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Academic celebration

Fall convocation approaches, honorary announced

By Memorial University

Memorial University will celebrate fall convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre on Oct. 19.

During three sessions, close to 900 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded and Dr. Arthur King will be recognized for his long-term dedication to field mapping, earth sciences education and his body of research on the Ediacaran period with an honorary degree.

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 contributions 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.

A retired faculty member recently accorded the title professor emerita by the university’s Senate will also be recognized at convocation. Dr. Diane Tye, Department of Folklore, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, will be honoured.

For more information about fall convocation 2023, please visit the convocation website.

Ceremonies will be webcast live via the main page of the university’s website.

A biography of the honorary degree recipient follows below.

Dr. Arthur Francis King

Dr. Arthur King, a white man in his late 70s, wears a dark suit jacket and a gray shirt and tie against a studio backdrop.
Dr. Arthur King
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Arthur King has been a lifelong champion of the geological adage that the truth resides in the outcrop: rocks will have all the answers if one asks the right questions.

The St. John’s, N.L., resident joined Memorial University’s Department of Geology in 1967. He advanced to the position of full professor in 1980, deputy head of the Department of Earth Sciences in 1987 and developed the geology program at what was then Grenfell College. He retired in 2002, having served 35 years.

An expert on the period of Earth history between the last global glaciation and the explosion of life on Earth about 530 million years ago, Dr. King’s careful stratigraphic and sedimentological observations in Newfoundland’s Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas detail the changing geological environment in which Earth’s first animal life evolved.

One element of this larger body of work was Dr. King’s, and his Memorial University colleague Dr. Harold Williams’, mapping of the Trepassey area in the 1970s. This field-based research was a key pillar underlying Mistaken Point’s successful UNESCO designation as a world heritage site.

Dr. King’s renowned geological map of the Avalon Peninsula, published in 1988 by the Newfoundland Department of Mines, and his supporting maps and reports on the geology of the northeast and southern Avalon, are recognized globally as the seminal works on the stratigraphic history of this period. Locally, they were the spark for the Johnson Geo Centre, of which Dr. King was a founding supporter and builder.

He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Association of Canada for Service to Earth Science Education in 1980. He was awarded the E.R. Ward Neale Medal in recognition of substantial contributions to the geosciences, as well as named a distinguished fellow by the association, in 1997.

Dr. King holds bachelor’s and master’s of science degree from Memorial University and a doctoral degree from England’s Reading University.

For his long-term dedication to field mapping, his body of research on a crucial period of Earth history and his passion for earth sciences education both within and beyond the walls of academia, Dr. Arthur Francis King will receive the degree of doctor of science, honoris causa.


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