Search

Scholarship Created in Honour of Beloved Physics Professor

The University of Winnipeg Foundation


Don KerrThe University of Winnipeg and Foundation are pleased to announce the establishment of The Donald Kerr Scholarship in Honours Physics by Dr. Kerr’s family, friends and colleagues. This scholarship commemorates Don’s remarkable life and career by recognizing and supporting students who excel in their studies, while demonstrating similar admirable traits to Don, such as: leadership, integrity and natural mentorship.

Chair of the Physics Department at UWinnipeg, Dwight Vincent said, "Over the span of his teaching career at the University of Winnipeg Don Kerr taught several thousand students in our first year Astronomy course. He was noted for his precisely organized and clear lecture style. From conversations with previous students I have come to realize that Don's teaching engendered many students to have a life-long interest in Astronomy. Within the context of Physics and within the context of his administrative duties as an Associate Dean, Don had a no-nonsense way of looking at things in science, financial matters and everyday life that always made him an interesting and effective person to deal with."

Born in Winnipeg in 1938, at the age of 18, Don Kerr enlisted for service in the Royal Canadian Navy while simultaneously attending university classes at United College (now The University of Winnipeg).  

Receiving his PhD in Physics from the University of Manitoba in 1965, Don went on to achieve a National Research Council fellowship moving him, along with his wife, Judy and their young family, to a research position as an Overseas Fellow in Germany. In 1967 from Germany, they traveled to Boston, where Don took a position as Research Fellow at Harvard University.

During his time at Harvard, Don worked closely with Dr. Kenneth Bainbridge, Director of the Trinity Project, which he considered a highlight of his career. After completing his postdoctoral work under Ken Bainbridge’s guidance on mass spectrometry, Don and Judy then chose to return home to Winnipeg. Don joined the Faculty of Physics at The University of Winnipeg (in 1969) serving as an exceptional teacher and colleague for 35 years until retirement.

Throughout Don’s career his research and teaching abilities received consistent recognition from his peers in the academic community, his co-workers and his students. Most notably, Don held NSERC grants spanning his entire career as well as serving 10 years at The University of Winnipeg as Associate Dean of Budget and Planning. During his time as Dean, Don was known by the faculty and support staff as someone who carried out his responsibilities with the utmost professionalism, integrity and fairness exemplifying what it meant to be a “gentleman and scholar”.

Upon retiring in 2004, Don was honoured for his dedication to The University of Winnipeg when he was admitted as a Fellow of the United College and by being named Professor Emeritus.

President and CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation said, "The University of Winnipeg is fortunate to have had a professor like Dr. Kerr to inspire its students, and is grateful that his friends and family have chosen to remember him through this meaningful scholarship. Their generosity through the creation of this fund will serve as a lasting tribute to Don and we are certain his legacy will continue to inspire our brightest Physics graduates.”

If you would like to make a gift to The Donald Kerr Scholarship in Honours Physics please do so by going here: https://donate.uwinnipeg.ca/ or by contacting Cindy Doyle at (204) 988–7509/ c.doyle@uwinnipeg.ca.