N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Name: Robert Gordon Robertson, B.A., M.A.
Convocation date: September 29, 1959
Special Convocation: Golden Jubilee Convocation
Discipline / contribution: public service ; northern governance
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor:Degree received: Doctor of Laws
I present to you a distinguished scholar and administrator, Robert Gordon Robertson. Mr. Robertson had a brilliant career at this University. Re received his B.A. with Great Distinction, Honours in Economics, the Governor Generalâ€™s Medal, and was appointed the Saskatchewan Rhodes Scholar. Two years at Oxford, followed by a year at Toronto led him rather naturally to a post in the Public Service of Canada, at first as Third Secretary in the Department of External Affairs, then Assistant to the Under.-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Member of the Cabinet Secretariat, and then Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet.
In l953 he was appointed to his present position of Deputy Minister, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, and Commissioner of the Northwest Territories Council. That this appointment occurred at the tender age of thirty-six is sufficient evidence of Mr. Robertsonâ€™s outstanding abilities as an administrator.
In the age of DEW lines and Sputniks, the Northwest Territories have achieved greatly increased strategic importance and are beginning to show promise economically with the expanding development of mineral resources and transpolar travel. They pose extremely difficult human problems with respect to the indigenous population, problems which would tax the wisdom of a veritable Solomon.
Mr. Robertsonâ€™s background fits him eminently for dealing with these relatively complicated situations, and we shall watch with great interest the further development of these important areas under his capable direction.
Eminent Chancellor, I ask that you confer the Honorary Degree at Doctor of Laws, honoris cause, on Robert Gordon Robertson.
Degree presented by: J.W.T. Spinks, president-designate
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