News Releases

The Divison of Marketing and Communications provides access to the most up-to-date information released by Memorial University of Newfoundland. Archives of previous news releases are also available.

To access news releases from Grenfell Campus please click here.

REF NO.: 55

SUBJECT: Memorial University's fall convocation to take place on Friday, Oct. 22, 2004

DATE: Oct. 19

Memorial University's fall convocation will take place at the St. John'sArts and Culture Centre on Friday, Oct. 22, 2004. Approximately 700 graduate and undergraduate degrees will be awarded during two sessions, to be held at 10 a.m. and at 3 p.m. In addition, Dr. Parzival Copes, a noted economist with a strong connection to Newfoundland, will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the 10 a.m. session, and Dr. Davis Earle, a noted physicist who is originally from this province, will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation. Biographies on each follow this release.

Several professors will be honoured with the designation professor emeritus at the fall graduation ceremonies: Dr. Elliott Leyton, Anthropology; Dr. Paul Sachdev, Social Work; and Dr. Garth Fletcher, Biology, (10 a.m.session); and Dr. William Pryse-Phillips, Medicine; Dr. Bruce Shawyer, Mathematics and Statistics; and Dr. Tran Gien, Physics and Physical Oceanography (3 p.m.session).

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.

Memorial's fall convocation will be broadcast live on the World Wide Web. More details about this Internet broadcast are available at

Representatives of media agencies should arrive at the stage door of the Arts and Culture Centre at least 15 minutes before convocation ceremonies commence, and ask for Ivan Muzychka, manager, News Service, or call 687-9433 in advance to arrange for seating and photography/videography.

Dr. Parzival Copes

Dr. Parzival Copes was born in Naskup, British Columbia, and earned a BA in economics and political science at the University of British Columbiain 1949 and an MA in economics from UBC the following year. In 1956, he graduated from the London School of Economics (Universityof London) with a PhD in economics.

Dr. Copes' connection with Memorial began in 1957 when he came to establish the university's Economics Department. In 1961 he helped create Memorial’s Institute of Socialand Economic Research which had a profound impact on the social and political development of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the succeeding decade.

In 1964, he went to the newly-founded Simon Fraser University where he established and ran its Department of Economics and Commerce, created Canada's first executive MBA program, and the Centre for Canadian Studies and the Instituteof Fisheries Analysis.

It was his 1972 work on the fishery that earned him fame in this province. In that study, unambiguously titled The Resettlement of Fishing Communities in Newfoundland, he explained what would happen if there was not some balance between economic growth and resource extraction. Dr. Copes continues to work on the problems of the fishery — on both coasts and across the Pacific. While working with colleagues at Memorial, he serves on the Fisheries Advisory Group for aboriginal treaty negotiations and on the advisory panel of the Pacific Coast Sustainable Fisheries Society.

Dr. Copes has been recognized around the globe for his academic work. In 1991, he was named emeritus professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, and in 1992 he was named a Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of the Russian Federationand an honorary life member of Simon Fraser University Faculty Association. He was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Tromsø, Norwayin 1993, and was the first recipient of the Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, Simon Fraser University in 1994.

For his role in the development of Memorial and of Simon Fraser University and for his role in development of public debate on the fisheries, Dr. Copes will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation on Friday, Oct. 22.

Dr. Davis Earle

Born in Carbonear, Newfoundland, Dr. Davis Earle followed his undergraduate degree at Memorial University (B.Sc., 1958) with a M.Sc. at the University of British Columbia in 1960. In 1959, he was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and completed his D.Phil. at Oxford in 1964. From there, he moved to Chalk River Laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada and began a long career of contribution to experimental nuclear physics.

His career took a different turn in 1984 when he joined a group of fellow scientists planning what would become the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO). The intent was to measure solar neutrinos using heavy water. This required an initial feasibility study and, once feasibility had been established, the development of a major funding proposal. Dr. Earle was a key figure in both these aspects of the project so that, when funding came in 1990, he became the project's associate director.

He then undertook responsibility for construction of what was the equivalent of a 10-story subterranean building and of ensuring that the structure was ultra-clean - that the radioactivity was reduced to levels until then unachieved. The same demands were made of the massive acrylic sphere which had to hold $300-million of heavy water and is the crucial aspect of neutrino detection. Those demands were met and SNO's work proceeded to receive international regard; to be viewed as among the most significant recent scientific discoveries and contributing to a better understanding of the universe.

Dr. Earle is also noted for his capacity to communicate scientific findings and has long been viewed by his colleagues as a scientific ambassador to the wider community.

For his major contribution to the initiation and development of SNO and to the standing of Canadian science, Dr. Earle will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at the 3 p.m.session of convocation on Friday, Oct. 22.

- 30 -

For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 737-8665, cell#687-9433,


Marketing & Communications

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000