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Honorary degree citation - Irving Richard Tait*

By: Jack Bordan, November 1976

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you a man who for more than twenty years has been among the strongest and most effective supporters of this university, Dr. Irving Tait.

Irving Tait is one of those people who really give of themselves to a cause. He became a member of the Sir George Williams Board of Governors in 1953, and retired - to the Advisory Board - only in 1973. During his service on the Board he was chairman of the building committee for both the Norris Building and the Henry F. Hall Building, and for him the position was no sinecure. Those who worked with him will testify to his sustained personal involvement, and his gift for leadership, and to the long hours spent on the site as well as with plans and committees. His awareness that scholarship must be supported by sound operational services also guided his work for the university in many other ways.

The direction of his interest was a natural reflection of his own distinguished career. A graduate of McGill, he joined in 1919 the company that was to become CIL, rising by 1939 to the position of Chief Engineer; and he retired in 1955. He supervised the design and construction of several plants for CIL during those forty years. He also obtained for Sir George Williams, through his connections, the equipment for its first chemistry lab.

It was while he was a student that Dr. Tait first became interested in the YMCA, and he has filled many positions in the movement, including a long membership of the board of the Metropolitan YMCA. He has been a commissioner of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and a member of the Montreal City Council.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Dr. Irving Richard Tait, a distinguished Montrealer and a long time and most effective supporter of this university, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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