Owen Beattie

April 19, 2021

Owen Beattie is a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta.

He gained international attention in 1984 for his investigation into the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin, which had left England in 1845 searching for the Northwest Passage.

Owen had just turned 17 when he entered SFU in the Fall semester of 1966. With ultimate plans of transferring to UBC to pursue a music degree, he waded and floated through a number of years of incomplete and unremarkable semesters until by chance he took Phil Hobler’s course - PSA 272 Archaeology of the Old World - in 1970. He recalls the exact moment in that course when “the light turned on”. A big part of that revelation was the influence of his TA Ann Tighe, who was instrumental in turning archaeology as a topic into a potential career. At that time the faculty of the newly evolving Department consisted of Roy Carlson and Phil Hobler. The atmosphere in the new Department was very exciting, and the attitudes and energy were highly contagious.

Completing his undergraduate degree with a major in Archaeology, he progressed on to graduate studies in the Department, spent a year as a graduate student in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anatomy, at UBC, and finally graduated in 1981. Through his undergraduate semesters he was introduced to human osteology by Herb Alexander, and then to forensic anthropology by Tom McKern. From there he benefitted from the expertise and guidance of both academic and nonacademic department staff, including Rick Percy and Ingrid Bell, as well as many other individuals, all providing the core and foundation of his real educational experiences at SFU. His mentors include Tom McKern, John D’Auria, and, foremost, Roy Carlson, who, along with his family, he describes as playing an important role in his life while at SFU (and beyond).