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 23, 1990
Discipline / contribution: education ; health and wellness
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you J. Balfour Kirkpatrick.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
When reflecting on the developments in a society, we discover people of vision, who, in the course of events, are seen to have established the foundations upon which others have built. In the fields of teacher education, and fitness and recreation in the Province of Saskatchewan, J.B. Kirkpatrick (or Kirk as he is more commonly known) is such a person of vision and leadership.
Dean Emeritus Kirkpatrick was born on a farm near Saskatoon in 1909, the same year in which the Administration Building was constructed. He completed his B.A., B.Ed., and M.Ed. degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, and his doctorate in physical education at Columbia University. From 1944 to 1948 he served as Director of the Physical Fitness Division for Saskatchewan. In 1948 he accepted the appointment as Director and Professor of Physical Education at McGill University. From 1956 to 1976, Dr. Kirkpatrick was Dean of Education at the University of Saskatchewan.
In the field of physical education, as Director of the Physical Fitness Division of the Province of Saskatchewan, Kirk was insistent that its mandate be much wider than a concern for physical fitness only. His philosophy that "physical fitness cannot be separated from mental, moral and spiritual fitness" coupled with his belief that "worthy use of leisure" includes "crafts, music, woodworking and drama, as well as ... exercise, games and sports," still gird the policies of the Saskatchewan Recreation Movement and the Fitness and Recreation Division.
Through his efforts in the organization, CAHPER, he became a national leader in the fitness movement and helped make the federal government 'acknowledge a responsibility for national fitness.'
As Dean of Education and through cooperation with a variety of agencies and individuals, he established many innovative practices and programs. In order to address the needs in native education, he established the Indian and Northern Education Program in 1963, the Indian Teacher Education Program in 1973, and the North West Territory Teacher Education Program in 1975; and set the groundwork for the Northern Teacher Education Program in 1976. He played a prominent role in the amalgamation of the Teachers' Colleges into the University. The program reforms engineered by Kirk redirected the course content away from a purely academic orientation to one that considered the needs of children in a complex contemporary society. An innovative venture that has been widely copied and has become the core of teacher education programs today, the extended practicum or internship, was established by Dean Kirkpatrick in 1963. His administrative genius lay in his ability to support the work of others and to make things happen for people.
Kirk has been supported in his work by his wife Mary. He and Mary have eight children, all graduates of the University of Saskatchewan. Five of these children are teachers.
It is with pride that his alma mater and his former colleagues today honour this educational leader.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you J. Balfour Kirkpatrick and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Murray Scharf, Dean of Education
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