Honorary Doctorate for Robert J. Sawyer
On Saturday, June 2, 2007, Robert J. Sawyer received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa) from Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ontario; Sawyer also gave the convocation address to graduating arts students that day. The doctorate was given in recognition of Sawyer's international success as a science-fiction writer.
Laurentian, a bilingual English-and-French institution, is the leading university in northern Ontario. During the same series of convocations, other honorary doctorates were awarded, including to civil-rights leader Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine. Laurentian bestowed its first honorary doctorate of letters in 1970, to Canadian literary legend Farley Mowat.
Sawyer's Hugo Award-winning novel Hominids and its sequels Humans and Hybrids are set largely in the Sudbury area, including at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and at Laurentian University itself (which is known worldwide for Michael Persinger's research there using transcranial magnetic stimulation inducing religious experiences, research that figures prominently in Hybrids).
Sawyer was nominated for the doctorate by Michael Emond, a tenured professor in Laurentian's Psychology Department. Said Emond when making the nomination: "I could think of no better candidate that exemplifies the reasons why I am proud to be Canadian."
Receiving the honorary doctorate was the final stop on Sawyer's six-week book tour promoting the release of his seventeenth novel, Rollback (Tor, April 2007).
Laurentian University press release
Robert J. Sawyer receives his honorary doctorate from Laurentian president Judith Woodsworth, while Dr. Michael Emond, who nominated Rob for the doctorate, looks on.
Rob gives the convocation address; read the full text here.
Carolyn Clink, President Woodsworth, and Robert J. Sawyer at the reception after the convocation
A close-up of the diploma.