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 10, 1957
Discipline / contribution: history - Canadian
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Donald Grant Creighton, MA, LL.D, F.R.S.C., Professor and Chairman of the Department of History in the University of Toronto.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Professor Creighton was born in Toronto and educated there and in Oxford, returning in 1927 to the University of Toronto in which he has now given thirty continuous years of most distinguished service as an outstanding teacher, an original scholar, and an effective administrator.
Early in his academic career he embarked upon the composition and publication of a number of important books in the field of Canadian history, studies which attracted much favorable notice for the solidity of their learning and the superior quality of their style, culminating in. his major work, a biography in. two volumes of our first prime minister, Sir John A, Macdonald.
When these remarkable volumes were published in 1952 and 1955 they enjoyed an immediate popular success with a wide sale, and they deserved it. They are marked by Dr, Creighton’s characteristic intellectual qualities, with an attractive blend of precise scholarship, of forceful generalization, and of colourful style, and they are written with a gift of sympathetic imagination which vividly recalls the sights and sounds of another age.
This great biography is not only an acknowledged landmark in historical studies but is itself a masterpiece of Canadian literature with many passages of great descriptive power certain to linger in the memory of the grateful readers. It is open to only one complaint that young historians contemplating its achievement must feel sinking discouragement at the standard which has now been set for them.
Many honours have come to Professor Creighton among which one should mention the Tyrrell Medal for History given by the Royal Society of Canada, the Governor-General’s Medal for academic non-fiction, twice awarded, and honorary degrees conferred by the University of New Brunswick and by Queen’s University. He has also given much satisfaction as an officer in various learned societies and is this year the president of the Canadian Historical Association. Recently, as chairman of the Humanities Research Council, he gave vigorous and effective leadership in the long and finally successful effort to secure the establishment of the Canada Council.
As these facts indicate, Professor Creighton is without question the first of Canadian historians, and richly deserves the honour which I now ask you to confer upon him, the degree of doctor of laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: J.F. Leddy, Dean of Arts and Science
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