The Trent University Alumni Association has presented Dr. Douglas Stenton ‘80 with the Distinguished Alumni Award at a special ceremony in Toronto. The award recognizes Dr. Stenton’s leadership in helping preserve the cultural legacy of Canada’s North, particularly his contributions to the “discovery of the century” as part of the team that found the underwater shipwreck of the 1845 Franklin Expedition HMS Erebus.
"I am very honoured to receive the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from Trent University,” said Professor Stenton. “My experience at Trent played an integral role in preparing me for my career in what is now Nunavut, and I am deeply grateful for the support of my family, and to the generosity of colleagues for their invaluable contributions to what has been an exceptionally rewarding career."
“It is an honour to recognize his life-long commitment and leadership in the preservation of the cultural legacy of Canada’s North,” said Lee Hays, director of Alumni Engagement and Services.
A leading expert on the Eastern Canadian Arctic
Prof. Stenton has directed archaeological research and training in the Eastern Canadian Arctic since 1980. His research has focused on settlement-subsistence systems of the late prehistoric (Thule) period and, most recently, on the investigation of archaeological sites associated with the Franklin Expedition.
Since 2007, Prof. Stenton has planned and personally led the Government of Nunavut’s participation in the search for the Franklin Expedition, coordinating its partnership with Parks Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, the Arctic Research Foundation, and other partners. Based on Inuit accounts recorded more than a century ago of visiting one of Franklin’s abandon ships, Prof. Stenton conducted land surveys over five summers looking for archeological evidence that could potentially yield clues to the ship’s final resting place. His efforts were rewarded on September 1, 2014, when parts of a British Royal Navy ship were found. The next morning, Parks Canada shifted their underwater search and within hours located the wreck of the Erebus.
Prof. Stenton has received a number of awards for his accomplishments including being recently appointed to the Order of Canada. He has also received the Polar Medal, and the Erebus Medal, awarded by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to honour his contribution to finding the Franklin vessel.