George Dixon, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1989


George Dixon has been a member of the biology department at Waterloo since 1981. He is a toxicologist, primarily interested in the impacts of toxic substances in the fresh-water environment. Students have been quick to recognize the importance of this subject in the modern world, and George's courses at the third-and-fourth-year, and graduate levels, have consistently been among the most avidly sought courses in biology. To these courses George has brought a nationally and internationally acclaimed reputation. His research laboratory is among the most active in the department; at the same time he has consistently borne a very heavy administrative load. The nomination file for George Dixon is replete with letters and testimonials from students. Across the many submissions, there is a consistent theme of an approachable, caring, highly organized, up-to-date teacher with a knack for making his subject relevant, fascinating, and rigorous, all at the same time. Some quotations from former students illustrate the impact George Dixon has had on his students: “George is inspirational! I found his lectures topical, informative, and truly interesting. His enthusiasm for his work sparked my own.” “Throughout my career at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Dixon showed me an unusual degree of patience, understanding, and encouragement, particularly at times when I needed it most: a failed experiment, disappointment in a low mark or an important career decision. In no small way were these qualities responsible for me succeeding in both my undergraduate and graduate program and, ultimately, in my career.”