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: November 23, 1963
Discipline / contribution: military service ; peace-keeping; international service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, 1 present to you Lt. Gen. Eedson Louis Millard Burns, DSO, OBE, MC, CD, Advisor on Disarmament to the Government of Canada who has had the unusual distinction of serving his country as both a warrior and peacemaker.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
General Burns was born in Westmount, Quebec, and received his early education in St. Thomas, Ontario, and Montreal. At 16 years of age he enlisted in the ranks of the Canadian Army and after- attending Military College, was granted a “war commission” in the Royal Canadian Engineers in June, 1915. He served with the CEF in France and Belgium until the end of World War One and was awarded the MC for distinguished action during the battle of •the Somme.
After the war, Gen. Burns held a variety of appointments to Canadian Military establishments. While at NDHQ, he developed methods of plotting aerial photographs which greatly facilitated the mapping of Canada’s vast uncharted areas. For his outstanding contributions to this field of science, Gen. Burns was awarded the OBE in 1935.
A graduate of the SME, Chatham, and the Army Staff College, Quetta, Gen. Burns attended the Imperial Defence College, London, and had just completed his course when World War Two broke out. He remained in London as Staff Officer to Gen. Crerar, at CMHQ, during early days when the dispatch of the first Canadian Division was being negotiated.
During World War Two, Gen. Burns held a series of increasingly responsible command and staff appointments in Canada, England, and in both the Italian and NWE theatres of operations. These included the command of a division, a corp, and the whole of the LC troops of the Canadian Army.
After having commanded thousands of Canadian soldiers in battle, he became their able and devoted servant when in 1945, he was named Director General of Rehabilitation to the Veterans Affairs Department. He was subsequently appointed Deputy-Minister of DVA.
Having completed a full life of service to his country as a soldier, Gen. Burns then embarked upon a tour of duty in the service of all mankind in the cause of peace -- and it is in this role that he is best known to us. In 1949 he was a member of the Canadian Delegation’ to the UN and in 1952-53 was National President of the UN Association in Canada. In 1955 General Burns was made Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine and on the creation of the UN Emergency Force in 1956 became its first Commander. In recognition of his outstanding leadership in UN activities, he was promoted to the rank of Lt. General.
On resigning from the UN Emergency Force in December, 1959, General Burns was appointed Canadian Government Advisor-on Disarmament - the post which he now holds.
In the course of his activities, General Burns has found time to write two books and a variety of papers.
Eminent Chancellor, the distinguished achievements in any one of his many roles, as a soldier, scientist, civil servant, or author, are worthy of recognition - but particularly for his contribution to keeping the Peace through UN, - on behalf of the Council and Senate of this University, I request that you confer the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Eedson Louis Millard Burns - world soldier in the battle for peace.
Degree presented by: J.L. Summers, professor of pharmacy
Return to main list: by date | by name