Honorary degree citation - Clark Blaise
By: Josip Novakovich, November 2013
Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Clark Blaise, teacher, literary-arts advocate and award-winner author.
Clark Blaise has played a significant role in the development of creative writing programs at Concordia University and across North America. Born in the United States to Canadian parents, Blaise earned an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1964. Soon after he joined Concordia (then Sir George Williams) where he founded the Creative Writing Program. Au cours des dix années suivantes, à titre de professeur et de directeur de programme, il a influencé de nombreux jeunes écrivains, dont beaucoup ont ensuite fait leur marque dans le monde des lettres et de l’éducation.
Issues of Canadian identity have been central to Clark Blaise’s work – in his words, “Nearly everything I’ve written touches on that notion that Canada is a distinct society with a distinct history and tastes, and great accomplishments.” His fiction explores the complex conditions of displacement, and alienation, with characters navigating in a foreign culture and place.
His many previous tributes include an Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy in 2003 and an honorary doctorate from McGill University in 2004. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010. Since 2002, Blaise has been president of the Society for the Study of the Short Story.
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Clark Blaise, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Litterature, honoris causa.