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Honorary degree citation - John Hastings Dinsmore

By: George W. Joly, June 1978

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you John Hastings Dinsmore.

He is a citizen.

"Citizen" has been a title of honour for centuries. When a Roman declared "I am a Roman citizen", his listeners understood clearly that he was claiming to be, with others who said the same thing, the state itself. It was he, the speaker, not the emperor, not the government, who made visible to others what the country was - what Rome was. If you look at Mr. Dinsmore you will see what Canada is. Let me describe to you what I am seeing.

One who regards himself as the State itself, must be seen to be looking after the general welfare of others. So I recall to you that Mr. Dinsmore has looked after Education in Quebec as Associate Deputy Minister. After that, he looked to the concern of others in Industry and Commerce as Assistant Deputy Minister. In fact, he has participated in the governance of Quebec since 1970 until just recently when he was asked to become the chairman and chief executive officer of one of the largest shipbuilding companies in Canada, Marine Industrie Limitée.

His family roots go deep into what is, or at least was, the heartland of Canada, Quebec and Ontario. His concept of Canada is astounding. He told me that at age 15, when his parents moved from Toronto to Montreal, the principal at Westmount High where he was to continue school, was skeptical of the amount of French he had learned at the private High School he had attended in Toronto. So, Mr. Dinsmore, assuming that all Quebecers were fully bilingual, spent his first summer in Quebec perfecting his French.

Mr. Dinsmore is an engineer. As you graduates today have done in Concordia, he had to prepare himself technically. This he did at McGill where he graduated in Honours Electrical. But as you graduates know, the essence of an engineer is his professional qualifications. Here are Mr. Dinsmore's.

1966 President of the Order of Engineers of Quebec, the body governing practice in this province.

1969/72 President of the Canadian Council of Engineers, and later of the Engineering Institute of Canada, the two bodies which between them govern engineering in Canada.

In sum, if Mr. Dinsmore were, by the functioning of some time travel machine carried back to the Rome of Caesar Augustus, people would point to him and say


Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Council, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, John Hastings Dinsmore, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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