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: April 3, 1997
Special Convocation: 90th Anniversary Convocation
Discipline / contribution: northern research ; public service; teaching
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the University Senate, I present to you Walter OscarDegree received: Doctor of Laws
Professor Walter Kupsch has served this University, this Province and the nation with
dedication and wisdom for well over forty years. A widely esteemed researcher and indeed beloved as an especially engaging and effective teacher, he has made for himself a distinguished reputation as a scholar. As a geological scientist, Dr. Kupsch earned an honoured place in the Royal Society of Canada, and in an international range of professional bodies, including the Arctic Institute of North America, of which he was a Governor. He has done important foundation and consulting work in his special field of pleistocene geology, but his knowledge goes far beyond. He has written and taught well in such topic areas as vulcanology, glaciology and the history of geological science. He is the epitome of the familiar phrase ofPlautus, "homo doctus in se semper divitias habet"; (a learned man always has wealth within himself).
Walter Kupsch achieved his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1950, and shortly afterwards joined the Faculty of the University of Saskatchewan. Here, with the highly intelligent and staunch support of his wife Emmy, he made his academic base and here they brought up their three children, Helen, Yvonne and Richard. Moreover, with Emmy, he always took a genuine, personal interest in his students, particularly those from overseas.
Professor Kupsch is much respected as an exacting and perceptive English language editor in many realms of publication. The visionary and lucid 1966 Report of the Advisory Commission on the Future of Government in the Northwest Territories, which he served as Director-General, a first class and enormously comprehensive job of organization, was largely written by Dr. Kupsch. This tour de force by Walter Kupsch was followed some years later by another - the equally historic Churchill River Study, covering vast topical and regional areas of the provincial north.
Dr. Kupsch's distinguished public service was a major reason for his becoming a Member of the Order of Canada last year, having already had received in 1992 the N.W.T. Commissioner's Award for Public Service. The background to this wealth of northern work is to be found in Dr. Kupsch's outstanding performance as Director of the University's Institute for Northern Studies, the first such organization in the history of Canadian academia. His competent leadership and enormous capacity for work brought the Institute into a pre-eminent position internationally. He enthusiastically enabled the creation of the Arctic Research and Training Centre at Rankin Inlet, the first University-owned and operated year-round centre of Arctic learning in the circumpolar world. Moreover he worked dedicatedly for many years on the development of the internationally-appreciated multi-disciplinary northern science journal. The Musk-Ox. The Institute for Northern Studies remains deeply valued in the minds of many. In the words of the poet Horace, "Exegi monumentem aere perennius;" (he has raised a monument more durable than bronze).
Even as recently as this last year. Dr. Kupsch completed a gruelling Environmental Impact Assessment Study in the Northwest Territories. And always, he has never ceased to be good-humoured, zestful, wise, kindly, patient and warm-hearted; academia's the quintessential Dutch uncle.
Walter Kupsch is being honoured today for exceptional scholarship and service, but at the same time, many of us will want to record for all to hear our deep affection for him and for his brilliant help-meet Emmy, and our appreciation for his remarkable qualities of loyalty, decency, and humanity.
Therefore, Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Walter Oscar Kupsch and ask that you confer on him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Robert Williamson
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