Memorial University will hold its fall convocation ceremony in St. John's on Friday, Oct. 19, 2007, at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. Over 900 students will receive their degrees at three sessions of convocation. Sessions begin at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. At the St. John's convocation ceremonies two honorary degrees will also be awarded: Dr. Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University will be awarded an honorary doctor of science, and Canadian literary theorist Dr. Linda Hutcheon will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters. Biographies follow below.
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.
In addition, several professors will be honoured with the designation professor emeritus at the fall graduation ceremonies: Dr. Robert Crocker, Faculty of Education; Dr. Richard Hiscott, Department of Earth Sciences; Dr. Niall Gogan, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Sandra Clarke, Department of Linguistics; and Dr. Margaret Burton, Department of Biology.
To be eligible for the title professor emeritus, 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. Linda Hutcheon
For her work as an exceptional scholar, teacher and member of the academic community, Dr. Linda Hutcheon will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree during fall convocation in St. John’s on Friday, Oct. 19. A specialist in postmodernist culture and in critical theory, on which she has published nine books, Dr. Hutcheon holds the rank of university professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and has been a visiting professor in Italy, Puerto Rico and parts of the U.S. Her many books on literary subjects have established her as a major literary theorist in North America. Born in Toronto, she obtained both her bachelor of arts and PhD degrees from the University of Toronto, as well as her MA from Cornell University. Dr. Hutcheon has spent much of her career examining, teaching and publishing in the field of Canadian literature and has translated the work of Quebec writers Félix Leclerc and Madeleine Gagnon.
Her scholarly achievements have been recognized through several awards and honours. Among her research grants and fellowships, she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Killam Research Fellowship.
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Hutcheon was elected the 117th president of the Modern Language Association of America in 2000, making her the third Canadian to hold this position and the first Canadian woman.
Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman
For her contributions to higher education, Dr. Tilghman will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree during fall convocation 2007. Dr. Tilghman is the president of Princeton University, the prestigious institution’s 19th president since its founding in 1746. Dr. Tilghman is a native of Canada who holds a B.Sc. (hons.) in chemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and a PhD in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia. She did postdoctoral studies at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, participating in cloning the first mammalian gene. A member of the National Research Council’s committee that set the blueprint for the United States effort in the Human Genome Project, she also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project Initiative for the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Tilghman was appointed to the faculty of Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology in 1986 and served as founding director of Princeton’s multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. She assumed office as president of Princeton University in June 2001. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the Royal Society of London. She also serves as a trustee of the Jackson Laboratory, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Google Inc. She will receive her degree at the Oct. 19 session of convocation.