Two celebrated scholars from Waterloo’s Department of History were recently named to the Order of Canada, which recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 113 new appointments to the Order of Canada, which has three levels: Companion, Officer and Member.
James (Jim) W. St. G. Walker is an expert in human rights and race relations in Canada. He was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his influential scholarship that has shed light on the contributions of Black Canadians to the development of the country. Professor Walker created the first courses in African-Canadian history at any Canadian university.
"Jim Walker’s work examining the critical importance of human rights and racial equality is far-reaching and has the potential to make positive change around the world,’’ said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo.
Professor Walker has earned numerous distinctions and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a former Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research. He has published several works related to the historical development of human rights.
John English, distinguished professor emeritus, was promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions as a historian, author and administrator whose contributions have increased our knowledge of Canada’s political heritage.
“John English is a recognized historian whose work both illuminates our past and informs our future. The University is pleased and proud to congratulate both of these professors from the Faculty of Arts on this honour," said President Hamdullahpur.
Among other honours, Professor English is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was a Senior Killam Fellow. He has written several books, including biographies of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, and other works on Canada in the 20th century.
UWaterloo History is especially well represented in this latest Order of Canada announcement. Joe Mancini, MA History ’82 and BA History ‘81, is among the new members along with his partner Stephanie Mancini, BA English '82. "I was one of Joe's professors, and on the committee for his MA thesis," said Professor Walker. "His daughter, a generation later, also took classes with me." The Mancinis founded Kitchener's Working Centre and are recognized for their commitment to the homeless and marginalized of Waterloo region.
An insignia ceremony for Order of Canada recipients will take place at Rideau Hall within the next year.