Prestigious Honour: Two University of Regina scholars named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

By Katherine Cormack Posted: September 11, 2018 9:15 a.m.

Dr. Raymond Blake (left), historian, and Dr. Peter Leavitt (right), environmental biologist, receive highest honour Canadian scholars can achieve in the arts, humanities, and sciences
Dr. Raymond Blake (left), historian, and Dr. Peter Leavitt (right), environmental biologist, receive highest honour Canadian scholars can achieve in the arts, humanities, and sciences Peter Leavitt: Courtesy of Don Hall; Raymond Blake: UR Photography

University of Regina historian Raymond Blake and environmental biologist Peter Leavitt have been elected to the prestigious Royal Society of Canada (RSC). They join more than 3,700 distinguished Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists from all branches of learning who have made remarkable contributions in the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as in Canadian public life since the first society meeting in 1882.

 “Our vision of generating meaningful, high-impact scholarship and research, as well as developing truly global citizens is brought to life by extraordinary people such as Dr. Blake and Dr. Leavitt. I congratulate them both for their individual contributions to the ‘promotion of knowledge and understanding for the benefit of all,’” says Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at the University of Regina.

Raymond B. Blake’s innovative historical research has opened up new ways of thinking about Canada. His scholarship on federalism, social welfare, and national identity has demonstrated that public policy is shaped by the demands of all people to participate equitably in Canada’s social and economic citizenship. He is the author and editor of more than 20 books (including several acclaimed monographs) explaining how citizenship has been a powerful force in either creating political crises or solving them. Dr. Blake is a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts at the U of R and has just completed a five-year term as head of the Department of History. A new book, Where Once They Stood: Newfoundland’s Rocky Road to Confederation (University of Regina Press), is forthcoming in early 2019.

“It’s pretty exciting to have my research recognized by my peers from across Canada,” says Dr. Blake. “It really is quite an honour, too, to be named to the Royal Society, especially given that I really love what I do and that I get to work with some great colleagues and wonderful students here at the University of Regina.”

Peter Leavitt has advanced our understanding of how climate change and human activities interact to degrade Canada’s surface waters. A global pioneer in the field of paleolimnology, Leavitt has investigated how lakes are impacted by global warming, hydrological variability and societal development associated with food production, resource extraction and urbanization. By combining whole-lake studies with innovative fossil analyses, Leavitt’s research has led to improved strategies to protect aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Leavitt is a Professor in the Faculty of Science, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and Society, Director of the U of R’s Institute of Environmental Change and Society (IECS), and recently completed six years as Director of the Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution.

“I’m thrilled to bits to be selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society–this is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event! I am particularly proud of all the people who have been in my laboratory, as it is because of them that we’ve helped advance lake biology and protect the surface waters of Saskatchewan, Canada, and beyond,” says Dr. Leavitt.

The complete Royal Society of Canada Class of 2018 listing can be found here.

For more on Dr. Blake’s work, visit:

For more on Dr. Leavitt’s work, visit: Information on IECS is available here.