News Release

REF NO.: 41

SUBJECT: Memorial University holds fall convocation ceremonies in St. John’s and Corner Brook

DATE: October 13, 2011

Memorial University will hold its fall convocation ceremonies in St. John’s on Friday, Oct. 21. Convocation took place on Friday, Oct. 7, at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.
More than 1,000 students will receive their degrees during the four sessions of convocation. In St. John’s, sessions begin at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Arts and Culture Centre.
During the 10 a.m. session in St. John’s, Dr. David Wardlaw, Memorial’s provost and vice-president (academic), will be officially installed as the university’s pro vice-chancellor. Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor, will formally present Dr. Wardlaw to convocation. Dr. Wardlaw will then be installed as pro vice-chancellor by Chancellor Rick Hillier, be robed in the gown of office by Memorial’s vice-presidents and deliver an address.
During two of the convocation sessions, honorary doctorate degrees will be awarded; at the 10 a.m. session to linguist and encyclopedist Dr. David Crystal and at the 3 p.m. session to civil servant Dr. David Vardy. Author Kevin Major’s honorary doctor of letters degree was conferred in Corner Brook. Biographical notes follow below.
Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university’s academic governing body, after 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.
Also at fall convocation, two professors who were recently accorded the designation professor emeritus will be presented to convocation. Those being honoured at the 7:30 p.m. session are Dr. Vit Bubenik, linguistics, Faculty of Arts; and Dr. Robert Lucas, chemistry, Faculty of Science.
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 criteria for nomination are sustained, outstanding scholarly work and/or service to the university.
For more information on convocation, please see www.mun.ca/convocation.  
Biographical notes
David Crystal
In recognition of his long and important role in language studies, an area in which Memorial has distinguished itself, Dr. David Crystal will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree at the fall session of convocation on Oct. 21. Dr. Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, U.K., and works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he received his secondary schooling at St. Mary’s College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specialized in English language studies, did some research there at the Survey of English Usage under Randolph Quirk (1962-3), then joined academic life as a lecturer in linguistics, first at Bangor, then at Reading. He is the author of many books on linguistics, applied linguistics and English language, notably The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, and was general editor of the Cambridge and Penguin families of general encyclopedias. In 2010-11 he was consultant for the British Library exhibition, Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices, and author of the accompanying book, Evolving English. Dr. Crystal is currently patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL), president of the U.K. National Literacy Association and an honorary vice-president of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Institute of Linguists and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. In 1995 he received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the English language.
Kevin Major
For his writing and for his contributions to Memorial University, Kevin Major received an honorary doctor of letters degree during fall convocation at the Grenfell Campus session on Oct. 7. Mr. Major was born and grew up in Stephenville, N.L. He graduated from Memorial University with a bachelor of science in 1973 and then taught school for a number of years. Since 1989 he has been a full-time writer. He is the author of 16 books, for both young people and adults. The first, Hold Fast, published in 1978, won several awards in Canada, including the Governor General's Award for Children’s Literature, and was placed on the Hans Christian Andersen Honour List. The second, Far From Shore, was the winner of the first Canadian Young Adult Book Award. Others which followed include Blood Red Ochre and Eating Between the Lines, which was winner of the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians Book of the Year Award. In 1992 Mr. Major was given the Vicky Metcalf Award for an outstanding body of work of significance to young people. The languages into which his work has been translated include French, Danish, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew. An adult novel, No Man's Land, about the Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War, was published in 1995. Mr. Major adapted it for the stage, and it has been performed each summer for the past 10 years by Rising Tide Theatre at their summer festival in Trinity. His more recent books include the Christmas classic The House of Wooden Santas, and a history of Newfoundland and Labrador, As Near To Heaven By Sea, a Canadian bestseller and finalist for the Pearson Non-Fiction Prize. His latest adult novel, New Under the Sun, was released by Cormorant Books in 2010. In 1997, Mr. Major was named Memorial University’s Alumnus of the Year and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Artist of the Year.
David Vardy
For his significant and dedicated service to the government and people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. David Vardy will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during fall convocation on Oct. 21. Dr. Vardy holds a bachelor of commerce and a bachelor of arts in economics from Memorial, an MA from the University of Toronto and an MA and PhD from Princeton. He worked as an economist with the federal Departments of Fisheries and Finance and taught economics at Memorial and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. He joined the public service of Newfoundland and Labrador in June of 1972 as director of Economic Planning and served as director of Resource Policy and secretary to the Resource Policy Committee of Cabinet from January 1973 to May of 1975. Dr. Vardy served as a deputy minister in a number of positions in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1974 to 2001. He was president and CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Institute of Fisheries and Marine Technology during which time it was transformed into the Marine Institute. Since his retirement as chair and chief executive officer of the Public Utilities Commission in 2001 he has held a number of positions at Memorial University, including Channing Fellow in Public Policy, director of the Public Policy Research Centre and associate director of the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development. In addition to his research, he taught public policy development in the Public Sector Leadership and Management Development Program in the Faculty of Business. He is currently research associate with the Harris Centre and principal of the consulting firm Metrics EFG, Inc.
David Wardlaw
David Wardlaw was born in Toronto and grew up in Oakville and Waterford in southern Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto where he obtained a B.Sc. in 1976 (chemical physics) and a PhD in 1982 (theoretical chemistry). He was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1982-84. In 1984, he was awarded a NSERC University Research Fellowship and accepted a position at Queen’s University as an assistant professor. Dr. Wardlaw was promoted to associate professor in 1989 and to professor in 1994. He served as head of chemistry at Queen’s from 2002-06. In July 2006 he was appointed to a five-year term as dean of science at the University of Western Ontario. He has held short-term visiting scientist positions at the Argonne National Laboratories in Chicago, at Emory University in Atlanta, and at the National Research Council in Ottawa.
Dr. Wardlaw joined Memorial University as vice-president (academic) and pro vice-chancellor on Aug. 1, 2011. Subsequently the position of vice-president (academic) was re-titled as provost and vice-president (academic), signifying chief operating officer and chief academic officer, respectively. As provost, he chairs the new Vice-Presidents Council, the university’s senior decision-making body with responsibility for aligning pan-university operations with institutional goals and priorities.
During his academic career, Dr. Wardlaw has made significant contributions in research, teaching and academic leadership. His areas of research specialization are chemical physics, chemical reaction dynamics and computational chemistry and he has published more than 65 refereed articles in these areas. He has a track-record of initiatives and achievement in improving the teaching and learning environment at universities, with a focus on improving the student learning experience. As an academic leader, he has been recognized for his balanced approach to the development of both the teaching and research missions of the academy. Dr. Wardlaw is also committed to engaging K-12 students in an inquiry-based approach to doing and learning science. In this regard, he has been associated with Youth Science Canada (YSC) since 1999, serving as the YSC national judge-in-chief for the Canada-Wide Science Fairs 2004-10, and has served as chair of the Board of Youth Science Ontario 2005-11.

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