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 12, 1961
Discipline / contribution: public service ; international service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor:Degree received: Doctor of Laws
On behalf of the Council and Senate of the University of Saskatchewan I present to you Major James William Coldwell, LL.D. and ask that you confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa:
Major James William Coldwell was born in Devonshire, England. Educated at University College, Exeter, he became interested in teaching. The call of Canada appealed to him and he came to Alberta in 1910 where he taught a rural school. He moved to Saskatchewan in 1911 where he became principal of the Sedley School. In 1914 he was appointed principal of a Regina school and this position he held until 1934.
During his life in Regina he admirably fulfilled his civic obligations by becoming, successively, alderman on the city council, member of the Board of Governors of Regina General Hospital, president of the Teachers’ Alliance, president Canadian Teachers’ Federation, member Regina Library Board and he was active as a lay reader in the Anglican church.
During his entire life he has been interested in public affairs and early became actively interested in politics in municipal, provincial and federal areas. His name has been prominent in Canadian public affairs since 1925. He climbed the ladder of political success and finally became national leader of a political party. He represented Rosetown-Biggar constituency in the Federal House of Commons from 1935 to 1957, having won six successive elections.
In the House of Commons he won general admiration from friend and adversary alike for his gift of lucid expositions his mastery of the art of public debate and for his imperturbable manner. His friends in the House recall his constant effort to keep his contributions at a high level. Gifted by nature with a fine voice, he used it effectively in the interests of higher standards of living and ethics for Canadians.
To few men in public life is given the opportunity to participate widely and effectively in international events. Mr. Coldwell has been one of these few.
He was one of Canada’s delegates to the San Francisco meeting in l945 where the United Nations was horn and at the general assembly of the United Nations in 1946, 1950, 1953 and 1954. He was Canadian representative to several meetings of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and holds the admiration of many countries which have only recently attained the status of nationhood.
Possibly his most cherished appointment followed the request of Prime Minister Nehru of India who asked that Mr. Coldwell be placed on a United Nations Commission to enquire into the problems of local government in India. Mr. Coldwell’s contribution to this Commission was highly prized by the Indian authorities.
Eminent Chancellor, it is an honor to present to you a statesman, architect, and builder whose life has been unselfishly devoted to others.
Degree presented by: R.D. Ramsay, Director of Extension Services
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