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University of Saskatchewan historian awarded Royal Society of Canada medal

Bill Waiser, a former U of S faculty member, has been awarded the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal by the Royal Society of Canada.
Bill Waiser, a former U of S faculty member, has been awarded the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal by the Royal Society of Canada. University of Saskatchewan / Supplied

Bill Waiser, of Saskatoon, has been awarded the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal for outstanding work in the field of Canadian history.

The medal will be presented to the author at a ceremony in Halifax, N.S., on Nov. 17.

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He is also the second University of Saskatchewan (U of S) historian to be recognized by the Royal Society of Canada with the medal. The first U of S recipient was A.S. Morton, who was honoured in 1941.

The connection to Morton is highly meaningful to Waiser, who served as the A.S. Morton Research Chair at the U of S during his tenure as a faculty member. Additionally, both served as heads of the history department before retiring.

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“Arthur Morton won it nearly 80 years ago for his work on western Canadian history, and I’m following in his footsteps, so it’s very special to me,” Waiser said in a press release.

“I had a wonderful career at the University of Saskatchewan and I had tremendous opportunities there … This medal is just the icing on the cake. I am thankful and very grateful.”

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Waiser has authored several books including A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction in 2016.

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Governor General award-winning author Bill Waiser

Waiser seeks to provide a better understanding and appreciation of Canadian history, and is particularly concerned with taking Saskatchewan’s story to a wider audience.

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“His passion for storytelling and dedication to providing a better understanding and appreciation of Canadian history—particularly the leading role played by Indigenous peoples—makes him a worthy recipient of this distinguished honour,” U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad said in a press release.

Waiser was named a member of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, in 2017.