President's Distinguished Lectures and Special Convocations

The University of Victoria, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, presents a series of President’s Distinguished Lectures featuring three captivating authors and thinkers, beginning in December.

The first of these lectures, on Dec. 4, highlights the experiences that have shaped George Dyson’s influential reflections on the history and philosophy of science and technology. On Feb. 18, poet and author Anne Michaels discusses aspects of her creative process, and on March 27, eco-feminist and scholar Dr. Vandana Shiva focuses on the social activism that has characterized her work in India. All President’s Distinguished Lectures are free and open to the public, and begin at 7 p.m. in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. These lectures will be combined with Special Convocations in which Honorary Degrees are conferred on these world-renowned scholars.

President’s Distinguished Lectures emphasize the critical importance of interdisciplinarity in addressing contemporary challenges. “I am very pleased that we are able to bring these eminent speakers to our campus as part of our anniversary celebrations,” says UVic President, Dr. David Turpin. “This series of President’s Distinguished Lectures spans a broad range of issues across science, technology, art and literature, and social justice, and we look forward to sharing our honorands’ rich expertise both with our campus and with the broader community.”

George Dyson is well-known in diverse sectors as an internationally acclaimed historian and philosopher of science and technology. His fourth book, Turing’s Cathedral, was published earlier this year and serves as a “creation myth for the digital universe.” A review in The Guardian described it as an “unusual, wonderful, even visionary account of the early years of computers.” It builds on the theme of his three prior books: the symbiosis and co-evolution of humans, animals and machines. This theme is also reflected in his influential adaptation of traditional kayak designs, using contemporary materials, which has stimulated the remarkable growth of kayaking on the West Coast and beyond.

Anne Michaels is a celebrated Canadian author whose poetry collections include The Weight of Oranges (Commonwealth Prize for the Americas) and Miner’s Pond (Canadian Authors Association Award; shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award). Her best-selling first novel, Fugitive Pieces, earned 10 awards, including the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the U.K.

University-trained as a physicist and philosopher, Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the world’s most important eco-feminists and social justice activists. She founded Navdanya (“nine seeds”) – a women-centred movement to protect biological and cultural diversity – in India in 1987. She has since become a leading proponent of community food security, organic farming, seed saving and women’s involvement in agriculture. Navdanya has conserved more than 5,000 varieties of rice, wheat and other produce.

Further information on the President’s Distinguished Lectures and Special Convocations is available at Free tickets can be reserved in advance through the UVic Ticket Centre online, approximately six weeks prior to each lecture and convocation. Further information on ticketing is available at or by phone: 250-721-8480.

Throughout the 2012-13 academic year, UVic is presenting a variety of special events, lectures and exhibits to celebrate its founding in 1963. Visit for a calendar of upcoming events.

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Media contacts

Joy Davis (Ceremonies & Events) at or 250-721-7632

Mike McNeney (Alumni Communications) at or 250-721-7642

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Keywords: President’s Distinguished Lectures, anniversary

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