Geology professor receives highest honour

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 26, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(l-r) Dr. Tony Cadrin, Past President of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG), Dr. Donald Kent, professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Dr. Gerry Reinson, senior member of the CSPG.
(l-r) Dr. Tony Cadrin, Past President of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG), Dr. Donald Kent, professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Dr. Gerry Reinson, senior member of the CSPG. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Bronstad.

Dr. Donald Kent, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geology, has received the highest honour from the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.

Kent was presented with the 2015 RJW Douglas Medal at a special ceremony held at the Saskatchewan Geological Association’s Annual General Meeting in Regina, February 6.

The medal is awarded annually to one person for outstanding contributions to the understanding of sedimentary geology in Canada, commending major contributions to regional tectonics, petroleum and structural geology.

“The immense contributions that Dr. Kent has made to sedimentary geology in the Williston Basin in Saskatchewan cannot be overstated," says Dr. Hairuo Qing, professor in Geology. “His ground breaking research and his knowledge have brought him well deserved recognition in Saskatchewan, across Canada and internationally. In addition to his consulting service to numerous oil companies, Dr. Kent continues to be a valued member of our faculty. He has served and continues to serve as a mentor to our faculty members and our students.”

Kent graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in geological engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and earned a PhD at the University of Alberta. He joined the Saskatchewan Department of Mineral Resources in 1958 as a junior research geologist.

He went on to an impressive career at the department before joining the University of Regina as an associate professor in 1971 and eventually becoming a full professor.

His research has made a difference, particularly in the area of oil discoveries in Saskatchewan.

In giving Kent the award, Dr. Gerry Reinson, representing the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists said, “it is difficult to quantify the impact of Don Kent’s voluminous contributions to our understanding of the sedimentary, structural, and petroleum geology of Canada, particularly Western Canada and the Williston Basin.”

His reports “provided the ground-work upon which much of the petroleum exploration in Saskatchewan was based.”    

Kent has earned national and international recognition for his outstanding career.

In 2004, he became one of the first inductees to the Honour Roll of the Saskatchewan Geological Society. As a long-standing member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geologists of Saskatchewan, he received the Distinguished Service award for professional contributions to that organization.
“Dr. Kent’s legacy is well reflected in the Department of Geology,” says Dr. Guoxiang Chi, head of the Department of Geology. “The Geology Undergraduate Student Society is sponsored by and named the “D.M. Kent Club”, and there are two awards named after him: the D.M. Kent Consulting Geologist Ltd. Scholarship in Sedimentary Geology, and the D.M. Kent Geology Student Travel Award.”

Dr. Kent lives in Regina and runs his own consulting business.

He still comes to campus to attend Department meetings and to give guest lectures in undergraduate and graduate courses. His expertise is still sought by staff and students.

His greatest contribution however, is the fruitful relationship he has had with all who worked with him which was recognized the evening he was given the award.

As stated at the award presentation program, “Don also served as a formal supervisor and as an informal mentor for numerous geology graduates who are successfully contributing to industry and society today. In short, he becomes a friend and sage to all who come in contact with him.”

The R.J.W. Douglas Medal is open to all geologists who follow the example of Douglas in contributing to the development of Canadian sedimentary, petroleum and structural geology.

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