Honorary Degrees Span Literature and Science

The university will award two honorary degrees during Fall Convocation Ceremonies in recognition of the exceptional achievements of poet Patrick Lane and chemist George Whitesides.

The Senate receives honorary degree nominations from the university community and chooses recipients on the basis of their accomplishments scholarship, research, teaching, the creative arts, or public service.
Podcasts of the honorands’ acceptance remarks will be available following the ceremonies at www.communications.uvic.ca/podcasting/convocation.

Patrick Lane
Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
10 a.m., Wednesday, November 13
Patrick Lane is considered one of the great poets of his generation. His life’s work—with more than two-dozen books written or edited—has touched the hearts and minds of readers in dozens of countries.
Lane was born in Nelson in 1939. His early poetry was influenced by the working-class concerns and first-person perspectives of the poets Al Purdy and Milton Acorn. Lane’s style, widely praised for its gritty honesty, has evolved to reflect a sense of wonder and spiritual awakening. He has also excelled in the genres of fiction and memoir.
In 1978, his Poems, New and Selected, earned the Governor General’s Literary Award. Lane and his wife, the poet Lorna Crozier, moved to Victoria in 1991 to write and to teach at UVic. It began a period in which he extended his range into meditative poems, composed an elegiac sequence and worked with prose poetry.
He is an admired teacher, workshop leader, and supporter of emerging poets in Victoria and across Canada.
After Lane completed rehabilitation for alcohol dependency, he and Crozier co-edited and contributed to a collection of essays, Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast in 2001.
His memoir, There is a Season: A Memoir in a Garden, recounts how his tending of the couple’s half-acre garden has helped him remain sober. The book has been a source of strength for others recovering from various forms of addiction.
Among his other honours, Lane is a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, the Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry, and the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Poetry.

Dr. George Whitesides
Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc)
2:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 13
Dr. George Whitesides of Harvard University, though primarily a chemist, has demonstrated an originality of ideas and results across science, engineering and medicine—and several other fields that he helped to invent.
His work in organic chemistry—especially in molecular self-assembly at the nanoscopic level—has led to breakthrough applications in electronics, photonics, molecular biology, and medicine.
He has made key contributions to technologies that are central in academic and industrial chemistry. His work in the interface between man-made materials and human cells has led to new medicines and his co-founding of the biopharmaceutical company, Theravance.
One of the world’s most prolific chemists, he has had a major impact on the work of other scientists. His research journal articles have been cited close to 92,000 times. The “Hirsch-index” compiled by the Royal Chemistry Society as a measurement of the impact of an individual’s research, placed Whitesides ahead of any other living chemist.
Much of his current focus is related to medical diagnostic tools suited for use in the developing world. He has received the US National Medal of Science, the Robert A. Welch Foundation Award, and the Kyoto Prize.
Whitesides was born in 1939 in Louisville, KY, received his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 1964. He is now the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard.



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Keywords: convocation, award

People: Patrick Lane, George Whitesides

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