On October 22, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will pay tribute to alumnus William Deverell when he receives an honorary Doctor of Letters during Fall Convocation ceremonies at TCU Place.
“Mr. Deverell is widely regarded in literary circles as a national treasure and we hold great admiration for all he has accomplished as an award-winning author, lawyer, environmental activist, and as a champion of civil rights,” said U of S president Peter Stoicheff. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to celebrate his many achievements since graduating from the University of Saskatchewan and we are extremely proud to call him one of our own.”
Born in Regina, Deverell earned a Bachelor of Arts and a law degree at the U of S, while serving as editor of The Sheaf student newspaper as well as working as a night editor for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He went on to earn numerous national writing honours, including the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence and twice winning the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. Deverell, who has written 18 novels, earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crime Writers of Canada and was twice-nominated for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
“This (honorary doctorate) would probably be the top award of all, particularly because it’s a tribute to what I have done in, in how many years has it been since I was at the U of S, 50-some years since that time,” he said. “The university gave me the chance, the opportunity, the experience and the training to go where I have gone . . . So in many, many ways, my time at the university was extremely important in creating the person that I am and in allowing me to do the things that I have done.”
Deverell, 79, was the creator of the hit CBC TV series Street Legal, which has been aired in more than 50 countries, and he was one of the 100 individuals honoured as Alumni of Influence on the 100th anniversary of the College of Arts and Science in 2009. Deverell, who was a founding director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and a member of Greenpeace, has also donated all of his manuscripts, notes and letters to the U of S.
“About 20 years ago I made my first donation and I added some papers a few years ago and I have some more piling up, too, so I will keep adding to the archives that they have,” he said. “I had a bit of a competition for those papers. Simon Fraser wanted them and UVic (University of Victoria) wanted them, but I felt that U of S was my alma mater and they get first choice.”
Deverell will be honoured in the afternoon convocation ceremony (2 pm) at TCU Place on October 22.
For the full convocation schedule, see: https://students.usask.ca/events/fall-convocation.php#Program
University of Saskatchewan:
Established in 1907, the University of Saskatchewan has a long history of excellence. We are a member of the U15 group of Canada’s top research-intensive universities, offering unique facilities such as the Canadian Light Source, VIDO-InterVac and the Global Institute for Water Security. The university is committed to First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success and to welcoming diverse perspectives and ways of knowing, both from across Saskatchewan and around the world.
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Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan