The founder of University Canada West and its first president, Dr. David Strong, received an honorary doctorate during UCW Convocation 2019.

He accepted the degree before 134 graduates at the Italian Cultural Centre.

“My message is of thanks and congratulation to everybody, to you students for all the hard work you done and your courage which is what I said to the first graduating class,” he said.

Dr. Strong is highly regarded in the fields of geochemical, petrological and Metallogenic Sciences. While he taught and has conducted his own research, Dr. Strong also worked as a consultant to numerous mining companies.

From 1970 to 1990 he held positions as professor of geology, University Research Professor, and Vice-President Academic at Memorial University of Newfoundland, during which time he was a leading researcher in metallogeny and ore genesis, publishing more than 200 scientific papers and reports and was recognized by numerous industry and academic awards.

Between 1990 to 2000, he was also the acting president and vice chancellor of the University of Victoria and was a professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

After stepping down as president of UCW in 2009, he worked extensively and succeeded in transforming the academic science publishing in Canada into a profitable business and was then appointed chair of the board of Canadian Science Publishers. During his time on the board, at no cost to taxpayers, he was able to subsidize the cost of the scientific journals which caused a massive increase in the amount of journals being published.

He also sits on the numerous boards and councils for corporations and education. Dr. Strong has earned prestigious awards and accolades such as being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Honorary Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada, Canadian Institute of Mining Distinguished Service Award, and a Steacie Memorial Fellowship.

Dr. Robert J. Rogerson, former Vice President Academic at University Canada West discussed his colleague in a recommendation letter for his nomination. He explained how Dr. Strong’s attitude and work ethic was essential to making the school what it is today.

“I am very fortunate to have known David very well for almost 50 years. Despite his great career he is personally modest and neither boastful nor self-satisfied. As a professor he was known to be relaxed and good-natured. He treated his graduate students like equals and brought out the best in them,” he said.

“Although he is best known for his laboratory discoveries, his fieldwork was exceptional and he had no problem looking at the big picture and adding to the great debates in plate tectonics and metallogeny. He loves the world of business and feels it is important for all university faculty and students to understand how business functions.”

Dr. Strong has since retired and is living in Victoria on Vancouver Island. He received honorary doctorates from Memorial University of Newfoundland and St. Francis Xavier University.