Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, invested 39 people into the Order of Canada. Among those people is UBC Psychology Emeritus Professor Dr. Peter Suedfeld. Dr. Suedfeld was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking research on the psychological impacts of extreme environments.
The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest civilian honours. Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Close to 7 500 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order. Those who bear the Order’s iconic snowflake insignia have changed our nation’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada.
“The Order of Canada recognizes its recipients’ efforts to improve people’s lives. Receiving the honour has led me to realize how far from my laboratory (but not from research) I had wandered, how happy I have been studying so many seemingly, but not really, unconnected places and issues, and how useful to other people my frequently unorthodox conclusions and recommendations have turned out to be.”
Citation by the Governor General’s Office
Peter Suedfeld’s ground-breaking research expands our notions of resilience and transcends academic fields. Professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a prolific writer, he is internationally acclaimed for documenting previously ignored positive psychological and physical effects of extreme and challenging environments. His work has taken a critical look at the impacts on humans experiencing polar isolation, space exploration, sensory deprivation, decision-making during international crises, and such traumatic experiences as genocide. He is highly regarded both as a mentor and active member of his community.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Suedfeld on this extraordinary honour!
Dr. Peter Suedfeld was born in Hungary and immigrated to the United States after World War II. After service in the US Army, he received his BA from Queens College of the City University of New York, and his MA and PhD in experimental psychology from Princeton University. He taught at the University of Illinois and Rutgers University prior to joining the University of British Columbia in 1972 as head of the Department of Psychology. He later became Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and now holds Emeritus status.
Suedfeld is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. He is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Fellow International of the Explorers Club, and the only psychologist elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He was also awarded the Lawrence J. Burpee Gold Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He has received the Canadian Psychological Association’s (CPA) Donald O. Hebb Award, its highest award for distinguished scientific contributions, as well as the CPA Gold Medal for distinguished and enduring lifetime contributions to Canadian psychology and its Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology.
His awards also include the Canadian Polar Medal, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the highest award for scientific contributions from the International Society of Political Psychology, the Antarctica Service Medal of the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the Zachor Award of the Parliament of Canada for contributions by Holocaust survivors to Canadian society. He has chaired the Canadian Antarctic Research Program and the Life Sciences Advisory Committee of the Canadian Space Agency.