Brandon University saddened by passing of Biology Professor Emeritus Bill Paton

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Brandon University (BU) is mourning the passing of long-time faculty member Dr. William (Bill) H.N. Paton.

Born in 1944 and raised in rural Scotland, Dr. Paton joined BU’s Department of Botany (later Biology) in 1974. He taught here for 40 years, retiring in 2014 and earning the designation of Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Paton’s extensive knowledge and willingness to help others are evident throughout Westman in gardens and yards. He was a driving force in the establishment of the long-running HortLine, which was launched in 1976 and developed into a popular call-in show at radio station CKLQ. Dr. Paton continued to provide free horticultural advice to people from around the region throughout his life.

“Dr. Paton became the best-known face and voice of the Faculty of Science and Brandon University,” said Dr. Austin Gulliver, Acting Dean of Science at BU. “Bill is remembered fondly by his many students and colleagues for the multitude of contributions he made to their lives and careers. We have lost a great friend, colleague and advocate.”

Dr. Paton was also very active in the Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA), serving on its executive and negotiating teams, and representing BUFA in the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations.

“Beyond his devotion to teaching and research was his passion for service,” said Dr. Doug Ramsey, Chair of the Department of Rural Development and President of BUFA. “Bill was ever-present, whether it was running the Hort Line, raising his concerns about water quality or post-secondary funding issues, or simply advocating on behalf of students and faculty.”

This spring, he provided assistance to Green Futures BU in its project to plant community gardens at BU that will benefit students and low-income families.

To honour Dr. Paton and recognize his contributions to the University, BU will lower its flag to half-mast.


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