships in both 1987 and 1993. Mr. Nichols was born in Labrador City, NL. He played third for skip Brad Gushue in the 2001 World Junior Championship and won the 2005 Canadian Mixed Championship as skip for Newfoundland and Labrador along with his sister Shelley. He has a kinesiology degree from Memorial University. Mr. Adam was born in Labrador City, NL, and won the World Junior Championship as lead for Gushue in 2001. Mr. Adam is currently a mechanical engineering technology student at the College of the North Atlantic. Mr. McDonald was born in St. John’s, NL, and attended St. Bonaventure’s College and Brother Rice High School before obtaining a BA from Memorial University in 1972 and an LLB from the University of New Brunswick in 1975. In 1976 he was on the Jack MacDuff Team which won the MacDonald Brier and represented Canada at the World Championships.
Fall convocation 2006
Ingeborg Constanze Luise Marshall
For her contribution to the scholarly understanding of the Beothuk, Ingeborg Marshall will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at fall convocation. As a student at Hamburg University, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States where she attended both Sarah Lawrence College and Bucknell University from 1958-60. She moved to Newfoundland in 1968 where she completed her undergraduate degree and became chief cataloguer at the Newfoundland Museum. An undergraduate paper on Beothuk decorated bone pieces, published in the Newfoundland Quarterly, led to a deeper interest in this group of native people. A children’s book, a master’s thesis and two more books led up to her master work: A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk, published in 1996. The book was shortlisted for the Innis Book Prize, Editor’s Choice of the Globe and Mail, and selected as one of Choice magazine’s Outstanding Academic Books in 1997.
For her achievements as a biographer and for her contributions to Newfoundland studies, Anne Hart will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the fall session of convocation. Ms. Hart received an arts degree from Dalhousie University and a library science degree from McGill University. She then started work with Memorial University’s library in 1969 and made it her career until retirement in 1997. For 20 of those years she served as head of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, during which time she developed the collections and the public awareness of them. She is better known for her unconventional biographies of fictional characters; Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. More recently she collaborated with Dr. Roberta Buchanan, professor emerita in English, and Geology alumnus Bryan Greene on The Woman Who Mapped Labrador: The Life and Expedition Diary of Mina Hubbard, which was shortlisted for the Winterset Award for excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing.
Dr. Alison O’Reilly Feder
The first Newfoundland woman to hold a doctorate and an academic position at Memorial University, Dr. Alison Feder will be honoured with a doctor of letters degree at fall convocation. Dr. Feder began her undergraduate work at Memorial College in 1941, and completed it and her MA in English at the University of Toronto in 1947. The same year she began teaching at the college and was a member of the English department
until her retirement in 1985. In the interval, she completed her doctoral thesis on the Irish poet William Allingham for the University of London (1958). This was the beginning of a long involvement with Irish studies at Memorial. She served as president of the Canadian Association of Irish Studies and organized a successful conference at Memorial in 1977 out of which came a collection of essays, Literature and Folk Culture: Ireland and Newfoundland. In the 1980s, she began a study of neglected Newfoundland novelist Margaret Duley which was published in 1983.