Respected, long-serving history professor to receive Honorary Degree

By Greg Campbell Posted: October 18, 2018 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Ray Cleveland will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the 45th annual Fall Convocation on October 19.
Dr. Ray Cleveland will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the 45th annual Fall Convocation on October 19. U of R Photography

At the 45th annual Fall Convocation being held at the Conexus Arts Centre on October 19 at 2:00 p.m., Dr. Ray Cleveland is receiving the University of Regina’s highest honour – an honorary degree for his life-long dedication to education.

Cleveland was born in Nebraska and later moved to California. He graduated from Westmont College with a BA. Later, he received his MA and PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. As a graduate student, his educational experience was enhanced by working as secretarial assistant to W. F. Albright, one of the most influential biblical archaeologists of the 20th century.

He worked on several archaeological excavations including a most notable at Jericho under the leadership of Dame Kathleen Kenyon, one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century. He also worked extensively with expedition leader and the founder of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, Wendel Phillips. Cleveland served as a researcher and editor on Phillips’ books Oman: A History and Unknown Oman.

Cleveland came to Regina in the mid-‘60s and for 27 years was one of the most respected teachers in the History Department. Cleveland introduced and taught courses on ancient history, modern Middle East and the history of Islam. He was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in the mid-‘90s. Cleveland donated hundreds of scholarly books and journals to the Dr. John Archer Library. A former student recalls the collection on ancient history was largely made up of Cleveland’s donations. He was also an active academic publisher. His scholarly writing included book reviews, articles and contributions to numerous books. His books, The Middle East and South Asia, 1967, and later, The Middle East and South Asia 1988, were published in 21 annually revised editions.

He is recognized internationally as an expert on the history of Palestine and continued to publish on the subject long after retirement. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of the Pacific in 1970. 

For decades, Cleveland has taught older adults at the University’s Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC).  His courses have covered such topics as ancient history, the modern Middle East, and archaeological research on ancient cultures. Today, students in his LLC classroom remain as engaged with the gifted educator as were his students in the mid-‘60s.