Dr. K. Jane Watt, the author of Surrey: A City of Stories and other books about B.C. history, has been given an honorary degree by Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Watt was a guest speaker at KPU’s fall convocation on Tuesday (Oct. 8).
“Dr. Watt has, in a brief period of time, achieved much that is outstanding in her field of local historical research,” Diane Purvey, dean in the Faculty of Arts at KPU, said in a release.
“Her inclusive histories and consultation processes for the Surrey book is a model for modern history books,” added Purvey, who nominated Watt for the honorary degree.
Released in 2017, the photo-rich Surrey: A City of Stories is a 295-page “coffee table” book created as part of the Canada 150 celebrations that year. A finalist for the B.C. Book Prize’s Roderick Haig Brown Regional Prize, the book includes 332 photos, 40 maps, 73 artifacts and 61 documents.
Watt’s other work includes books about the history of B.C.’s dairy industry and floods on the Fraser River, a biography called Places of Her Heart: The Art and Life of Barbara Boldt and a book for children titled The Boy Who Paints.
“My projects are usually about tapping into the wealth of knowledge we have close to us, especially in people and the stories they tell about their lives and the work they do,” Watt said in a KPU release.
“In terms of historical documents, people have incredible photographs, documents, fabrics, tools and collections stashed away. When they pull them out and get talking about them, magic happens.”
Meantime, at KPU’s convocation on Oct. 9, Dr. David Porter received an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Porter is an administrator who has advocated for the use of innovative technology to further education.
Also that day, KPU gave an honorary degree to Lucille Pacey, former president of Arts Umbrella, to recognize her work in education, arts and culture. Pacey helped establish two Arts Umbrella facilities in Surrey – one in Morgan Crossing and one in North Surrey – before moving on from the organization. She now volunteers for various organizations.