By: Wynne Francis, November 1966
The candidate I have the privilege to present is a man who detests privilege. In this solemn ceremony, we will honour one who is neither solemn nor ceremonious. We are about to confer a degree on a man who, though he has won many, remains unchanged and unimpressed by titles. Our eminent guest is an unconventional man. Permit me then to present him to you in an unconventional manner.
I have prepared a dossier on this candidate. The information is arranged under the following headings Name, Age, Previous Positions Held, Qualifications for this particular degree.
Name: Francis Reginald Scott. Better known to Montrealers, Canada and the world as F. R. Scott. To his friends, among whom we hope we may be permitted to number ourselves, Frank Scott.
Age: Perennially young.
Previous Positions Held: Many and various.
First: The position of humanist: He has been consistently concerned, in law and politics, with the problems of his fellow men. He has been ever solicitous of their individuality, their freedom, their security and has fought valiantly to ensure for them these rights.
Second: The position of Idealist: He has engaged in such activities not for their own sake or for the prizes they traditionally bring but because they are the mechanism through which the human condition "la condition humaine" can be improved.
Third: The position of Canadian: He has worked unceasingly to improve our National institutions. He is one of the few wise men who respect the duality, the diversity, of our culture while seeking to strengthen our unity as a nation.
Fourth: Position of Teacher: Re has spent long years in the schoolroom without becoming a pedant. He has enlivened academic knowledge by his wisdom, his eloquence and his pragmatic vision.
Finally - His Qualifications for this particular degree:
Since his youth this candidate has pursued the avocation of poetry not as a dilettante but as a practising poet. During forty years of his life he has been centrally involved in the development of poetry in Canada. With four books of his own to his credit, he has consistently encouraged the publication of literary magazines and he has edited and translated the works of many fellow poets.
In his own poems may be found the qualities which have made him great in other fields. We believe it is the poet who kept the lawyer warm and human, who made the politician both witty and wise and the educator real and relevant.
It is for this we honour him to night. Mr. Chancellor, may I present to you, that you may confer on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, the distinguished Canadian poet, Francis Reginald Scott.
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