UW awards four honorary degrees at fall convocation

WATERLOO, Ont. -- A prominent Canadian actor, Williams Needles, is among those receiving University of Waterloo (UW) honorary degrees at fall convocation to be held Oct. 23.

Needles, a leading member of the Stratford festival's first acting company in 1953 and top educator in academic theatre, will receive a Doctor of Laws at the convocation ceremony for applied health sciences and arts graduates to be held Saturday, Oct. 23 in UW’s Physical Activities Complex.

He will deliver the convocation address at 10 a.m. Also at the ceremony, Grace Schmidt, a local librarian instrumental in preserving and celebrating the history and culture of Waterloo County, will receive a Doctor of Laws.

As well, UW’s 79th convocation will see honorary degrees awarded to: Prof. Larry Bourne, a faculty member in the geography and planning department at the University of Toronto; and Prof. Stephen Cook, a faculty member in the computer science department at the University of Toronto.

Bourne, one of the leading geographers in North America, will receive a Doctor of Environmental Studies at the afternoon convocation ceremony for graduates in engineering, environmental studies, independent studies and mathematics to be held Oct. 23. He will address convocation at 2 p.m.

At the same ceremony, Cook, a world-renowned theoretical computer scientist, will receive a Doctor of Mathematics.



Bios of degree recipients available/prepared by UW secretariat (Below)

Contact: Trenny Canning, UW secretariat, (519) 888-4567, ext. 5924

From John Morris, UW News Bureau, 888-4567, ext. 6047

Release no. 160 -- September 21, 1999


Larry Bourne

Larry Bourne is one of the leading figures in North American geography. He received a BA from the University of Western Ontario in 1961, an MA from the University of Alberta in 1963, and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1966. Professor Bourne's career at the University of Toronto began in 1966, when he was employed as a Lecturer in the Department of Geography. He has been a Professor of Geography and Planning at the University of

Toronto since 1973 and, from 1973-1984, he was also the Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Studies. As a result of his continuing research and analysis into urban matters, mainly in the context of Canada's urban system and housing, Professor Bourne has published his analyses in numerous quality writings. He is the author, or joint author, of ten books and, in addition to this substantive work in urban reference volumes; he has published continuously in professional refereed journals. His publications on urban morphology and systems, housing, redevelopment, and land use are widely cited. Prof. Bourne is the former President of the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) and the recipient of the CAG Award for Scholarly Distinction. He is a stimulating example of the viewpoints and contributions that geography and geographers can make to the emerging interdisciplinary field of urban studies.

Stephen Cook

World-renowned Theoretical Computer Scientist, Stephen Cook received a BS from the University of Michigan in 1961 and a SM and PhD from Harvard University in 1962 and 1966, respectively. During the 1970s, he worked on fundamental questions of the complexity of computation and, through much of the 1980s, he was the major force in developing a solid theory of the computational complexity of parallel computation. More recently, the main thrust of Dr. Cook's work has been in formal logics and their application to succinct proofs. As a faculty member at the University of Toronto since the 1970s, he has significantly contributed to the education of many Canadian computer scientists. Several of UW's faculty have taken his classes and others have been advised by him as graduate students; his work with the Information Technology Research Centre has promoted further interaction with UW. His impressive record of scholarly work includes his 1982 invited presentation of his paper The Complexity of Theorem Proving Procedures at the ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing. This paper remains what is probably the most influential and indeed celebrated paper on theoretical computer science. Dr. Cook's honours and awards include the 1982 Turing Award, the Steacie Memorial Fellowship (1977-78), and the Killam Research Fellowship (1982-83). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences (US) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

William Needles

One of the foremost actors in North America and one of the great educators in American academic theatre, William Needles was a member of the Stratford Festival's very first acting company in 1953 and has appeared in a huge variety of roles in over 100 productions. Throughout that time, Mr. Needles has distinguished himself not only by the range and depth of his work on stage, but also by his tremendous dedication to the Festival as a whole and to the art of theatre in general. He has played a vital leadership role within the company, always unstinting in his support and encouragement of his younger colleagues. He has devoted substantial amounts of his own time, without remuneration, to assisting the Festival's Education Department in its outreach programs for educators and students; he has represented the Festival at institutions of learning both in Canada and the U.S. Mr. Needle's acting career has spanned both Canada and the U.S., including most Stratford Festivals since 1953, the Canadian Players, the Crest Theatre, Tarragon Theatre and Centrestage. His acting is marked by apparently effortless intellectual and moral authority, combined with ironic playfulness and rich vocal sensitivity. One of Canada's most skilled Shakespearean actors, he has also given important performances in plays by Shaw, Brecht, Chekhov and Slawomir Mrozek. Although the gap between the theatre and the academy can be wide, Mr. Needles has managed to bridge it and has, as a result, made important contributions to education. These go back at least to the 1960s when he served as an adjudicator for the Simpson's Drama Festivals, another part of the history of the arts in Canada by which the talents of young people were fostered. Needles' major contribution to education, however, has been at the post-secondary level through his years of work as artist-in-residence at the University of California at Irvine. According to colleagues from California, he "has made a profound and sustained impact on our campus, and particularly in my department, where it is no exaggeration to call him a truly beloved faculty member...." Having grown up in Kitchener as the son of Ira Needles, he has a long association with this community and with this university.

Grace Schmidt

Grace Schmidt was born in Berlin, later Kitchener, in 1915. Of German and Pennsylvania Dutch stock, her own heritage in Waterloo County goes back generations. She attended Victoria School, Kitchener Collegiate Institute and graduated from the Ontario College of Education in Toronto. After a brief period as an elementary school teacher, she joined the staff of the Kitchener Public Library in 1945 where she served as a reference librarian and eventually Assistant Chief Librarian. Grace Schmidt was one of the most respected and admired librarians to serve Waterloo County. A daughter of the very community she served, Miss Schmidt's pioneering efforts to acquire, conserve and make accessible the corpus of local history and archival material formed a solid base for the burgeoning study of local history -- amateur and scholarly. Miss Schmidt's contributions extend well beyond her seminal role as archivist for both the Kitchener Public Library and the Waterloo Historical Society, reflecting her nurturing love of local history. She has served on the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation, and was actively involved in one of the Foundation's most ambitious projects: the restoration of the historic Joseph Schneider Haus. Her dedication to the Haus continues to this day as she assists with the training of staff and volunteers on a regular basis. As well, she has played a central role in the Waterloo Historical Society, the Waterloo County Hall of Fame and the Red Cross. Miss Schmidt's contributions to the broader community have been paramount in preserving and celebrating the history and culture of this area. Grace Schmidt has received recognition. Her honours include: induction into the Waterloo County Hall of Fame (1996); the Outstanding Achievement Award for volunteerism, given by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation (1995); the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation Award of Excellence (1991); the Alexander Fraser Award by the Ontario Association of Archivists; Kitchener-Waterloo Woman of the Year (1980). But perhaps the greatest recognition occurred in 1984 when the Kitchener Library Board voted unanimously to name the local history room the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History.