By: Nicholas Serpone, June 1988
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Ronald James Gillespie, a scholar whose contributions to the fields of organic chemistry and chemical education have gained him the profound respect of an international community of scientists.
Born and educated in Great Britain, Dr. Gillespie received a Ph.D. and the prestigious D.Sc. from the University of London. After teaching at University College, London, for eight years, he came to Canada in 1958 to begin his long and distinguished tenure as a member of the Department of Chemistry at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dr. Gillespie is a prolific researcher who has published more than 300 articles and two books that document the significant advances he has made in any number of aspects of inorganic chemistry, including the chemistry of strong acids and superacids, the VSEPR theory of electron pair repulsions, fluorine chemistry and incommensurate linear chain mercury compounds. The quality of this scientific work has been recognized by twenty major awards, the most recent being the 1987 Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Prize for lifetime achievement in the pure sciences.
Dr. Gillespie has carried his research expertise to universities in France, Switzerland, West Germany, Australia, New Zealand and India. At each of these he has been regarded not only as a stimulating colleague, but also as an outstanding lecturer. His commitment to effective teaching has been acknowledged by two important awards, the 1972 College Chemistry Teacher Award granted by the Manufacturing Chemists Association and the 1976 Union Carbide Award for Chemical Education granted by the Chemical Institute of Canada.
In honouring Dr. Gillespie, Concordia University thus seeks to pay hommage to an academic whose professional career has demonstrated that teaching and research are partners that can be brought together in a mutually enhancing relationship of the highest order.
Mr. Chancellor, it is therefore a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Ronald James Gillespie, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
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