Campus Life

Painting pays tribute to Dr. Leroy Little Bear

Dr. Maria Klawe, who received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Lethbridge earlier this year, was inspired to put brush to paper after she met Dr. Leroy Little Bear (BASc (BA) '72, DASc '04) at this spring’s convocation ceremonies.

“I was deeply impressed by Leroy and I loved the integration of historic symbols and language from his tribe in the convocation ceremony,” says Klawe. “I wanted to do a painting as a way of expressing my appreciation.”

The now-completed painting has been framed and will soon be installed in Iikaisskini (Low Horn) Gathering Place, which was named after Little Bear and opened in 2014. Little Bear, Distinguished Niitsitapi Scholar, special advisor to U of L President Dr. Mike Mahon on Aboriginal matters and professor emeritus, was delighted when he learned about the painting.

“I didn’t know how it was going to turn out but when I saw it, I thought it looks fantastic. She did a very good job,” says Little Bear. “I’m very pleased with it and she kept my character.”

Klawe, who is president of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, has been painting watercolours since 1972 and her first two paintings were of Alberta wheat fields. An accomplished computer scientist, Klawe obtained a BSc in mathematics at the University of Alberta in 1973 and a PhD in mathematics in 1977. She’s been an avid researcher who’s published on topics such as theoretical computer science and mathematics, the use of games in education and promoting women to enter computer science.