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 24, 1967
Discipline / contribution: jurisprudence ; Canadian constitution; legal education
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: On behalf of the University Council and Senate, I present to you William Ralph Lederman, Q.C., Dean of Law at Queen’s.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Dean Lederman is a Saskatchewan man whose work has brought honour to this, his native province. Born and schooled in Regina and with degrees in Arts and Law from the University. Bill Lederman interrupted his legal career to serve for four years with the Canadian Army both at home and overseas. Returning as a Captain to Saskatoon, he articled with the late W.B. Francis, an old friend of this place, and was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1946. He was a member of the law faculty here in 1945-46 and again in 1948-49. Between those years he took up a Rhodes Scholarship awarded to him just before the war began and obtained from Oxford both his B.C.L. and recognition as Vinerian Scholar. He began a career of scholarly writing which established his reputation as a law teacher. He became the Sir James Dunn Professor of Law at Dalhousie, served as Visiting Professor at New York University and McGill, and in 1954-55 was President of the Association of Canadian Law Teachers. His special fields of interest have been matters of public law, with special emphasis on constitutional law, upon which his recent writing has concentrated.
When in 1958, Principal Corry of Queen’s lured Professor Lederman away from Dalhousie to take charge of a new law faculty, everyone was confident of its success. Few could have foreseen however how quickly and firmly the new Dean, using Saskatchewan and Dalhousie traditions and his own abilities would place his school into the front rank in Canadian legal education. Practically overnight he gathered a faculty of top quality, built a library and established the character of the new school. We honour him today for this achievement and for qualities of heart and mind that made it happen.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you William Ralph Lederman and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Otto Lang, Dean of Law
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