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Honorary degree citation - Peter A. Vamos

By: Peter Howlett, June 1995

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Peter Vamos whose contribution in the field of addictions has been so important. The problem of addiction is a world-wide concern preoccupying countries and all leading international institutions.

Mr. Vamos' curriculum vitae presents a portrait of a man whose education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, at Sir George Williams University in 1968, a Master's in Psychology from the University of New Brunswick in 1971, a Master's of Education in Counselling Psychology from McGill University in 1973, and completing doctoral studies in the same field in 1981. Peter Vamos has served as Executive Director of The Portage Program for the last sixteen years. During that period, he has designed programs, chaired conferences, edited books, served on international panels, commissions and boards, and published valuable research, written widely and contributed to an extensive range of publications.

Peter Vamos a énormément contribué à apporter des solutions au problème de la toxicomanie tant chez nous qu'à l'étranger. Le Canada lui doit beaucoup en ce sens. En particulier, c'est sous son impulsion que Portage a pris un tel essor et qu'il est maintenant reconnu dans le monde entier. Cet homme novateur possède des admirateurs et des émules aux Etats-Unis, en Europe, en Asie et dans les Antilles.

The work Peter Vamos has initiated to help members of the general population, both adolescent and adult, and to special groups such as prisoners, addicts with small children and natives has been truly extraordinary. Portage, under his guidance, has, and is addressing, the needs of those for whom there is little or no alternative. Mr. Vamos maintains an inspirational direction over a large Portage team which has been moulded over time by him into the finest group of interventionists in the field. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Mr. Vamos is that while making these contributions, he has never failed to provide his personal time and effort when asked to help in individual cases.

The problem of addiction is an extremely serious one for Canada -- one which receives too little attention. It was not long ago that the most commonly held professional opinion was that there was little one could do when confronted with serious addiction. Canada is fortunate to have as one of its own an individual who has helped change that belief and who has, through force of personality and dedication to the plight of individuals, affected the well-being of thousands.

The granting of an honourary degree is an act which serves to provide the community with an example of achievement against which to measure ourselves and as an illustration to graduates of how, with effort and dedication, with adherence to principle and ambition to serve, they can conduct their lives. The University pays special heed in choosing members of society for this recognition. Mr. Vamos is an example we should all follow.

Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Peter Vamos, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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