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Buitenhuis, Peter

  • Person
  • 8 December 1925 - 28 November 2004

Peter Martinus Buitenhuis (1925-2004), English professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University (SFU), was a prolific scholarly writer and literary critic. His academic career—which included teaching positions at Yale University, University of Toronto, McGill University, and University of California at Berkeley—saw the production of numerous books, articles, and reviews, including works on Henry James, E.J. Pratt, and Hugh MacLennan. Buitenhuis also conducted research and wrote on various topics pertaining to propaganda and World Wars I and II.

Of Dutch ancestry, Buitenhuis was born in Ilford Essex, England on December 8, 1925. He married three times and had seven children. With his first wife, Patricia (nee White), he had three children, Paul, Penelope, and Pym; with his second wife, Elspeth Fisher (nee Cameron), he had two children, Beatrix and Hugo; and with his third wife, Ann Cowan (nee Stephenson), he had two children, Juliana and Adrian.

In December 1943, Buitenhuis left his job as a bank clerk and enlisted in the Royal Navy. From 1943-1946, he was commissioned to several different ships, including the H.M.S. Beehive, where he served as a Navigating Officer in Coastal Forces, conducting anti-submarine and minesweeping duties in the English Channel and North Sea (1944-1945). After his time on the Beehive, Buitenhuis spent a short period in the Admiralty. In 1946, he was appointed as a navigational officer on H.M.S. Starling, where he served until his release from the Navy later that year. Buitenhuis received the 1939-45 Star, the France and Germany Star, and the Victory Medal.

Buitenhuis left the Navy to attend Jesus College at Oxford University on a veteran’s grant (1946). There he earned a BA and an MA in English language and literature. In Buitenhuis’s last year of studies, a professor from the University of Oklahoma (U of O) recruited him to teach English, thus enticing Buitenhuis to immigrate to the United States.

Buitenhuis taught at the U of O until 1951, at which time he left his position in response to an investigation by an Oklahoma legislature committee. The committee was putting pressure on the university’s employees to sign a loyalty oath to the constitution of the United States and to the constitution of Oklahoma State. Buitenhuis, neither interested in staying in Oklahoma nor signing the oath, went on to Yale University to pursue a PhD in American Studies, where he wrote his thesis on Henry James. After completing his degree, Buitenhuis stayed on at Yale’s American Studies Department to teach (1955-1959).

In 1959, Buitenhuis left Yale and immigrated to Canada, after receiving an invitation from Northrop Frye—then the chairman of the English Department at Victoria College in the University of Toronto—to teach at the College. He became a Canadian citizen c.1960, while still retaining his British citizenship.

While at Victoria College, in 1963, Buitenhuis joined with fellow Americanists from other Canadian universities to form the first American Studies association in Canada, the Canadian Association of American Studies.

Buitenhuis worked at the College as an associate professor until 1966, when he took a year to teach at the University of California (Berkley) as a visiting professor. In 1967, Buitenhuis returned to Canada to take a position at McGill University in Montreal. After several years at McGill, in 1975, Buitenhuis accepted the position of Chairman of the Department of English at Simon Fraser University (1975-1981) and moved to Vancouver.

Buitenhuis remained at SFU until his retirement in 1992. In that time, he not only taught in the Department of English, but was also the Associate Director in SFU’s Centre for Canadian Studies (1987-1988). He continued to teach literature well after his retirement through SFU’s Continuing Studies Department, and was still teaching until shortly before his death. Buitenhuis passed away on November 28, 2004.

Buitenhuis remained an active scholar, book reviewer, and writer throughout his life. Included in his many literature reviews and scholarly articles are several books, including E.J. Pratt and His Works; Five American Moderns: Mary McCarthy, Stephen Crane, J.D. Salinger, Eugene O’Neill, and H.L. Mencken; The Grasping Imagination: The American Writings of Henry James; The Great War of Words: British, American, and Canadian Propaganda and Fiction, 1914-1933; and The House of Seven Gables: Severing Family and Colonial Ties. Buitenhuis also completed a manuscript just weeks before his death titled, Empires of the Mind: British Authors' Roles in World War II.

Buitenhuis’s literary and academic career brought him into contact with many well-known authors, including Margaret Atwood, Northrop Frye, Timothy Findley, Thomas Wolfe, and Scott Symons.

Johnston, Hugh

  • Person

Hugh Johnston is professor emeritus of history at Simon Fraser University, where he taught for 37 years. His book Radical Campus: Making Simon Fraser University was published to coincide with the university's 40th anniversary (2005). He joined SFU as a faculty member in 1968 and witnessed firsthand SFU's tumultuous beginnings. At various times in his career, Johnston led the History Department as chair.

Johnston grew up in south-western Ontario. He received a B.A. from the University of Toronto and attended the Ontario College of Education. Johnston went on to receive an M.A. from the University of Western Ontario and his PhD. from King's College at the University of London.

His teaching and research interests have centered on British and South Asian migration and settlement, eighteenth century exploration of the Pacific Northwest, the history of British Columbia, and higher education in Canada. Johnston is well known as an expert in Sikhism, Sikhs in Canada, and India-China relations. From 1992 to 2001 he also served on the board of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, a bi-national organization promoting scholarly exchange, and in 1995–1996 he was resident director of the institute's office in Delhi. In 2001 he was the institute's president.

During his career, Johnston wrote numerous scholarly articles and books. In 1995, with Tara Singh Bains he co-wrote The Four Quarters of the Night: The Life Journey of an Emmigrant Sikh. Other books include The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada's Colour Bar; British Immigration Policy, 1815-1830: "Shovelling out Paupers"; and the History of Perth County to 1967 (co-authored with W. Stafford Johnston).

Harrop, Ronald

  • Person

Ronald Harrop is Professor Emeritus of Computing Science and Mathematics at Simon Fraser University (SFU). He holds a B.A. (1946), M.A. (1950), and PhD. (1953) in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. He is also Honorary Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In addition, he is affiliated with SFU/TRIUMF Medical Computing Group, and he is an emeritus member of the Medical Imaging Research Group at Vancouver General Hospital.

Harrop was born in Manchester, England on May 3, 1926. He is married and has two children.

Harrop was a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle-Upon Tyne before he was appointed as the first Head of SFU's Department of Mathematics in 1965. In 1969, Harrop along with many of the original heads of departments had resigned, accepting the demands of their colleagues for a system of elected chairs that worked within a committee system.

In 1973, the university created the Department of Computing Science during a time when computing science was beginning to emerge as a new discipline. The department's first Chair, Theodor Sterling, chose not to adopt the pre-existing courses that were associated with traditional mathematics. He, along with Harrop, believed that mathematics for interdisciplinary computing science students had to be taught differently, and he persuaded Harrop to teach these new courses.

In the spirit of interdisciplinary work, Harrop continued to do research, investigation, and cooperative work in the areas of biomedical computing and medical informatics after retiring in 1991 from his regular, joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Computing Science. He held a post-retirement contract at SFU from 1991-1992.

As of 2002, Harrop's latest research focused on medical informatics, single photon emission computed tomography including medical applications of such tomography, and dosimetry in radiotherapy.

Over the years, Harrop has received many awards, citations, and honors. In Wikipedia, he is credited with introducing the Harrop formulae in 1956. The Harrop formulae is a class of statements used in intuitionistic logic. According to Wikipedia, "variations of the fundamental concept are used in different branches of constructive mathematics and logic programming."

Other honors bestowed upon Harrop include recognition as a founding member of the Institute for Health Research and Education at SFU in 2000 and recognition as a "Pioneer of Computing in Canada" by IBM Centers for Advanced Studies in October 2005.

Wilson, Lolita

  • Person

Lolita Wilson came to Simon Fraser University in August 1965 as Dean of Women and Associate Professor of Psychology. She subsequently served in a number of positions at the University including Acting Registrar, Dean of Student Affairs, and Assistant to the Vice-President, Academic. She retired from SFU in 1978.

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