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Don Kerr

Fellowship in United College


Don Kerr joined The University of Winnipeg Physics Department in 1969 and spent the next 35 years serving the University with great distinction. Kerr contributed to the Department of Physics, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the University as a whole—all the while maintaining an active research program.

The Winnipeg-born and Manitoba-educated physicist came to teach at UWinnipeg after spending two years as a Research Fellow at Harvard University completing his post-doctoral work on mass spectrometry and the previous two years as a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow in Germany.

“Don has an outstanding record of academic scholarship,” says Physics Chair Randy Kobes. “He held an NSERC operating grant, or its equivalent, since 1969, which is a remarkable accomplishment. As the awarding of such grants undergoes a rigorous peer-reviewed process, it is apparent that Don’s contributions have consistently been recognized as significant both nationally and internationally.”

Kerr, who retired in 2004, has published approximately 80 refereed journal articles and conference papers. The University of Winnipeg recognized Kerr’s achievement in research in 1990 when he was awarded, along with his long-time collaborator Steen Dannefaer, the Erica and Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Kerr was Chair of the Physics Department from 1981-82, a Senator, and member of many committees including Search and Nominating Committee for President, Committee to Nominate a Chancellor, and Review Committee for Promotion to Full Professor. Throughout his career, Kerr contributed greatly to the life of the department and the University both in administrative capacities and providing leadership and guidance.

From 1982-92, Kerr served two terms as Associate Dean (Budget and Planning), an appointment he considers a career highlight. Colleagues note that he carried out the Associate Dean responsibilities with the utmost professionalism, integrity, and fairness.

“Professor Kerr was able to excel at his administrative duties without ever losing his enthusiasm for teaching and his love of physics,” states Dean of Science Gabor Kunstatter.

And, according to Michael McIntyre, Dean of Arts and Science at the time, “Don was simply the most respected administrator at the University. Don had a very powerful influence within the University that derived, in large measure, from the fact that he always behaved as a colleague. He was of the faculty not from it. I think Don epitomizes, without even a hint of cliché, the phrase ‘a gentleman and a scholar.’”

Today, Kerr is being honoured for his exemplary research and his dedication to The University of Winnipeg when he is admitted as a Fellow of United College.

“It’s very gratifying to be given this significant honour,” Kerr says. “I am pleased to be joining the company of those who have received Fellowship in United College and I am proud to continue to be a part of The University of Winnipeg.”