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Date: November 03, 2005

ASTRONAUT-SCIENTIST, ECO-FORESTER TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREES

Bjarni Tryggvason, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut whose research has contributed widely to space-based experiments, and Merve Wilkinson, a Ladysmith eco-forester known for his lifelong commitment to sustainable logging practices, will be granted honorary degrees during the University of Victoria’s fall convocation ceremonies, Nov. 9-10.

Tryggvason, of Vancouver, flew on the Space Shuttle mission STS-85 in 1997. He is widely respected in the international space science and engineering community for research that has advanced our understanding of micro-gravity and its effects on scientific experiments conducted in space.

With space agency colleagues, Tryggvason developed a mounting device that protects sensitive experiments from the vibrations that occur while a space vehicle is in orbit. The “microgravity-vibration isolation mount” was tested on the Mir space station and Tryggvason operated a second generation of the device during his Space Shuttle flight.

Wilkinson has owned “Wildwood,” a 55-hectare woodlot at Yellowpoint since 1938. Inspired by the Scandinavian selective logging techniques, Wilkinson embarked on a “productivist” approach to timber harvesting that emphasizes retention of forest structure and the wildlife that depends on it.

Since 1945 the pioneering environmentalist has harvested 2.1 million board feet of lumber while the standing volume has grown by 10 per cent. Over the years, the university’s environmental studies program has conducted regular field trips to see Wilkinson’s property and hear his philosophy on eco-forestry. He has been previously awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of B.C.

Tryggvason will receive his honorary Doctor of Engineering degree during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony on Nov. 10. Wilkinson’s honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be presented during the 10 a.m. ceremony, also on Nov. 10.

In total, the university will confer 1,264 degrees, diplomas and certificates during four convocation ceremonies (two ceremonies per day at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.).

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Media contacts:
Mike McNeney (Alumni Communications) at (250) 721-7642 or mmcneney@uvic.ca
University of Victoria

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