Concordia University

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Honorary degree citation - John R. Hannan*

By: William O. Gilsdorf, June 1982

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you the Honourable Mr. Justice John R. Hannan, Lawyer and Judge of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec, a distinguished former member of the Board of Governors for this University who has worked extensively for its evolution within Quebec society.

As a graduate of Sir George Williams with both a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Arts degree, he was Valedictorian for the Class of 1953. In his valedictory address he stated:

We came to college to serve a selfish purpose, and we learned that the basis of intelligence and education is unselfishness... Our aims and goals are personal in their direction, but they are social in their intention. The success we hope to savor will be measured in terms of the contributions we make, both to ourselves and to our fellow man. We intend to contribute much.

And contribute much he has - to the lifeblood of this University and to the greater dynamic of the society of a changing Quebec. In the almost thirty years since he uttered those words at a ceremony much like this one, he has modeled the unselfishness and integrity about which he spoke. In his personal life and in his public life he has shown a special concern for strengthening self and the institutions upon which a society is built.

As a former Director of the Alumni Association for Sir George Williams and a member of the Board of Governors for more than ten years, he has been instrumental in the development of Concordia University. His energy and his counsel facilitated the difficult, but successful, merger of the two founding traditions of Loyola and Sir George, upon which this vital institution has been built. As the Board's representative for student life, John Hannan did not forget his own active years as a student, giving time, energy and a special sensitivity to the problems of students and to the creation of a quality of life necessary to better learning. He has served on both the Sir George and the Concordia Councils on Student Life. It was the Hannan Committee that drew up the blueprint for the re-organization of the Student Services from the two campuses. His advice and counsel facilitated the flourishing of various student associations.

Within the province of Quebec he has been a model for the legal profession. Many years of effort have gone into a variety of committees to build strong Bar Associations for both Montreal and the Province of Quebec. His practice has taken him before most of the courts and regulatory commissions of this country, including the Supreme Court of Canada. For his work he has been honoured through elevation to the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec where his work, in his short time there, has already earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and those expecting justice, before our courts. Active within his church, his university and his profession, John Hannan has been an important example to those of us who are anglophone, of the involved way to participate in a vital and multi-cultural French Quebec. To paraphrase his own words, "he has contributed much".

Mr. Chancellor, it is a distinct honour and privilege for me, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, to present to you the Honourable Justice John R. Hannan, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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