Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Eigil Dalsgaard Pedersen, an outstanding educator and university administrator, who has very close links to us at Concordia, and whose story may have special meaning for some of our graduates today.
Eigil Pedersen was a high school drop out who got a second chance at an education by attending night classes at Sir George Williams High School, while at the same time serving as an apprentice to a silversmith. With his junior matriculation certificate in hand, and three years' worth of savings from his job, he went to Macdonald College to learn to become a teacher.
Son premier poste d'enseignement, il l'a occupé à la Royal Arthur School, qui avait la réputation d'être l'une des écoles primaires les plus difficiles de Montréal. Mais "Pete" Pedersen avait lui même fréquenté cette école quand il était jeune et, pour cette raison, estimait être mieux en mesure de comprendre les enfants qu'un instituteur venu d'un milieu plus aisé. Tout en enseignant à temps plein, il a obtenu un B.A. de l'Université Sir George Williams en étudiant le soir et durant l'été, selon un emploi du temps bien familier à certains et certaines d'entre vous, j'en suis certaine.
Later in his academic career, Eigil Pedersen wrote several articles about the important influence one teacher can have on the success of hundreds of children who pass through her grade one class, and "Miss Apple Daisy", as the children called her, became famous beyond the borders of Royal Arthur School. "Pete" Pedersen was a good teacher too, and professors from the Institute of Education at Ste. Anne de Bellevue sent students to observe in his classroom and to learn from him. "Pete" Pedersen continued his studies and began a master's programme. He was invited to fill in for a year as a lecturer at Macdonald College for the munificent sum of $4,400 per annum.
The year of filling in grew to a thirty two year career at McGill University. During this time, "Pete" Pedersen taught, obtained a doctorate from Harvard University, and served in administration. Always active, "Pete" Pedersen managed to conduct qualitative research in the area of social psychology, the first in his department to use methods based on the collection of ethnographic data in naturally occurring social situations. He published extensively and was very much in demand as a speaker. He supervised many doctoral dissertations, and three of his graduate students are now professors at Concordia. He also managed to find time for a personal life: he and his wife Marge lived on a farm and brought up six children.
Aujourd'hui, M. Pedersen, après un long et fructueux parcours, boucle la boucle. Voyez à quels sommets l'a mené son premier diplôme obtenu à l'École secondaire Sir George Williams! C'est avec grande fierté que nous nous rassemblons aujourd'hui pour honorer notre éminent collègue.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Eigil Dalsgaard Pedersen, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.