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: broadcast engineering ; communications; public service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: I present to you J. Alphonse Ouimet, President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Almost 30 years ago, the first public demonstrations of television in Canada took place in a Montreal departmental store. Among the technical personnel responsible for the demonstrations was J.A. Ouimet, a young engineer who had just graduated from McGill with the highest marks throughout the entire course of any student in the 1932 class. Most of us who saw and heard of these demonstrations considered them only a stunt using electronic gadgetry without any significant importance to Canada. But not to Ouimet. He spent the next two years with industrial firms carrying out the first extensive experiment on television in Canada. In 1934, he joined what was then known as the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission as a junior engineer. By 1949 he had worked his way to the top of the Engineering Division. One of his most spectacular achievements during this period was the radio coverage for the 1939 Royal Tour. It still ranks as one of the biggest broadcast operations ever undertaken. In 1952, he became the CBC’s fourth and youngest general manager with a major responsibility of bringing a television service to most of Canada. The demands of television and of maintaining a radio network service in two languages required a major reorganization of the CBC for more efficient and economical operations, an undertaking which he was able to achieve with notable success. In 1958, he was appointed President of the CBC under new broadcasting legislation. Today, he is recognized internationally as one of the leading authorities on TV both technically and in the organization and operation of TV services.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
His abilities have been recognized in many ways. They include the Ross Medal in 1948 from the Engineering Institute of Canada, the honorary doctorate in applied sciences in 1957 from the University of Montreal, the Archamibault Medal for the advancement of the sciences in 1958 from La Societe Canadienne Francaise, and the Julian C. Smith Medal in 1958 from the Engineering Institute of Canada for his contribution to the advancement of Canada. We now have the privilege and the honour of recognizing his abilities as a radio and television engineer and, in particular, his contribution toward bringing TV within the reach of more than 90 per cent of all Canadians. The integrating effects of this achievement on our widely spread population from the Maritimes to the Pacific ranks in most respects with the completion of our first transcontinental railroad. In honoring Mr. Ouimet we also recognize the contribution of the CBC to Canada and to Canadian education.
“On behalf of the Council and the Senate, I ask that you confer on J. Alphonse Ouimet, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Dr. BW Currie, Dean of Graduate Studies
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