Honorary degree citation - Charlotte Hunter Tansey*
By: Robert Burns, June 1985
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Charlotte Hunter Tansey, rigorous scholar, innovative teacher, inspired learner.
Some persons enrich society by assuming a wide variety of endeavors and excelling in all of these; others choose - often the more arduous route - a dedication to one specific cause, and making of it a life mission. Charlotte Tansey's life dedication is adult learning.
Since 1945 she has been associated with the Thomas More Institute for Adult Education, first as a Founding Director with the late Father Eric O'Connor and others; then as Secretary, Registrar, Academic Vice¬President, and since 1981 President and Director of Studies of the Institute.
The author of numerous articles and reports on adult education, she is presently an associate member of the Association for Continuing Higher Education and a member of its corrinittee on Non Traditional Education. In 1975 the Montreal Citizenship Council granted her the Outstanding Citizen Award.
It is important to note the unique role played by the Thomas More Institute in Montreal and Quebec's educational theatre.
From the first 45 persons who in 1945 enrolled in a series of lectures by the noted philosopher Bernard Lonergan, to the more than 25,000 who in 40 years have engaged in what Charlotte Tansey calls: "Meeting in meaning - a complex and delicate matter". She describes the learning process: "There is reading - the book is the professor; there is listening to each other; there is tentative, increasingly precise interpretation of the text; there is ccmnitrnent not to be mystifying. The movement is to theory and the achievement, over time, of some objectivity. The dialectic noves between the imaginative and the intellectual, between wonder and the further question".
This trust in the imaginative as an essential part of human development has led the Institute and its President to present courses with provocative titles, and reassuring sub titles, like "Wind and Sky and Meeting" (Australian fiction and poetry); "Antipathies and Eros" (beyond the stridencies of man ran interaction); "The Whirlpool and the Spring" (what it is like, psychically, to be Indian or Chinese).
A clue to her style is indicated in the title of an address given recently: "Florida in the Winter - Is that all there is? A creative look at adult education".
In honouring Charlotte Tansey, Concordia University recognizes the achievements of a woman of learning, imagination and inspiration.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Charlotte Hunter Tansey, that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.