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: October 25, 1975
Discipline / contribution: northern research
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you Graham Westbrook Rowley.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Graham Westbrook Rowley, born in England, a graduate of Cambridge University and a resident of Canada since 1936, has made an outstanding contribution to the development and understanding of northern Canada over the past forty years. During these highly productive years, Mr. Rowley has acted in many capacities: as an archeologist, an explorer, an army officer, an author and a senior public servant.
From 1936 to 1939, he was a member of a Cambridge University archeological expedition to Arctic Canada. Living off the land and travelling by dog sled, this small group of dedicated men excavated a number of archaeological sites, studied the life of Eskimos, and explored a hitherto unknown part of the Arctic. Several islands were discovered in Foxe Basin and one is called Rowley Island.
Joining the Canadian Army in 1939, the northern dimension of Mr. Rowley's army career did not surface until 1945. At this time he was recalled to Canada to command the advance party of a military maneuver known as Exercise Musk-Ox. Recognition of the strategic significance of the North brought with it the need to develop and test methods of overland travel suitable for the armed forces. Exercise Musk-Ox — a tractor train of ten armoured snow mobiles journeyed some 3000 miles from Churchill on Hudson Bay to Coppermine on the Arctic Ocean and then south to Fort Nelson in British Columbia -- was such a test of men and equipment. This Canadian military exercise demonstrated conclusively that mechanized transport could be used successfully in winter and early spring for overland travel.
Since then, Mr. Rowley has served his country honourably as a public servant. As scientific advisor to several Ministers of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, they have benefited from his wise council. Some of his achievements have been the establishment of the scientific program for the Defense Research Board; the formation of the Advisory Committee on Northern Development; and the direction of the work of the Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.
An excellent example of Graham's role as a catalyst in shaping government policy was the creation of a national program for scientific research and training at Canadian Universities. In 1959, scientific activities in northern Canada were hampered by a shortage of Canadian scientists who were interested in polar research. To correct this situation, Graham Rowley discussed the problem with Dr. John Spinks, then President of this University. The remedy was the sponsorship by the federal government of a northern scientific training and research program at Canadian Universities. This program resulted in the creation of the Institute for Northern Studies at this University. Over the years, this scientific training program has drawn many University of Saskatchewan students into northern research and today there are many of our scientists solving northern problems.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Graham Westbrook Rowley, and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Robert Bone
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