Honorary Degree Books 2024

Reneltta Arluk

Reneltta Arluk is Inuvialuk, Gwich'in, Denesuline, and Cree from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, recognized for her contributions to decolonizing theatre as an actor and director. Her identity as a multidisciplinary artist was shaped by her experiences while being raised on the trapline by her grandparents until she went to school. In 2005, Arluk was the first Indigenous woman and first Inuk to graduate from the University of Alberta's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program. She established her theatre company, Akpik Theatre, in 2009 and it has since developed and produced a dozen works. In 2016, Arluk's rendition of Colleen Murphy's The Breathing Hole at the Stratford Festival was recognized with an award for artistic direction. She supported the National Arts Centre's decolonization efforts by helping to create its Indigenous Theatre section and she supported the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in establishing its Director of Indigenous Strategic Engagement position. Arluk works at the National Gallery of Canada under Indigenous Ways and Decolonization.

Ravin’ Raven by Ningiukulu Teevee

Ningiukulu Teevee. Ravin' Raven. 2019. Lithograph. No. 32 of 40. 55.9 x 76.2 cm.

Ravin' Raven

Ningiukulu Teevee is one of the finest artists involved in the Kinngait (Cape Dorset) graphics studio. Her work explores Inuit legends and reveals a sly sense of humour and a dynamic design sensibility. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in major public galleries and museums and is much sought after by collectors. In 2009, her children's book, Alego, was short-listed for the Governor General's award for illustration in Children's Literature. Commissioned by Inuit Gallery in North Vancouver, Ravin' Raven is an exuberant print that arises from the traditional story when Owl and Raven exchanged gifts: Owl was given a beautiful white dress with black flecks and the delighted Raven received a new pair of boots to protect her feet. [NE 542.3 T44 A74 2019 folio]

Professor Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is a professor emerita with the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta, where she taught for more than three decades. She was the first full-time professor in the faculty to focus on how Canadian law affects Indigenous Peoples, and she continues to champion the rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has influenced Indigenous heritage law, policy and practice and Métis rights and collaborative research methods. Bell has also been a visiting scholar at numerous academic institutions and has developed and taught courses to support Indigenous legal education across Canada. She co-developed the faculty's Low Income Individuals and the Law clinical law course (with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre and Legal Aid Alberta) and an experiential learning program on Gladue Sentencing Principles (with Alberta Justice). She also supervised the Kawaskimhon National Moot. Accolades celebrating Bell's work include the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Governor General's Gold Medal awarded by the Canadian Bar Association. She has provided her expertise on the implimentation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to help reform the laws, policies, and practices of the Canadian heritage sector. Bell serves on the Board of the Indigenous Heritage Circle.

Sky Woman’s Blanket by Nancy Desjarlais

Nancy Desjarlais. Sky Woman's Blanket. Acrylic on canvas. 76.2 x 60.1 cm.

Sky Woman's Blanket

Nancy Desjarlais is an award-winning artist of Cree and Métis ancestry. She spent her early years on the Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, but, like many First Nations children, she was removed from her home and was first put into a convent and later into foster homes. Later, as she reconnected with her family roots, she learned about her culture through art. In Desjarlais' artwork, images of the sky and stars reveal a cosmic-earth connection that is rich in spiritual energy, "I want to go beyond separateness. We are part of the earth and the universe. There is so much more than can be revealed through our senses. This is what compels and intrigues me." Sky Woman's Blanket is a beautifully vibrant celebration of the creation story. [ND 249 D472 A76 2020z folio]

Dr Robert Foster

Robert Foster is a global life sciences leader and an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. He discovered and developed voclosporin, which was approved in 2021 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat kidney dysfunction in people with lupus. Foster founded the biopharmaceutical company Isotechnika in 1993. He has published more than 200 papers, abstracts, and book chapters that focus on drug analysis, development, and pharmacometrics, which use mathematical models to understand how drugs work in the body. Foster most recently served as CEO of Hepion Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw the development of rencofilstat, a drug to treat diseases of the liver associated with metabolic disorders.

Botanicum Officinale by Joseph Miller

Joseph Miller. Botanicum Officinale; or a Compendious Herbal: Giving An Account of All Such Plants as Are Now Used in the Practice of Physick. With Their Descriptions and Virtues. London: E. Bell, J. Senex, W. Taylor, and J. Osborn, 1722.

Botanicum Officinale

This rare book on herbal medicine was published for the benefit of early apothecaries who sought knowledge of plants as medicines in the treatment of various ailments and diseases. Arranged alphabetically by their Latin names, each plant also has affiliated names and a description in English. The final entry for "Zinziber" describes how "Ginger" could be used for medicinal purposes: "This is a yellowish, white, and flattish round Root, somewhat knotty and branched, of an aromatic Smell, and a very hot biting Taste … Ginger is used in Food, as well as in Physick. It heats and comforts the Stomach, expels Wind, helps Digestion, prevents the Collic, and strengthens the Bowels" (463). This first edition copy of Joseph Miller's herbal (a book comprised of names and descriptions of plants) has a contemporary full calf binding, marbled endpapers and edges, and an engraved armorial bookplate of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1857–1944). [QK 99 G7 M55 1722]

Dr Charles Lee

While serving as a member of Harvard Medical School's faculty in 2004, Charles Lee made a revolutionary discovery: genes don't always occur in two copies per cell. This finding uprooted the field of human genetics, leading to new genetic diagnostic tests and a better understanding of human disease and evolution. Lee's academic impact stretches well beyond this discovery. He has contributed more than 190 publications to peer-reviewed journals and has been cited more than 81,000 times. Lee became the inaugural scientific director of the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in 2013, which he still leads. He advised the State of Connecticut to help it navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was inducted as a Fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology in 2023. From 2017 to 2023, Lee served as president of the Human Genome Organization and his contributions to human genetics have been recognized by multiple organizations, including the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Art of Preserving and Restoring Health by M. Flamand

M. Flamand. The Art of Preserving and Restoring Health. London: R. Bentley, H. Bonwick, and S. Manship, 1697.

The Art of Preserving and Restoring Health

The title page of this early treatise on "simple and effectual remedies" for various diseases explains that it was "Written in French by M. Flamand, M.D. and faithfully translated into English." The book is divided into two sections: part one explores the art of preserving health, from removing "the First immediate Cause of Diseases, by lessening the Quantity of the Blood" (30) to using "purging medicines" that are "proportioned to the Strength of the Patient" (51); part two focuses on "particular remedies" that the author "had observ'd to be most esteem'd, and found to be most useful and effectual" (72), from "A Remedy for the Head-Ach" (82) to a treatment "For the Spleen" (88). The remedy for "the Pain of the Kidneys" was certainly straightforward but to modern readers, predictably ineffectual: "Dip a Linen Cloth in Oxycrate, and apply it to the Part affected. Oxycrate is a Mixture of six parts of Water, and one of Vinegar" (92). This copy of an exceedingly scarce antiquarian medical book has a contemporary calf binding and an early ownership inscription on the title page. [R 128.7 F53 1697]

Richard Smith

Richard Smith transformed the field of search and rescue in Alberta. He has always supported the communities around him, participating in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets as a youth and serving in the Royal Canadian Army for more than five years. He began his 21-year career with the RCMP in 1977. In 1986, Smith managed the search for two-year-old Jesse Rinker who, unfortunately, wasn't found alive. In response to that incident, Smith devoted himself to advancing search and rescue services. He co-founded the Emergency Response Institute Canada, co-authored five text books about search and rescue, taught the field's best practices nationally and internationally, and helped establish Search and Rescue Alberta. He also participated in more than 600 missions and in 1997 to 1998 completed research and development with the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta in the field of lost person behaviour. In 2017, Smith worked with Shell Canada to develop a permanent training facility. Smith has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers.

Facsimile of the Illustrated Arctic News edited by Sherard Osborne and George F. McDougall

Sherard Osborne and George F. McDougall, editors. Facsimile of the Illustrated Arctic News, Published on Board H.M.S. Resolute: Captn. Horatio T. Austin, C.B. in Search of the Expedition under Sir John Franklin. London: Ackermann & Co., 1852.

Facsimile of the Illustrated Arctic News

A monumental search and rescue operation ensued when Sir John Franklin (1786–1847) and the crew aboard his ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, disappeared while on an expedition to chart the elusive Northwest Passage. Among the earliest expeditions that set out to rescue Franklin was a four-ship squadron commanded by Sir Horatio Thomas Austin (1801–1865) that began a search of the Eastern Arctic in 1850. Austin was at the helm of HMS Resolute, and to boost the morale of his crew, The Illustrated Arctic News was produced shipboard as a handwritten newspaper in five issues from October 1850 to March 1851. In imitation of The Illustrated London News, it included illustrations in each issue as well as letters, news, playbills, songs, and stories. When the expedition returned to England, The Illustrated Arctic News was republished for a wider audience as a facsimile edition in 1852. This first edition copy was expertly restored by bookbinder Alexander J. McGuckin; it features a title page with a hand-coloured vignette, numerous illustrations (many in colour), lithographed text in double columns, and a dark blue binding with an arctic scene stamped in gilt on the cover. It also contains a loose sheet laid in with an inscription: "To Jacob & Henriette Oliver, from their brother, Fredk. J. Krabbé with best love, and wishes for their continued happiness. April 1852." During Captain Austin's multi-vessel search for Franklin, Frederick John Krabbé (1824–1869) served as Second Master on board HMS Assistance. [G 662 I42 1852 folio]

Dr Donna Strickland

Professor in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, Donna Strickland is one of the recipients of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. This technology is now used in laser eye surgery and for cutting glass cell phone components. Strickland joined the University of Waterloo in 1997 and leads an ultrafast-laser group that develops high-intensity laser systems for non-linear optics investigations. The goal of this technology is to cure presbyopia, an eye condition that prevents older adults from focusing on nearby objects. Strickland is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier's Research Excellence Award, and a Cottrell Scholar Award.

Saggi di naturali esperienze fatte nell’Academia del Cimento by Lorenzo Magalotti

Lorenzo Magalotti. Saggi di naturali esperienze fatte nell'Academia del Cimento sotto la protezione del Serenissimo Principe Leopoldo di Toscana. Florence: Filippo Cecchi, 1691.

Saggi di natvrali esperienze fatte nell'Academia del Cimento

The only publication published by the first academy of science in Europe, which had a diverse membership including Italian mathematician Vincenzo Viviani, Italian-French astronomer and engineer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Dutch embryologist Francesco Redi, Danish anatomist and geologist Nicolaus Steno, and Italian physiologist and physicist Giovanni Alfonso Borelli. This pioneering academy developed new methods, carried out experiments, and distributed scientific instruments. First published in 1666, this book was reissued many times in English, Latin, Italian, and French. This copy of the second edition is bound in contemporary calf with gilt lettering on the spine and features numerous full-page illustrations. This important title in the history of science is a great addition to Bruce Peel Special Collections. [QC 17 A3 1691 folio]

Dr Lorne Tyrrell

A University of Alberta Distinguished Professor, Lorne Tyrrell has accomplished several milestones in researching and treating hepatitis viruses over four decades. He created the first oral antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B alongside Morris Robins in 1998 and established the first non-primate animal model for hepatitis C with Norman Kneteman and David Mercer in 1999. This latter team established KMT Hepatech, which tested antivirals to treat the disease for more than a decade as part of an exclusive contract with the National Institutes of Health. Tyrrell is the founding director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology and associate director of the Applied Virology Institute. His past roles include serving as the dean of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and as a member of the federal government's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Tyrrell has received multiple awards for his work and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Tractatus de Herbis by Minta Collins

Minta Collins. Tractatus de Herbis. London: Folio Society, 2002.

Tractatus de Herbis

Within the holdings of The British Library is a lavish medieval manuscript about plants and their medicinal properties, Tractatus de Herbis, which is otherwise known as British Library Egerton MS 747 (named after Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (1756–1829) who established a fund for manuscript acquisitions). This facsimile of the manuscript was published in a limited edition with an accompanying commentary volume, featuring an introduction by Minta Collins and a list of plants by Sandra Raphael. The manuscript has ruled columns, alphabetical sections, an extensive handwritten text, decorative chapter initials, and hundreds of plant illustrations. Bound in dark green goatskin with a design of brambles on the cover by David Eccles, the facsimile has 109 folios, gilt edges, and handmade endpapers; the separate commentary volume is bound in quarter buckram with a printed label on the cover. Both volumes are elegantly housed in a dark green Solander case with a pastedown spine label. [QK 99 A1 B78 2002 folio]

Dr Connie Varnhagen

Connie Varnhagen is a professor emerita of psychology at the University of Alberta who champions undergraduate research and helps thousands of Albertans support their pets' health. As academic director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative from 2011 to 2017 and instructor in the Faculties of Science, Arts, and Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, she led students in research on the human-animal bond and human well-being. This research inspired Varnhagen to establish the volunteer organization Alberta Helping Animals Society in 2015, which helps vulnerable Albertans access no-cost veterinary care and other services. Recognized as a 3M National Teaching Fellow in 2012 and honored by the Alberta Veterinary Technologist Association in 2016, Varnhagen's work reflects a profound commitment to education, research, and community service.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell. Black Beauty, His Groom and Companions. Boston: American Humane Society, 1890.

Black Beauty

First published in London, this is the first American edition of one of the best-selling books of all time. The central character, Black Beauty, is a horse who narrates his own life story beginning with his early happy life on a farm with his mother through his working life, pulling a cab in London for increasingly cruel owners, and on to his happy retirement. Always intelligent and virtuous, this is a horse who has been loved by generations of readers of all ages and in a great many languages. Black Beauty is the most famous in the series of books published by the American Humane Society in its early years in order to teach readers that animals are sentient beings who should be treated in a compassionate manner, something that was not widely understood at the time. Black Beauty is an important addition to Bruce Peel Special Collections, both for its own sake and because it was the inspiration for another extremely popular Humane Society publication, one that was also the first novel by a Canadian author to sell over a million copies: Beautiful Joe (1894). [PR 5349 S45 B6 1890]