Volume 13, Number 18  May 19, 2006

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Convocation Awards

The following awards will be presented at Convocation ceremonies May 23–25.

François Messier

François Messier
Outreach and Public Service Award

François Messier’s contributions to teaching and research are matched only by his interest in environmental conservation and community development.  The current research interests of the Biology professor and department head include ecological questions about mammals ranging from Ord’s Kangaroo rats to black-tailed prairie dogs.  An authority on economically significant wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease, he has studied the ecology of grizzly bears, grey wolves, and moose, and has worked with the Innu and Cree of Quebec on how low-level flights affect caribou.

Professor Messier’s belief in outreach and public service is evident in his voluntary participation in ecological organizations. In 2003, he served on three major public policy committees, and he also served as a member of an independent group promoting environmental management at the Ekati Diamond Mine in the NWT.

He exemplifies through his outreach activities the ways in which a University professor and administrator can positively engage and influence the public sphere.


Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips
Master Teacher Award

Accounting Professor Fred Phillips is a Master Teacher.  Students are in awe of his ability to hold them enthralled for 90 minutes on a Monday morning and for Fred, there is no bigger achievement than to turn students “on” to accounting at the introductory level and the graduate level.  His teaching has earned him many awards both inside the College of Commerce and out.  In fact, he has been nominated for or won a teaching award every year since coming to the U of S in 1996.

Professor Phillips’ teaching has informed his research, and vice-versa. He is a published researcher and author of an introductory textbook noted for its outstanding pedagogy.  As Associate Editor of the Issues in Accounting Education, his contribution has been so significant the editor joked it should be renamed Issues in FREDucation.

With Fred Phillips there is no arrogance or artifice – there is only thoughtfulness, insight, simplicity, generosity, honesty and respect.


Jim Hendry

Jim Hendry
Distinguished Researcher Award

Jim Hendry, professor of Hydrogeology in the Department of Geological Sciences, is world-renowned for pioneering research with aquitards –underground layers sandwiching aquifers.  Aquitards are difficult geological features to study but Hendry has published more than 100 research papers in journals, the most comprehensive reference in existence.

Hendry earned his B.Sc. in geology and M.Sc. in geochemistry in the 1970s from the University of Waterloo and was awarded a PhD in hydrogeochemistry by the Universities of Waterloo and Alberta in 1984.  After 10 years at the Lethbridge Research Centre, he joined the U.S. National Groundwater Association in 1988, returning to Canada in 1990, to the National Hydrology Research Institute in Saskatoon.  With the U of S since 1994, Hendry was recently renewed for a third term as Cameco-NSERC Industrial Research Chair.

The developer of courses on using isotopes to study contamination, contaminant transport, aqueous geochemistry, and aquifer analysis, Hendry currently teaches aqueous and environmental geochemistry.


Jimmy Myo

Jimmy Myo
Honorary Doctor of Laws

Jimmy Myo is a prominent elder in the Saskatchewan First Nations community but he is, first and foremost, a family man.  He has been married to Ena for 45 years and they have seven children. He has worked to ensure all his children have access to their culture and tradition.

He learned many skills from his father, and his experience living in a non-aboriginal community taught Elder Myo to build relationships with non-indigenous people, a lesson that has served him well over the years.  Drawing on his knowledge of treaties and justice issues, Elder Myo has given lectures on the subject throughout the province.

More recently, Elder Myo has served as a member of the Wanuskewin Indian Heritage Inc. Board of Directors, and as a senator for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). His work with the FSIN includes providing assistance to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner at the Exploratory Treaty Table.


Larry Fowke

Larry Fowke
Earned Doctor of Science 

Larry Fowke joined the Biology Department in 1970 where his research has focused on cells, the tiny building blocks of living organisms. He is particularly interested in how cells divide to produce new cells. Fowke has also explored the fascinating mechanisms by which plant cells move material across their cell membrane, from outside of the cell to inside. A third major area of interest is cloning of conifers. His work has produced over 160 research papers, as well as four biotechnology patents with three pending.

Fowke particularly enjoys teaching introductory biology to enthusiastic first year students. His teaching also includes more specialized courses in cell biology and electron microscopy at the undergraduate and graduate levels and he has been known to employ unusual teaching like the Australian didgeridoo. For over 30 years, Fowke’s laboratory has  been an exciting place to work with numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists from around the world.


Lotfi A. Zadeh

Lotfi A. Zadeh
Honorary Doctor of Science

Lotfi A. Zadeh, known as the father of fuzzy logic theory, is a professor in the Computer Science Division, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the University of California, Berkeley. His theory acknowledges that while we would like to believe that decisions can be made with confidence in their correctness, this is rarely the case and there is necessarily some uncertainty, a ‘fuzziness’, in the adopted decision.  Zadeh pioneered the mathematical description of these uncertainties; his fuzzy set theory is an attempt to describe a lack of precision in the information used to make a decision, and the resulting doubt in the adopted decision. 

Zadeh has visited the U of S Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory on five occasions, lecturing on fuzzy logic and soft-computing methods and serving as a role model for many professors and students.   He has over forty primary publications with thousands of citations of his research papers. 


Nik Semenoff

Nik Semenoff
Honorary Doctor of Letters

Nik Semenoff was born and educated in Saskatchewan, and is an outstanding researcher, artist, teacher and inventor.  He has taught at the U of S and has been artist-in-residence since 1992.  His cutting-edge research into safer printmaking processes has placed the University in the forefront of non-toxic printmaking research and education. 

The inventor of the “waterless lithographic process”, high-resolution screen-printing and specialized inks, he has made printmaking both safer and less expensive.  Professor Semenoff has published his research findings in several refereed journals, and has been invited to do workshops around the world.  He is also known and respected for his contributions to the local and provincial arts communities.  A founding member of the Saskatchewan Society of Artists and Gallery 9 in Saskatoon, Semenoff has served on the board of the Mendel Art Gallery and was associate director of the Fine Art Committee of the Saskatoon Industrial Exhibition for a number of years.


Pauline Melis

Pauline Melis
President’s Service Award

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Pauline Melis earned a BA (Honours) with High Honours in History in 1977 and an MA in History in 1982.  She returned to the University in 1987 after working with the Western Development Museums and federal government.  From the Arts and Science Dean’s office, she moved to the Vice-President Academic’s Office, serving in several positions, including executive assistant to the Vice-President Academic and Provost, and director of Academic Affairs. In 2003, Pauline was appointed director of Institutional Planning.

For over 15 years, Pauline has been instrumental in creating of all major policy and planning documents at the U of S, including the Framework for Planning, Strategic Directions, and the Provost’s White Paper on Integrated Planning.

Described by colleagues as the “quintessential professional” who is a “fearlessly dedicated advocate” of the institution, she has also been involved in numerous organizations including heritage societies, political associations and women’s groups.


The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk

The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk
Honorary Doctor of Laws

Sylvia Fedoruk was born in Canora and obtained her B.A. (Great Distinction), B.A. (High Honours in Physics), and M.A. from the University of Saskatchewan where she also participated on 12 intervarsity sports teams.  Throughout her career, Fedoruk was associated with the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic and was also professor of Oncology and an associate member of the Department of Physics.  Her work specialized in the use of radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and the use of radionuclides in the diagnosis of disease.  Most notably, she was a key member of the Cobalt-60 team that developed the “Cobalt Bomb” in 1951.

Fedoruk retired in 1986 after 35 years at the U of S, and in 1988, was installed as the province’s 17th Lieutenant Governor.  She also served as Chancellor and on the University’s Board of Governors.

Her accomplishments and awards are too numerous to mention but together, they truly exemplify a lifetime of service.


For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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