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: Sara Williams
Convocation date: June 3, 2015
Citation / biographical information:
Born in Washington, D.C., Sara Williams received a BA in English and History from the University of Michigan in 1963. From 1963 to 1965 she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Tanzania, East Africa. The graciousness and welcome of the Tanzanian people found a way to her heart and she has continued her connection with Tanzania over the intervening years.

Moving to Canada in 1971, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987, graduating with Great Distinction and receiving the Western Canadian Society for Horticulture Gold Medal. Ms. Williams was appointed Horticulture Extension Specialist in 1989, earning a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Extension in 1997.

As Extension Specialist, she initiated programs supporting both home gardeners and the horticulture industry. She delivered courses in person and on line, wrote hundreds of articles, did radio and television programs, and gave presentations to agricultural and horticultural societies throughout the prairies. In the 1990s she developed horticulture therapy programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness.

She was the initiator and founding editor of The Saskatchewan Gardener magazine, later The Gardener for the Prairies, reflecting its larger geographic range and broader readership.

Ms. Williams is the author and co-author of numerous books: Groundcovers and Vines for the Prairies, Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies, Gardening Naturally, and In A Cold Land. Her most recent book is the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, A Photographic History. Her award-winning and recently revised and expanded Creating the Prairie Xeriscape points to the need for water conservation, drought-tolerant plants, and amended soils, all practices she employs on her acreage near Saskatoon.

Following her retirement from the University in 2001, she has continued to write books and conduct workshops. As a founding and continuing member of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society, she helped establish two gardens at the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo in Saskatoon. For more than 20 years, she has led international garden-focused tours. In 2013, she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

In the last decade, through the Canadian Harambee Education Society, Ms. Williams has been instrumental in raising funds for a hostel (and garden) for 80 girls attending secondary school on CHES sponsorships in Katesh, Tanzania. These students are mostly from impoverished families in remote villages. The hostel provides a safe and supportive environment for their years of study and has become a model for other communities in Tanzania.
Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Degree presented by: Dean Mary Buhr

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