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Honorary degree citation - Frances Perot Foster

By: R.P. Duder, November 1977

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Mrs. Frances Perot Foster.

In honouring Mrs. Foster today, Concordia University pays tribute to the source of its own being, the teachers in the classrooms, without whose work our own could not flourish.

This year, after an absence of thirty years, spent at war, on diplomatic missions, on Boards of Governors and at loose ends, I find myself once again in a classroom. The stresses and strains of my one course have reawakened in me my admiration for those men and women who dedicate their lives to the care and nurture of the young. In this great company, Mrs. Foster has been for thirty six academic years an outstanding leader.

As Director of the Elementary Division of St. George's School for the past fourteen years, Mrs. Foster has made that small private school a model of educational excellence and innovation, and earned for it a reputation extending far beyond the boundaries of Canada. As a St. George's parent, I am grateful to her for what she did to educate my own hostages to fortune.

Mrs. Foster has also been a wise and faithful administrator and let us not undervalue the academic administrator whose ranks most of us on this platform adorn Although I have seen Mrs. Foster at work in her school, I have also shared with her throughout many a long Thursday evening the tasks of the Board of Directors of St. George's School, of which Board I was once Vice Chairman.

For these and many other unspoken reasons, I was happy to accept the opportunity to pay warm tribute on this solemn occasion to this remarkable woman. She personifies the phrase multum in parvo, which I translate by borrowing out of context from Christopher Marlowe - as "infinite riches in a little room".

When the National Film Board made a movie of St. George's School, with the title: That Crazy School on the Hill", Mrs. Foster played an active role. The film was later widely distributed to teacher training institutions in North America.

Another of her successes was the establishing of a highly successful bilingual programme in the elementary school where, in my view, bilingualism can best begin. It is surely better to begin with children than with middle aged civil servants!

In my end is my beginning. By honouring Mrs. Foster today Concordia University performs a dignified, laudable and gracious act which brings honour to itself.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the University Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, I am honoured to present to you, Frances Perot Foster, that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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