By: Jack Bordan, June 1973
I have the honour to present to you Douglass Burns Clarke.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the granting of a charter to Sir George Williams. If we have something to be proud of over the past quarter century, and something valuable to contribute to the new university of which we shall soon be pari, much of the credit belongs to Doug Clarke. In fact, his service to Sir George antedates our charter by some sixteen years. Doug Clarke was a creator both of Sir George Williams University and of its spirit, purpose and achievements.
Doug Clarke is surely the complete Georgian. He is an alumnus, indeed one of the first class to graduate, the famed "guinea pigs". He has been associated with Sir George throughout his professional career, rising from sessional lecturer to full professor of English and Fine Arts. He has served as Registrar, Vice Principal and Acting Principal. He has spent over 40 years building Sir George Williams - from YMCA college to a major Canadian university, knowing both good times and tough ones, and he has come through unscathed. That is a tribute both to the man and to the institution he has helped to build.
Doug Clarke is a modest man, but his modesty has been founded on a strong sense of purpose, which he has conveyed over the years to both his students and his colleagues. He is a fine teacher, as generations of students will attest. The writing of English, Shakespeare, American literature, aesthetics there have been many subjects, infused with the same knowledge, understanding and sensitivity. And here I would make special reference to his personal dedication to the establishment of an outstanding Department of Fine Arts and to the inclusion in the Hall Building of the theatre which now bears his name.
I am sure I speak for all his colleagues when I say that what we have most appreciated about Doug Clarke is his humanity, his concern that we should not lose our sense of why Sir George Williams really exists, his sharp image of what is right. He has made it clear that size is not an end in itself, that Sir George is not just a university like any other, that students, day and evening, are people, not statistics. Doug Clarke has worked, and fought, for an ideal over forty years, and we are all immensely in his debt.
Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of University Council, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Douglass Burns Clarke, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
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