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, 1969
Special Convocation: Diamond Jubilee convocation
Discipline / contribution: chemistry ; research administration
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: On behalf of Council and Senate I present to you William George Schneider, a graduate of this University, one of Canada’s most distinguished scientists, and President of the National Research Council.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Dr. Schneider was born in Wolseley. His training in this Province included a period at Luther College in Regina. The announcement of the award of the Chemical Institute of Canada medal to him in 1961 quoted Dr. Schneider as singling out his chemistry and physics teachers -— Liefeld and Behrens at Luther College for arousing his interest in science. At the University he came under the influence of Professor Thorvaldson of our Chemistry Department.
The awards of our BSc in 1937 and MSc, in 1939, both in Chemistry, were followed by further graduate training at McGill University and the doctorate in 1941. His potential as a research scientist was recognized at that time by the award of a Royal Society of Canada Fellowship which took him to Harvard for 3 years of postdoctorate study. His versatility as a researcher was demonstrated by a further 3 years as Research Physicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, conducting research on under—water explosions and anti-submarine weapons. In 1946 he joined the staff of the National Research Council as Head of the Physical Chemistry Section.
This is not the place to describe Dr. Schneider’s many important contributions to chemistry. They have been recognized by election to fellowships in the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Royal Society of London. At the same time, his abilities as an administrator and as an advisor on the organization and promotion of pure and applied science in Canada were being recognized by promotions within the National Research Council -- first as Director of their Division of Pure Chemistry, next as Vice—President (Scientific) and finally in 1967 as President.
He heads the National Research Council at a time when scientific policy in Canada is under critical examination by government, universities and professional societies. Under his direction, the Council has already made important changes in its organization and operation, and still other changes are under discussion, so that Council can take a leading part in the promotion of good science, basic as well as mission-oriented, and in all parts of Canada.
I would like to be able to say that we are the first university in Canada to honour Dr. Schneider by the award of an honorary degree. However, several others have already done so. All that I can say is that with respect to our own graduates we are conservative, spelled with a small c, a fact that did not go without comment by one of our early graduates and now a former Prime Minister of Canada when we conferred an honorary degree on him.
Eminent Chancellor I present to you William George Schneider and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: B.W. Currie, VP Research
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