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Saturday October 17, 2015

Ronald Lampman Watts C. C.
15th Principal of Queen's University

Ronald Lampman Watts, born March 10, 1929, in Karuizawa, Japan; died October 9, 2015, in Kingston, Ontario. Born to Canadian Anglican missionary parents in Japan, Principal Emeritus Watts of Queen's University commenced his education in that country, subsequently moving to Trinity College School in Port Hope and then Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Receiving a Rhodes Scholarship in 1952, he continued his studies at Oriel and Nuffield Colleges at Oxford University, from which he received a B.A. (1954) and a D.Phil. (1963) in Political Studies. He and Donna Paisley married in 1954, establishing a lifelong partnership that sustained their extensive educational, scholarly and policy-oriented activities.

Dr. Watts's career at Queen's University began in 1955, when he joined the faculty in the Department of Philosophy, moving six years later to Political Studies. Shortly thereafter, he became first an Assistant Dean and then Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and then, from 1974 to 1984, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. While in Political Studies, he pioneered the study of British Dominions and emerged as a leading international scholar of federalism, playing decisive roles throughout the world in organizations concerned with intergovernmental relations. In 1989 he assumed the Directorship of the Queen's Institute of Intergovernmental Relations and, as a Fellow, has been continuously involved with the Institute since then. His expertise was enlisted at the highest levels by Canadian federal and provincial governments and by a multiplicity of countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Yugoslavia, Pakistan and India. He served as a member of the Pepin-Robarts Committee on Canada's Future and as an advisor to Premier Peterson on the Meech Lake Accord. There was, however, a lighter side to Ron Watts: he had a lifelong interest in and an encyclopaedic knowledge of aviation and aviation history and was a fiercely competitive sailor who competed with considerable success at national and international levels. Perhaps most importantly, he was a wonderfully kind and helpful mentor to numerous young scholars.

A prolific and respected scholar, his immense contributions both to academe and society at large were recognized by the receipt of five honorary degrees, by his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979, followed by his promotion to Companion in 2000 and by his Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Watts survived by his loving wife, Donna (nee Paisley); brother of Hugh (Sharon); sisters, Barbara Sibbald (John), Margaret Webb (Stephen); brother-in-law, Hugh (Joan) and sister-in-law, Arden Collins (Alex), Judith Paisley and Carol Paisley. He will be missed by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Predeceased by his parents, Bishop Horace and Ruth Watts; sister, Alison Watts; brothers-in-law, Ian and Keith Paisley.

A memorial service to celebrate Dr. Watt's life will be held at Grant Hall, Queen's University on Friday, October 30, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. Reception to follow. Private interment will take place at Cataraqui Cemetery. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the JA Corry Memorial fund (Intergovernmental Relations) at Queen's University, in memory of Ronald, would be appreciated by the family. Secure online gifts can be made by visiting A cheque payable to Queen's University, with 'Ronald Watts' in the memo field, can be mailed to Queen's University, Advancement Gift Services, Old Medical Building, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6. Arrangements entrusted to Robert J. Reid & Sons, 'The Chapel on the Corner,' 309 Johnson Street, Kingston 613-548-7973.

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