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Honorary degree citation - H.J. Barrington Nevitt*

By: Dennis Murphy, June 1984

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you H.J. Barrington Nevitt - international telecommunications engineer, communication philosopher, scientist and humanist. Long involved in research, development, manufacture and marketing of international telecommunications systems, he is also an explorer in the comprehensive awareness of human communication.

Barrington Nevitt is truly a model for our own commitment to life-long learning - a pursuit for which each of us has to dedicate himself here, at the threshold of the 21st century. He is constantly referred to in business, academic and government circles as a creative and stimulating blend of the humanities and the sciences. His knowledge of telecommunications technology has continued to deepen through the design, operation and management of projects from Eastern Europe to Western China and throughout the Americas from Northern Canada to Southern Argentina. Barrington Nevitt was one of Marshall McLuhan's closest associates at the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto from 1964 to 1980. He has published numerous articles and books on the subject of psychic and social effects of media including his most recent book entitled The Communication Ecology.

It is fitting, Mr. Chancellor, as we prepare to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of Concordia, that we honour Barry Nevitt, for he is a living symbol of the interests and strengths of this university. In 1943, after completing his Masters of Engineering in Telecommunications at McGill University, he was invited by Henry Hall, then Dean of Sir George Williams College, to offer the first course in the history and philosophy of science ever given in Canada. Since 1980, Mr. Nevitt has been an invited lecturer in the Communication Studies Department on a yearly basis. Thus he personafies the relationship of the science and the humanities - the two divisions of the Faculty of Arts and Science which meet here today for graduation.

I would like to end with a brief testimonial given by Eric Wesselow, internationally renowned portrait artist and holder of major patents in the design of stained glass art. He has said the following of Barrington Nevitt, and I quote: 'His contributions in many different fields ... have made him a man of world stature. Amongst those responsibly concerned with our future, anxious to better sense the frequency of waves to come, his influence is bound to steadily increase past this century".

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 H.J. Barrington Nevitt, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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