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, 1956
Discipline / contribution: research ; public service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: I present to you Duncan Alexander MacGibbon, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Laws, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, who, over a long generation, has distinguished himself as a scholar, a teacher, and a public servant.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Dr. MacGibbon, as his name might not suggest, was born in the Province of Quebec. The austere moral climate of McMaster University and the rigorous intellectual discipline of the University of Chicago prepared him to come west and to take the vow of poverty as a professor of economics. His first post was at Brandon College before the First World War. Then, after service overseas with the Canadian Tank Battalion and at the Khaki College at Ripon in Yorkshire, he became in 1919, the first professor of political economy at the University of Alberta. He survived unscathed for ten years the hazards of his profession and even the chairmanship of a Royal Commission on Banking and Credit in that economically and politically unorthodox province. But Dr. MacGibbon has always heeded the admonition of another Scot to live dangerously and in 1929 he began a twenty-year stint as a member of the Board of Grain Commissioners for Canada. Over the last seven years students in economics at McMaster and at the University of Toronto have shared the advantages of his varied experience and mature wisdom.
Normally the short and simple annals of the professor and the public servant resist embellishment. But Dr. MacGibbon early established more legitimate claims to distinction. After two papers in the Journal of Political Economy on the ‘Revolutionary Cycle in French Syndicalism’ he turned his mind and pen to the only slightly less inflammable subjects of the Canadian tariff, railway freight rates, and grain marketing in Canada. As early as 1917 Dr. MacGibbon’s book on railway rates and the Canadian Railway Commission won an international award. In other books and a series of articles, monographs and research papers, his writings came to cover the full sweep of Canadian economic development. But an awareness of his environment brought him to examine with particular care the problems of the prairie economy and to serve with two Dominion royal commissions on grain marketing. It is now nearly a quarter of a century since Dr. MacGibbon gave us his authoritative and comprehensive study of The Canadian Grain Trade. This was followed only four years ago r a second volume, which although in no sense merely supplemental, complements admirably his earlier work. It is therefore, particularly appropriate, meet, and just, that this university should honor a scholar who has so long and so ably made the problems of Saskatchewan his own.
Eminent Chancellor, I ask that you confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Duncan Alexander MacGibbon.
Degree presented by: G.E. Britnell, Head of Economics and Political Studies
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