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Trent Professor Wins Peter Robinson Award

Dr. Donald Mackay Dr. Donald Mackay, Professor Emeritus, has received the City of Peterborough's Peter Robinson Award.

The award, initiated by Mayor Sylvia Sutherland to recognize citizens' outstanding local, national or international achievements, was presented to Prof. Mackay during a ceremony at Showplace Peterborough Thursday, September 15.

Dr. Thomas Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus, introduced Prof. Mackay and provided a glowing commentary about his academic career.

Prof. Mackay said he was honoured to win the Peter Robinson Award.

"It's a very gratifying experience to receive an award from the community," he said. "It is distinct from being recognized by a professional society. To be recognized along with an athlete, an author, an architect, a social activist and a business man is particularly delightful."

Former NHL player Bob Gainey, Research in Motion's Jim Balsillie, architect Eb Zeidler, author Julie Johnston and activist Lois Harte-Maxwell were also presented with the Peter Robinson Award at the ceremony.

Prof. Mackay added that he was pleased to see the Peterborough community's awareness and appreciation of the Environmental and Resource Studies program at Trent.

The aim of Prof. Mackay's research is to contribute to "green chemistry" or eco-chemistry through the improved design and use of chemicals of commerce in which environmental issues are more fully evaluated. This allows society to enjoy the benefits of modern chemistry without risking problems of chemical pollution and toxicity.

Prof. Mackay has gained a world-wide reputation among scholars for enhancing the understanding of the behaviour and effects of oil spills and has developed an innovative system to predict the fate and effects of chemicals in the environment.

These "Mackay models" are used as a basis of regulatory and environmental policy decisions around the world.

Prof. Mackay has won a number of prestigious awards including:

  • the Mellanby Review Award for his work in environmental pollution (2000)
  • the Honda Prize for his work in eco-technology (2001)
  • the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Award of Excellence (2001)
  • a finalist for the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering (2001)
  • appointed to the Order of Canada (2004)

Prof. Mackay came to Trent in 1995 after 28 years as a member of the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He is the founding director of the Canadian Environmental Modelling Centre (CEMC) at Trent.

He retired as full-time faculty member from Environmental and Resource Studies and Chemistry in July 2002 but continues his research and supervision of graduate students, as director of CEMC.

Photo: Dr. Donald Mackay working with one of his students.

Posted September 16, 2005




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