N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: May 25, 1999
Discipline / contribution: geology ; university administration
Citation / biographical information:
Glen Caldwell is a geologist of great distinction in the tradition of his countryman Sir Charles Lyell. His scientific achievement, credit for which he shares generously with colleagues and some sixty graduate students, can only be sketched here. Pursued over forty-five years in the Universities of Glasgow (Ph.D, 1957), Saskatchewan (1 957-1 988), Western Ontario, and Hong Kong, his research has focused on the dynamically changing inland seaway which in the Cretaceous Age (65-145 million years ago) stretched at times from the Arctic to the Gulf Coast, with the developing Rockies on its west. Glen has contributed greatly to mapping the rocks of Cretaceous age created from sediments in this vast sea, particularly the strata of its western region, which included Saskatchewan. From biological, chemical and physical clues embedded in these rocks (many brought to daylight during potash exploration) he has constructed the history of a primordial world seen by no human eye but revealed through research in stratigraphy, palaeontology, tectonics, ecology, climatology, and oceanography. His findings have provided a model for the study of parallel systems elsewhere on the globe.Degree received: Doctor of Science
Major publications have flowed from this research, including the classic The Cretaceous System in the Western Interior of North America, in 1975, and, in 1994, Evolution of the Western Interior Basin (co-editor E.G. Kauffman), reviewed as “among the most important contributions to ... Cretaceous geology ... in decades.”
During sixteen years as Head of Geological Sciences at Saskatchewan (1 972-1 988) Glen led his Department permanently to the scientific forefront in Canada and internationally. His leadership took various forms: modernization of the curriculum, superlative recruitment, and acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment supported by a national fund-raising campaign that surpassed its target. Thanks to a relentless persistence which has marked his career, political skill, and his scientific and personal reputation, he also led his Department out of “Egypt” — a dilapidated place of exile in the old Engineering Building — into the splendid new Geology Building on the Bowl.
After leaving Saskatchewan Glen served as Professor of Geology and Vice-President (Research) at Western Ontario 1988-1996. Since 1996 he has been Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong.
Space permits only a selection from Glen’s long record of honours and professional offices. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 1979, he was named Ambrose Medallist in 1989 by the Geological Association of Canada for “sustained distinguished service to the earth sciences in Canada” and in 1995 Distinguished Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. He has been Editor of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences and Books Editor for the Geological Society of America; President of the Canadian Geoscience Council, the Canadian Geological Foundation, and the Geological Association of Canada; Chairman of the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature and Vice-President of the International Union of Geological Sciences, From 1988 to 1994 he sat on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Degree presented by: Michael Swan, Professor of History
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