University of Alberta

Edmonton, Canada

4 April 1997

India's former finance minister among honorary degree recipients

Old friend, writer Robert Kroestch, will also be honored

By Michael Robb

India's former finance minister, Manmohan Singh, will be one of seven to receive an honorary degree from the University of Alberta at its annual Spring Convocation ceremonies, this year scheduled for June 2-5 and 9-11.

Also receiving degrees are: Dr. Christopher Somerville, a Stanford University molecular biologist; Charles Chan, a leading Hong Kong industrialist; Dr. Mamora Watanabe, a former University of Calgary dean of medicine and now professor of internal medicine; William Hurlburt, a leading advocate of law reform in Alberta; Dr. Per-Ingvar Br?nemark, a pioneer in osseointegration biotechnology; and, Robert Kroetsch, a prominent Canadian novelist and essayist.

n Manmohan Singh is the architect of India's market-oriented economic liberalization program. He has played a key role in convincing the world that his country is committed to trade liberalization and freer markets. He played a crucial role in the historic signing by India of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade.

n Per-Ingvar Br?nemark, a Swedish professor, will receive an honorary degree to recognize his innovative work in the area of osseointegration biotechnology. His remarkable and unique work has improved the quality of life for thousands of people who have suffered the absence or loss of body parts. As a result of Br?nemark's pioneering work, osseointegrated implants have become routine in the replacement of teeth, jaw reconstruction, cleft palate work and orthodontics.

n Charles Chan, who earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1979, has made his mark in the world of business. The chairman and chief executive officer of the Paul Y-ITC Corporation, a construction company which he has built into a major corporation with world-wide interests, and chairman of Tak Cheung Holdings Ltd. has risen to become one of the leading industrialists in the Asian economy. Chan also has an interest in the Oxford Group, one of Canada's leading development companies.

n William Hurlburt, who earned his BA in 1948 and his LLB the following year from the the U of A, has had an enormous impact on law reform in the province and nationally. He served as director of the Alberta Law Reform Institute from 1975 to 1986 and remains a consultant and counsel for the Institute. He has published extensively and made notable contributions to strengthen the ethics of members of the legal profession and was a member of a panel recommending rules of conflict of interest for cabinet ministers, MLAs and senior public servants.

n Robert Kroetsch published his first novel, But We Are Exiles, in 1965. Words of My Roaring was published the following year. And in 1969, The Studhorse Man was awarded the Governor General's Award for Fiction. He went on to publish five more novels, 10 books of poetry and two works of non-fiction. Born and raised in Central Alberta, Kroetsch earned his first degree, a Bachelor of Arts, from the U of A.

n Christopher Somerville is also an alumnus, earning an undergraduate and both of his graduate degrees in genetics. He pioneered a molecular genetic method to study photorespiration in plants. He chose a common weed, Arabidopsis, for his study and in the process developed it as a model for plant genetics and molecular biology that is now used throughout the world. One of the world's leaders in plant molecular biology, Somerville has used genetic engineering techniques to improve commercially useful

biochemical pathways, such as changing the composition of edible oils in higher plants.

n Mamora Watanabe, the former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, will be recognized for his contributions to health research, physician resource management and medical information technology. Over the course of his career, he has challenged health-care providers to re-examine how they allocate resources. His recent publications have focused on the provision of health care in under-serviced regions and, in particular, on the influence of undergraduate and postgraduate education on recruitment and retention of physicians in rural Alberta.

Writer Robert Kroetsch will return to his alma mater to receive an honorary degree.

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