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Queens to present honorary degrees to four exceptional luminaries


Queens University will confer honorary degrees to award-winning filmmaker Deepa Mehta, distinguished Irish historian Robert Fitzroy Foster, former lieutenant-governor Lynda Haverstock and innovative photographer Edward Burtynsky at Fall Convocation ceremonies this week.

Chancellor Charles Baillie will preside over the ceremony and confer the degrees at both morning and afternoon ceremonies in Grant Hall on Queen’s campus.

• Deepa Mehta will receive her degree on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 am.

• Robert Fitzroy Foster will receive his degree on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 2:30 pm.

• Lynda Haverstock will receive her degree on Friday, Oct. 26 at 9:30 am.

• Edward Burtynsky will receive his degree on Friday, Oct. 26 at 2:30 pm.

For more information on each of the degree recipients, please see below.

Alissa Deley, 613.533.6000 ext. 77513,
Molly Kehoe, (613) 533-2877,

Honorary degree recipient bios:

Deepa Mehta

Director, producer and screenwriter Deepa Mehta has been described as “Canada’s most internationally renowned woman film-maker.” Based in Toronto and Delhi, she was born in India and received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi.

In 1991, Ms. Mehta produced and directed her first feature film Sam & Me, which won the very first Honorable Mention by the Critics in the Camera D’Or category in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1992, she directed a one-hour episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, (the adventures of Indiana Jones as a boy) produced by George Lucas for ABC television. “Benares” was filmed on location in Benares, India.

Since then she has written, directed and produced many films including her 2002 film Bollywood Hollywood, which comments on the situation of many Indo-Canadians caught between family and tradition and Western culture. The film opened the Perspective Canada Program at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, and upon release became one of the top 10 grossing English Canadian movies.

In 2003 Ms. Mehta co-wrote and directed Republic of Love, based on the novel of the same title by the world-renowned author, Carol Shields, starring Bruce Greenwood and Amelia Fox. In the same year, Ms. Mehta won the prestigious CineAsia “Best Director” Award – an acclaim awarded to Steven Spielberg in 2002.

Water, the third film in a trilogy called “elements,” opened the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in Canada in the fall of 2005, grossing over $2.2 million. The film is Canada’s official entry to the Best Foreign Film category for the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Ms. Mehta will introduce a screening of her most recent film, Water at the Etherington Auditorium, 94 Stuart St., 7:30 pm.

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky is considered one of Canada’s most respected photographers. Born in Ontario in 1955, Burtynsky is a graduate of Ryerson University and Niagara College. His early exposure to the General Motors plant in his hometown inspired his ambition to depict global industrial landscapes. His imagery explores the link between industry and nature, finding beauty and humanity in the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production, and recycling.

In 1985, Mr. Burtynsky founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging, and new media computer-training center for the local art community.

Mr. Burtynsky’s works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. His prints are housed in public, corporate, and private collections worldwide, and are included in 15 major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim.

Mr. Burtynsky has received numerous awards and fellowships, and has lectured at the National Gallery of Canada, the Library of Congress, and the George Eastman House. His images have appeared in various periodicals, including Art Forum, Art in America, Art News, Blind Spot, National Geographic, and the New York Times. He also sits on the board of directors for Toronto’s international photography festival, Contact.

In February, 2005, Mr. Burtynsky came to Queen’s as a visiting scholar.

Robert Fitzroy Foster

Robert Fitzroy Foster is considered as one of the foremost "revisionist” Irish historians. Professor Foster is a well-known critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and holds the only endowed chair of Irish History in Britain. He was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1949 and is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London, as well as holding visiting fellowships at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, the Institute for advanced Study, Princeton, and Princeton University.

In 1991 Professor Foster became the first Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford and was elected a Fellow of Hertford College. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Aberdeen, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National University of Ireland, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at Birkbeck College, University of London. In the spring of 2002 he was the Whitney Oates Fellow at Princeton.

Professor Foster is the author of many books including The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (2001), which won the 2003 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism and W.B. Yeats, A Life. I: The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 (1997) which won the 1998 James Tait Black Prize for biography. In 2009 he will deliver the Clark Lectures at the University of Cambridge, and in 2012 the Ford Lectures at the University of Oxford.

Lynda Maureen Haverstock

Lynda Maureen Haverstock is recognized throughout Saskatchewan, Canada and internationally for her academic achievements and work in education, her role in provincial politics and for her commitment to the province as Saskatchewan’s 19th Lieutenant Governor. She has earned respect for her role in developing education programs for disabled students and truant adolescents, and for her work on farm families in crisis.

In addition to being an “impassioned supporter of the arts,” Dr Haverstock is admired for her commitment to good citizenship, preservation of heritage sites, environmental stewardship, promoting interest in Canadian history and voluntarism, as well as implementing groundbreaking initiatives like The Northern Spay and Neuter Programme.

Dr. Haverstock shares her expertise with many professional and community organizations, and recently served as Chair of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Arts Awards, and also acts as Advisor to the President of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies.

Dr. Haverstock was recently named among newly appointed recipients to the Order of Canada and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Regina and Royal Roads University in Victoria. She was recently presented with the Distinguished Canadian Award, and was named one of the University of Saskatchewan’s 100 alumni of influence.


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