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 13, 1969
Special Convocation: Diamond Jubilee convocation
Discipline / contribution: plant pathology ; agriculture
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate of the University, I present to you Dr. Margaret Newton.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Dr. Newton’s career began at McGill University when, as a student in Agriculture she made a discovery that was to bring her fame and to the wheat-growing areas of the Prairies immense benefit.
When wheat rust hit the prairies in l9l6, destroying more than one hundred million bushels of wheat, not only was the allied war effort seriously impeded but the future of the entire agricultural industry was in jeopardy. Dr. Newton’s discovery of the presence of physiological races in rust played an essential part in the conquest of the disease. This work was initiated at McGill University under the late W.P. Fraser; it was continued on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan from 1919 to 1925 in collaboration with W.P. Thompson and completed at the University of Minnesota under Dr. E.C. Stakman. In 1925,at the invitation of the Hon. W.R. Motherwell, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Newton took charge of the research on physiological specialization in the cereal rusts at the newly—established rust laboratory in Winnipeg. In 1930 she journeyed to Leningrad at the invitation of the Russian Government to train fifty carefully selected students in the problems of rust research. For three months she enjoyed the status of “Russian official” and was given the freedom of the city.
On her return to Winnipeg she resumed her research. Unfortunately this work undermined her health forcing early retirement.
Dr. Newton has received many honours: a gold medal from McGill; election to fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada; gold medal of the Royal Society of Canada; gold medal by the University of Minnesota and her name inscribed in the University of Minnesota Hall of Fame.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Dr. Margaret Newton and ask that you confer on her the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: T.J. Arnason, professor of Biology
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