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 11, 1962
Discipline / contribution: public service
Citation / biographical information:
Emininent Chancellor, On behalf of the University Council and Senate, I present to you Thomas Clement Douglas.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Mr. Douglas came to Canada from Scotland at the age of ten; his family, described by one sympathetic biographer as inveterate talkers”, settled in Winnipeg, where the young Douglas in due course met and was much influenced by J. S. Woodsworth. He was early apprenticed as a printer, offsetting that sedentary trade by amateur acting and boxing, later winning a university gold medal in dramatics and two provincial boxing championships. He was educated in Manitoba public schools and at Brandon College, where he took his bachelor’s degree; McMaster, where he earned a master’s degree; and the University of Chicago, where he worked toward a doctorate.
His first charge as a Baptist minister took him to Weyburn in the early thirties, and diverted him from an academic to a political career. He contested a provincial seat unsuccessfully as a Farmer-Labour candidate in 1934, and the federal seat, successfully and as a candidate of the newly formed Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, in 1935, serving with great distinction as a member of Parliament for nine years. He returned to provincial politics to assume the leadership of his party’s provincial wing in 1944, leading it to its first victory at the polls in the same year; subsequent victories gave him the longest term in office of any Saskatchewan premier. In 1961 he was chosen national leader of the New Democratic Party, and thus returned to the Dominion arena.
Throughout his combined careers as scholar, clergyman and politician, Mr. Douglas has shown the same consistent concern for human welfare. He is, in the Canadian political mosaic, one of a handful of energetic men who have profoundly influenced not only their own parties, but all other major parties as well; and while doing so, has won and kept the affection and respect of friends and foes alike, and even of the cynics in the press galleries. Throughout his years as premier he was a firm supporter of this University: so firm, indeed, that he refused while premier to accept any recognition from us, lest it be interpreted, or misinterpreted, to the University’s disadvantage. This convocation is, therefore, the first opportunity the University of Saskatchewan has had to honour one of its most gifted friends.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Thomas Clement Douglas and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Norman Ward, Professor of Political Science
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