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Rowland Smith was a McCulloch Professor of English at Dalhousie University. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1938. He earned his BA at the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and returned to Natal to obtain his PhD. In 1967 he and moved to Halifax with his wife Ann to take up a teaching position at Dalhousie, later serving as acting Dean of Arts and Science. He was the author of the Smith Report, a recommendation for splitting the faculty of arts and science into two entities, which happened in 1987. In 1994 he was appointed Vice President, Academic at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he remained until 1994, when he left top take up a final appointment at the University of Calgary as Dean of Humanities.
Smith published and lectured extensively on modern British and post-colonial literature in English. In addition to his scholarly activities, he was a director of Opera Ontario, a regional judge for the Commonwealth Writers' prize, and a member of the Book Prize jury for the Canadian Federation for the Humanities. He also served as a governor of the Neptune Theatre foundation and as director of the Nova Scotia Rugby Football Union, being an avid rugby player himself. His other great love was music, and he was a member of Calgary's Opera's Impresario Circle. He died in 2008.