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.
Convocation date: May 13, 1960
Discipline / contribution: teaching ; educational psychology
Citation / biographical information:
Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege to present to you a distinguished Canadian, whom many of those present know as a former teacher or colleague.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
A native of Marmora, Ontario, Samuel Laycock took his elementary, secondary, and first University education in that province before coming to Alberta. There he taught - first in high schools, later as a lecturer in Latin and Psychology at the University of Alberta. He resigned this post in order to take further study at the University of London, from which he received hi Ph.D. degree in 1925, with Psychology as his major field.
Two years later Dr. Laycock became one of the two original members of the staff of the School of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. For the next twenty-six years, in the last six of which he served as Dean of the College, Dr. Laycock enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher and administrator. His first love, however, has always been teaching, a fact which was recognized by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation when they bestowed an Honorary Life Membership upon him in 1953.
Dr. Laycock’s influence has extended far beyond the boundaries of his home province. The Laycock Mental Ability Test, which for two decades was the only test based on Canadian norms, is still widely used. He has been for many years an influential and active member of the Canadian Education Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Canadian Home and School and Parent Teacher Federation, which he served for a term as President. He is in great demand as a convention speaker and as guest lecturer at Summer Schools, both in Canada and in the United States. He was one of the few Canadians who attended the White House Conference on Education in 1950. at the invitation of the President.
While complete statistical data is lacking, I can say with confidence that Sam Laycock has been in and out of more jails, reformatories, and mental institutions than any one Canadian educator. I hasten to add that these visits were in an investigative role, as a member of the Royal Commission on Mental Hygiene.
‘When he was made, the mould was broken,’ is a saying I have sometimes heard used to describe an outstanding man. With respect to at least two of Sam Laycock’s characteristics, the saying is particularly apt.
The first of these is in his boundless energy, which has made his ‘retirement’ fully as interesting and productive a period as the preceding years. Since 1953 he has, in addition to his many other activities, written no less than five books, the latest of which will be published this year.
The second Is his outstanding ability as a ‘bridge builder’ between educational theory and practice. More than twenty years ago, Dr. Laycock actively fostered projects which are only now receiving widespread recognition. These include, to mention only a few, special classes for exceptional children in our schools, guidance and counselling services, and teacher-parent organizations.
Through his extensive writings, his classroom teaching, his talks on television and radio, and through literally tbousands of personal contacts in professional and public meetings, he has done more than any living Canadian to help teachers and parents to apply the findings of educational psychology to their daily problems in the classroom and in the home.
And he has never tried to build these bridges for people by prescription, but rather to help them build their own bridges through deeper insight and understanding.
Mr. Chancellor, I present to you Dr. Samuel Ralph Laycock, and ask that you confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.
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