Honorary Degrees

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.

Name: Dr. Michael Shaw, Ph.D.
Convocation date: May 27, 2008
Discipline / contribution: plant biology ; agriculture
Citation / biographical information:

Dr. Michael Shaw, Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia, is a distinguished plant physiologist who enjoys an international reputation for his authoritative research on the physiology and biochemistry of host-parasite relationships. In particular, he has directed his efforts to the cell and molecular biology of this interaction in rust fungi, obligate parasites that infect several economically important crop plants.

Born in Barbados, Dr. Shaw obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University in 1949, and joined the Department of Biology of the University of Saskatchewan in 1950, serving as Department Head from 1961 to 1967, before becoming Dean of Agricultural Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He was subsequently Vice-President (Academic Development) from 1975 to 1981 and Vice-President (Academic) and Provost from 1981 to 1983. From 1983 until his retirement in 1989, he held the title of University Professor, an honour only rarely conferred upon the most distinguished faculty members.

Dr. Shaw has played a significant role in the development of science in Canada. He has served on many committees of the National Research Council of Canada and Agriculture Canada and was a founding member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He has been President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, the Canadian Botanical Association and the Biological Council of Canada. From 1964 to 1979, he was Editor of the Canadian Journal of Botany.

Dr. Shaw has received many honours in recognition of the importance of his scientific contributions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was awarded the Society's Flavelle Medal in 1976. He has received the Gold Medal of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and the first Gold Medal of the Biological Council of Canada. He has been elected a Fellow of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, the American Phytopathological Society, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Linnean Society of London. McGill University in 1975 and the University of British Columbia in 2003 have awarded him honorary doctorates.

Dr. Shaw's outstanding career in teaching, research, administration and public service in itself merits the award of an honourary degree. However, it is his particular contribution to the University of Saskatchewan during a period of seventeen years that makes the award by this University entirely appropriate. He began his pioneering host-parasite studies during that period and carried them to an advanced level of achievement, bringing international acclaim to the University, and his leadership guided the Department during its period of most vigorous growth and established the foundation upon which its subsequent development has rested.
Dr. Shaw met his wife, the former Jean Berkinshaw, while they were both at McGill. They have four children.
Degree received: Doctor of Science
Degree presented by: Graham Scoles, Dean of Agriculture and Bioresources

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