Public Service Excellence
On June 20, 2011, President Gary Corbett presented the Institute's 2011 Gold Medal to Dr. Ronald DePauw (RE) in recognition of his leadership in developing some of the world’s best wheat varieties, which have boosted Canada’s agricultural industry and created new markets for farmers. Dr. DePauw is a Senior Research Scientist in Wheat Breeding at Agriculture Canada’s Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC) in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and a long-time member of the Professional Institute.
President Gary Corbett presented Dr. Ronald DePauw with the Gold Medal Award.
Born in rural Saskatchewan and raised on a farm in southern Manitoba, Dr. DePauw has devoted his career to the development of safe, nutritious, environmentally friendly, and high-quality wheat food products which increase economic returns and reduce business risk for farmers. Each of the varieties of wheat, or “cultivars” developed by Dr. DePauw and his team has incorporated genetic resistance to control a multitude of diseases and insects, thereby providing higher economic yields while saving farmers and the environment from decades of exposure to harmful chemicals. His cultivars have not only steadily increased grain yields across the prairies in several wheat classes, but these yield gains have been achieved on dry land, without irrigation, which means that these cultivars are much more water-efficient than older cultivars. One variety is an excellent feed wheat, which due to its high grain yield, provides another market opportunity to farmers as a source of ethanol production.
“This Gold Medal recognizes the outstanding contribution of scientists to the Public Good.”
-Dr. Ron DePauw Gold Medal laureate
"Dr. DePauw's innovative work has changed the nature of the wheat industry in Canada and abroad."
-Gary Corbett, President
Early in his career, Dr. DePauw realized the importance of developing cultivars that “fit” the requirements of the extremely complex wheat industry, and he understood the importance of continually working closely with people and organizations representing all aspects of this $13 billion industry, from the farmers to the Canadian Wheat Board to many domestic and international customers.
Most importantly, Dr. DePauw realized that the value and benefits of new wheat cultivars developed with Canadian public funds should flow primarily to Canadian society. Dr. DePauw received the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit for his work as a public service employee.
In his remarks, President Corbett said, “Dr. DePauw is an excellent example of a scientist in the public service who has done outstanding work for the public good. His work has contributed to Canada's international reputation in agriculture, and is one of the reasons why our country maintains a competitive position in the production and use of wheat.” In all, Dr. DePauw has developed or co-developed more than 50 wheat cultivars, which have generated $8.8 million in royalties for the Canadian government. The cultivars and leadership of Dr. DePauw have also been widely recognized and acknowledged internationally. His wheat germ plasma and cultivars are used within the national grain-breeding programs of many countries. Great Britain’s largest independent baker, Warburton’s, uses specific Canada cultivars, most of which are from Dr. DePauw’s program, and for which premiums are paid to Canadian producers.
In his award acceptance speech, Dr. DePauw stated, “The PIPSC Gold Medal is very special, as it recognizes the outstanding contribution of scientists to the Public Good.... I am very pleased to accept this Gold Medal on behalf of everyone at SPARC where we act locally, but impact globally.” He paid homage to the ground-breaking work of previous Gold Medal laureates in the agriculture field. His “heroes” included the first laureate in 1937, Dr. John Craigie, a rust pathologist, who elucidated the role of sexual processes in stem rust; Dr. Thorvaldur Johnson (1962 laureate), who expanded scientists’ understanding of cereal rusts; the Winnipeg Bread Wheat Research team (1983); Dr. Keith Downey (1989), who developed canola; and Gold Medal laureates Dr. Har Gobind Khorana (Nobel prize for medicine in 1960) and Dr. Gerhard Herzberg (1969 Nobel prize for chemistry).
Dr. Tom McCaig (RE) nominated
Dr. Jeff Stewart,
Dr. Steve Morgan-Jones, Director General, Science Partnerships,
The selection panel commented, “Dr. DePauw’s outstanding work has had direct national strategic importance for agriculture, and he has effectively aligned public and private sector interests to help keep wheat production in Canada strong. His work is innovative and relevant and has resulted in numerous discoveries which have changed the nature of the wheat industry in Canada and abroad. The economic impact of his work is truly impressive and he clearly is a strong leader and mentor to his team.”
The Institute thanks the selection panel for their contribution to the 2011 Gold Medal program: Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, President of the University of Calgary; Dr. Eddy Campbell, President of the University of New Brunswick, and Dr. Alan Wildeman, President of the University of Windsor.
The Professional Institute established the Gold Medal Award program in 1937 to recognize professional public service employees whose outstanding work has led to the improvement and enhancement of public well-being in Canada and globally.
Proud PIPSC members in Swift Current share the honour of receiving the gold medal. Left to right (front row): Bill Lendrum, Hong Wang, Prairie/NWT Regional Director Bonnie Pratt, Alan Iwaasa, President Gary Corbett, Gold Medal laureate Ron DePauw, Chantal Hamel, Mike Schellenberg, Yantai Gan; (back row): Tom McCaig, Richard Cuthbert, Brian McConkey, Ron Knox, Ron Caswell, Harold Steppuhn, Danny Singh, and Bob Zentner.