Go to page content

Emeritus honours

Thirteen Memorial faculty members receive high honour

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

Thirteen Memorial University professors have been accorded the designation professor emeritus/emerita, an honour reserved for highly distinguished faculty members.

The new professores emeriti are Dr. Ali Engin Aksu, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science; Dr. John T. Brosnan, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science; Mary Dalton, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. William Driedzic, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science; Dr. Stuart Durrant, Department of Modern Languages, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Douglas House, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Barb Hunt, School of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Grenfell Campus; Dr. Dennis Kimberley, School of Social Work; Dr. Leonard Lye, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Dr. Raymond A. Poirier, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science; Dr. Robert Sweeny, Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Ramachandran Venkatesan, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; and Dr. Christine Way, Faculty of Nursing.

Those available to attend Memorial’s 2019-20 convocation ceremonies will be presented to the convocation and receive souvenir certificates.

A professor emeritus or emerita is a retired member of the faculty who has served at least 10 years as a regular full-time faculty member and held the rank of professor upon retirement. The prime criterion for nomination is a sustained and superlative record as a scholar, as a teacher or as an academic administrator or any combination of these.

Candidates for the rank of professor emeritus/emerita are nominated by their academic units and, as with candidates for honorary degrees, the nominations are then reviewed by the Senate’s Committee on Honorary Degrees and Ceremonial. The candidates must then be approved by the university’s Senate and Board of Regents.

Biographies of the professores emeriti follow below.

Dr. Ali Engin Aksu, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

Indicators of the activity and impact of Dr. Ali Engin Aksu’s research are the 140 papers that he has published and their high citation rate. To achieve this sustained level of research productivity, Dr. Aksu has supported his research with over $6 million in research funding.

In total, 45 M.Sc. students and eight PhD students have been involved in Dr. Aksu’s research. He was the 2014 recipient of the Michael J. Keen Medal from the Geological Association of Canada and in 2009 he received the designation University Research Professor from Memorial.

Dr. Aksu has been involved in teaching courses at every level in the Department of Earth Sciences and has served on a wide range of committees at the departmental, faculty and university level. He has also been an active and lifelong member of professional associations, such as the Mineralogical Association of Canada.

Dr. Aksu holds a B.Sc. from Ege University in Turkey and an M.Sc. and a PhD from Dalhousie University.

Dr. John T. Brosnan, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

During Dr. John (Sean) Brosnan’s 45-year career at Memorial University, he continuously held funding from the Medical Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. To date, he has secured over $7 million in research funding, $1.5 million in infrastructure support, published over 180 papers and supervised nearly 90 students and post-doctoral fellows.

This impressive research record has led to him being recognized with a D.Sc. from the National University of Ireland, distinguished professor and fellow at Texas A&M University, fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Canadian Diabetes Association, to name a few. In 2014 he received the John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professorship from Memorial, conferring upon him the title Distinguished University Professor.

Dr. Brosnan also brings his passion to his instruction in the Department of Biochemistry. He is ranked highly by students and has served as a mentor to new faculty, assisting them in establishing their own research careers.

Dr. Brosnan, holds a B.Sc.(Hons.), M.Sc. and D.Sc. from the National University of Ireland, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University.

Mary Dalton, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor and poet Mary Dalton has enjoyed a remarkable career of research, creation and engagement.

The author of five poetry books, one collection of prose, three chapbooks and dozens of individual poems, articles, essays and reviews, Prof. Dalton has been invited to read, deliver papers and participate in panels on more than 150 occasions. Her work has received or been shortlisted for 17 literary awards.

Prof. Dalton has had an extraordinary influence on the lives and successes of creative writing students but her impact on the artistic life of Memorial and the wider community is profound. As the founder of the annual SPARKS Literary Festival, she has played a major role in cultivating the literary landscape of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Most recently she was appointed poet laureate of the City of St. John’s and is widely acknowledged as one of the province’s most distinguished living poets. Prof. Dalton has also been instrumental in making contemporary writing from this province successful on the international stage.

Prof. Dalton holds a BA(Hons.) from the University of Toronto and an MA from Memorial.

Dr. William Driedzic, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science

Dr. Bill Driedzic joined Memorial University in 1999 as the director of the Ocean Sciences Centre, an appointment he held while also the scientific director of AquaNet – a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-funded National Centre of Excellence. In 2003 he was appointed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in marine bioscience.

Dr. Driedzic has published 155 publications and 14 review articles. This research record is supported by a continuous record of funding from NSERC. He also has a long history of research experience at numerous institutions worldwide and has served on a number of external organizations, including the Canada Foundation for Innovation board of directors, the Science Advisory Council for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and NSERC’s Vanier Scholarship and Grant Selection committees.

He has supervised six PhD and four M.Sc. students to completion. He currently co-supervises one PhD student.

Dr. Driedzic holds a B.Sc. from York University, an M.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Stuart Durrant, Department of Modern Languages, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

In 2011 Dr. Stuart Durrant was the first Canadian to receive the prestigious A.S. Pushkin Medal by the Russian state. This medal was awarded on the basis of Dr. Durrant’s important contribution to Russian culture and to the promotion of the Russian language. He was appointed honorary consul of the Russian Federation for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008.

An internationally recognized expert on the Russian Silver Age of literature, Dr. Durrant has published four books and a long list of articles, reviews and conference presentations. The recipient of multiple grants, Dr. Durrant is also distinguished for his signification contributions to teaching, curricular design and program administration at Memorial.

Particularly noteworthy is his 25-year commitment to Memorial’s Russian summer program in St. Petersburg, a program he launched in 1993. As honorary consul, Dr. Durrant has organized a number of important events, as well as study years and scholarships for Memorial students to enable them to spend time studying in Russia as part of their degree programs. In retirement, Dr. Durrant continues his active research agenda.

Dr. Durrant holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario, an MA from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of London.

Barb Hunt, School of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Grenfell Campus

Barb Hunt holds a diploma in art at the University of Manitoba and an MFA with a specialization in fibres from Concordia University in Montreal. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally.

She taught visual art at Western University, Queen’s University and Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2004 she was awarded Memorial’s President’s Award for Outstanding Research. She has also been awarded Canada Council grants; residencies in Canada, Paris and Ireland; and, in 2018, a Visual Arts Newfoundland and Labrador/CARFAC Endurance Award.

She attributes her interest in textiles to the influence of her grandmothers, who were both avid quilt-makers. After graduating from art school, she began including textiles in her art practice. Prof. Hunt credits living in Newfoundland and Labrador with its rich tradition of textile practices as inspiring much of her work, which focuses on gender, mourning rituals (particularly those of Newfoundland), war and the natural environment.

Prof. Hunt holds a diploma in fine art from the University of Manitoba and an MFA from Concordia University.

Dr. Douglas House, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

An internationally recognized expert on Newfoundland and Labrador, sociologist Dr. Douglas House has been awarded numerous research grants and two major federal fellowships over his career. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2001, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Public Policy Forum’s Frank McKenna Award for Leadership in Public Policy in 2018.

The author of seven books, 35 articles and book chapters and 27 major reports, Dr. House is also distinguished for his important work as an academic administrator.

Throughout his career, Dr. House has been called upon to apply his research and administrative background to a number of major roles in the public service. He made crucial contributions to the province at times of economic instability by serving as chairperson of the Economic Recovery Commission and the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment.

A superlative teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. House designed groundbreaking curricula in sociological theory and social and economic development and made an outstanding contribution on various supervisory committees.

Dr. House holds a BA from Memorial, an MA from Oxford University and a PhD from McGill University.

Dr. Dennis Kimberley, School of Social Work

Dr. Dennis Kimberley was a faculty member in Memorial’s School of Social Work from 1985 until his retirement in 2017. He taught at the BSW, MSW and PhD levels and chaired master’s and doctoral committees. He initiated and taught courses addressing topics such as child protection assessment and treatment; child-youth exploitation; addictions assessment and treatment; and PTSD and complex trauma assessment and treatment. He supervised and mentored numerous graduate social work students and also acted as director of the school’s successful Inuit Bachelor of Social Work Program delivered in partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government.

Working with abused, exploited and traumatized children and their parents, foster parents, adoptive parents and residential parent surrogates since 1966, Dr. Kimberley has also been an addictions services trainer, clinical supervisor, director of one of the largest community-based outpatient addictions programs in Canada, university instructor, consultant and trainer to various children and youth services organizations, social work education consultant and expert consultant in court.

Dr. Kimberley has contributed greatly to the development of community leaders with graduate social work degrees, including imparting the knowledge to increase public awareness and help address the needs of many vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed populations.

Dr. Kimberley holds a BA from Carleton University, an MSW from McGill University and a DSW from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Leonard Lye, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

A professor of civil engineering at Memorial from 1988 until his retirement in 2018, Dr. Leonard Lye has made exceptional contributions to teaching, research, service and public engagement.

Not only is he an outstanding teacher and researcher, Dr. Lye is an inspirational leader in various roles including mentor, inventor, entrepreneur, volunteer and coach.

Dr. Lye is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, fellow of Engineers Canada and fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers.

He has received numerous awards, including Memorial’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service; the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Service; the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador Teaching Award; and the Tetra Society Lifetime Award.

Dr. Lye received a B.Sc.(Hons.) in civil engineering from the Bolton Institute and a PhD in statistical hydrology from the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Raymond A. Poirier, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Dr. Raymond Poirier joined the Department of Chemistry in 1984 and has become one of its most accomplished scholars. His deep understanding of science and continuous search for new approaches made him one of the leading innovators in computational chemistry and fundamental studies of reaction mechanisms.

To date, Dr. Poirier has published 131 peer-reviewed articles, one book and two book chapters. His research has been continuously supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada funding since 1983 and he holds research grants through to 2021. His research contributions have seen him honoured with Memorial’s President’s Award for Outstanding Research in 1986 and was named University Research Professor in 2012. He is also a fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Dr. Poirier excels at teaching and mentoring at all levels, having supervised 15 PhD students, 16 M.Sc. students, eight honours students and seven post-doctoral fellows. He has also taught a range of courses at first-year and graduate levels.

Dr. Poirier holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Laurentian University and a PhD from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Robert Sweeny, Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Robert Sweeny is an internationally recognized, award-winning leader in the fields of the history of capitalism, Canadian social history and digital history, with an outstanding publishing record, a pioneering role in computer application design within the digital humanities field, a recipient of important grants and a well-known contributor to public engagement.

Dr. Sweeny’s highly regarded book, Why Did We Choose to Industrialize? Montreal, 1819-1849 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015) won two prestigious prizes: the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research and the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association. It is the first non-fiction book from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to win a Governor General’s Award. He was also a co-recipient of the Stockholm Award in 2001, in recognition of the team that created the innovative website Vieux Montréal.

He is the author of four books and the co-editor of three. As well, he has published a total of 59 articles and reviews in journals, and 23 individual book chapters.

Dr. Sweeny holds a BA from Sir George Williams University, an MA from the Université du Québec à Montréal, and a PhD from McGill University.

Dr. Ramachandran Venkatesan, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

A professor of computer engineering at Memorial from 1987 until his retirement in 2018, Dr. Ramachandran Venkatesan is a distinguished researcher, teacher and mentor, as well as a committed volunteer in academic, professional and local community services.

Dr. Venkatesan has made significant research contributions in the fields of parallel processing, digital hardware and wireless and optical communications. He led the proposal of several major research projects, which secured significant funding from major private and government agencies. He has published nearly 200 research articles, including many papers published at prestigious venues with high-impact factors, including Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journals. His work has been well-accepted and cited by the research community, with over 1,000 citations in recent years.

Dr. Venkatesan received a B.Eng.(Hons.) in electrical engineering from Madurai University and M.Sc. and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick.

Dr. Christine Way, Faculty of Nursing

Dr. Christine Way has made an outstanding contribution to nursing education, in particular to the Faculty of Nursing’s graduate programs and students. She has supervised 23 thesis/practicum or doctoral students, co-supervised six thesis or doctoral students and has been a committee member for six thesis or doctoral students. Dr. Way received Memorial’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1999 and the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland Award for Excellence in Nursing Education in 1995.

Dr. Way has also had a significant impact on knowledge generation in the Faculty of Nursing and in the province by contributing to 38 research studies between 1989-2017.

Dr. Way has published 19 refereed papers, many co-authored with her doctoral students. She has six additional manuscripts in preparation. She has also published one refereed report, one book chapter and 32 research reports or reports for government/associations from 2000 to the present. Prior to 2002 she published nine reports. As well, Dr. Way has presented or been a co-author for 76 oral and 10 poster conference presentations.

Dr. Way holds a BN and BA from Memorial, an M.Sc.(A) from McGill University and a PhD from the University of Virginia.


To receive news from Memorial in your inbox, subscribe to Gazette Now.


Latest News

Valuable resources

World Fisheries Day: Highlighting sustainability and equity

Bounce back

Business student rebounds in a big way after ‘heartbreaking’ failure

Practising in ‘hell’

Medicine alumnus volunteers in world’s worst refugee camp

A role for everyone

Quality of Care N.L. to host antibiotic resistance forum

Top communicators

Federally funded contest looking for best student storytellers at Memorial

Remember all

Gazette student columnist: 'Lest we forget all who served'