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: agricultural organizations ; public service; co-operative movement
Citation / biographical information:
John Henry Wesson, C.B.E., was born in Sheffield, England. At the age of 20, together with his parents, he migrated to Canada. His life at Maidstone, Saskatchewan, as a “sod-buster” was a fitting introduction to the problems of prairie agriculture — problems to which he has applied himself unstintingly over a half century of devoted and vigorous service. As a pioneer homesteader he learned how to break new ground. In the social and economic life of this province and this nation he has continued to break new ground ever since. His biography is, in itself, a history of prairie fanning and the evolving pattern of agrarian and co-operative movements.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
At an early stage in his career he cast in his lot with the grain growers movement and was particularly active in discussions and events surrounding the development of co-operative marketing organizations. The formation of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool has been described as the greatest single achievement of the organized farm movement in this Province. From the date of its formal organization in 1924 until the date of his retirement in December of 1960, a period of 36 years, the name of Wesson was associated with all the Pool’s accomplishments. From 1937 onward he served as its President.
It is apparent, however, that even the Wheat Pool could not provide a fulltime job for one with John Wesson’s interests and, vitality. In 1936 when the Canadian Federation of Agriculture came into being he was elected its first president, a position which he graced with his talents for four years.
His voice became the voice of the prairie wheat farmer, and, upon occasions, the voice of the whole of Canadian Agriculture. With purpose and dignity he spoke, and was listened to, in provincial, national and international councils. Wherever the welfare of the Canadian fanner was being discussed John Wesson was to be found and the weight of his judgment and influence were to be felt.
In 1946, in recognition of his services, he was named “Commander of the British Empire.”
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you John Henry Wesson, C.B,E. and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: T.H. McLeod, Dean of Commerce
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