TRU 2000 Honorary Degree Recipients


John Douglas Gregson - Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

John (Jack) Douglas Gregson is an internationally renowned entomologist and Freeman of the City of Kamloops. He received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 1934 and a Master of Science degree specializing in Medical Entomology from the University of Alberta in 1936. Upon receiving his Master's degree, Gregson began work at Agriculture Canada's Veterinary and Medical Entomology Laboratory at Mission Flats in Kamloops, and in 1944 was appointed Officer-in-Charge of the lab, a position he held until 1971.

Gregson's research achievements are known and respected worldwide; he has published over 80 scientific papers, and was the US Naval Medical Unit's consultant on parasitic problems in the Middle East. As an international expert, he was invited to attend World Health Organization and other international congresses related to arthropod-borne diseases in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

Gregson has been recognized as Canada's leading authority on ticks and tick-borne diseases, and has named three new species of BC ticks. He has had an eastern tick, Ixodes (Pholeoixodes) Gregsoni, named after him in recognition of his 40 years of scientific contributions to the understanding of the taxonomy, ecology, and disease vector capacity of ticks. Interested in the field of entomology beyond his specialization, Gregson has also photographed over 40 local species of butterflies and moths. He spearheaded the development of a waterway park at Mcarthur Island in 1980, and in 1994 he initiated the development of a butterfly garden into that park.

Gregson’s contributions to the City of Kamloops over his 64 years of residence in the community include co-founding the Kamloops Outdoor club in 1944, the Kamloops and District Garden Club in 1950, and founding the Kamloops Naturalist Club in 1970. Gregson is also well known in the region for his environmental advocacy, and has actively opposed such projects as the Hat Creek coal thermal plant, North Thompson uranium mining, excessive mercury limits at Afton mines, and the toxic waste incinerator proposed for the Ashcroft area. He was a member of the Interior Chapter of the Society for Pollution and Environmental Control (SPEC), Probe BC., and, as a member of the Shuswap Thompson River Research and Development Association (STRRADA), co-authored the Kamloops Liveability Report.

Gregson also provided the leadership for the construction of the trail which bears his name: the Jack Gregson Trail, a waterfront bicycle and footpath linking Valleyview with Pioneer and Riverside Parks. In recognition of his decades of effort at making the City of Kamloops a better place to live and work, Gregson was designated a Freeman of the City of Kamloops in 1990.

Rick Salutin - Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

Rick Salutin is an award-winning Canadian journalist, playwright and author. Salutin was born in Toronto in 1942, and completed his public education in that city. His formal academic education began at Brandeis University, where, in 1964, he received an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, which included a year of study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He went on to receive an MA in Religion from Columbia University. After further study in philosphy at the New School of Social Research in New York, he returned to Toronto in 1970 to work as a writer.

A committed social activist, Salutin’s writings consistently speak on behalf of the powerless and marginalized, frequently taking the powerful and wealthy to task, particularly when he discovers hypocrisy. Salutin was a founding member of the Guild of Canadian Playwrights, held the Maclean-Hunter Chair in Communications Ethics at Ryerson Polytechnic University from 1993 to 1995, and has taught in the Canadian Studies program at the University of Toronto since 1978.

Known for probing and incisive political and social commentaries in his column in the Globe and Mail, Salutin has been an important voice in Canadian literature and journalism for decades. Salutin has published eight books, ten plays, five television dramas, a ten-part radio drama and numerous freelance articles in Canadian and foreign magazines in addition to his regular columns in Canadian Business, Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, and This Magazine. Salutin is known as one of the leading voices in Canadian political writing, and his independent logic and reverence for fact have earned him respect across the political spectrum. In addition to two National Magazine awards for comment and criticism, he received a Chalmers Outstanding Play Award for his play, 1837: The Farmers Revolt, and the Chalmers Award for the Best Canadian Play in 1977 for his play, Les Canadiens. He also won the W.H. Smithbooks in Canada Best First Novel Award in 1988 for A Man of Little Faith. The Toronto Arts Award for writing and publishing in 1991, and the National Newspaper Award for Best Columnist in 1993.

Salutin’s award-winning play, Les Canadiens, a comedy about hockey and nationalist culture in Quebec, is a revealing metaphorical commentary on interaction between the two dominant Canadian cultures. Les Canadiens is a national treasure which continues to be relevant in the Canadian cultural context.

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