Robert W. Begg (1975-1980)


Robert W. Begg in his office, March 1975 (University Archives photograph A-4807)

Robert William Begg was born on 27 December 1914 in Florenceville, New Brunswick and received his early education in the Maritimes, earning a B.Sc. from King's College, Halifax (1936) and both a MSc. (1938) and MD. (1942) from Dalhousie University. After wartime service in North America and Europe with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Dr. Begg attended Oxford University and earned a Ph.D. In 1946 he returned to Dalhousie and took posts first in Biochemistry and then in Medical Research. He was at the University of Western Ontario from 1950 until 1957, when he came to Saskatoon as head of the Saskatchewan Research Unit of the National Cancer Institute of Canada, head of the cancer research department at the U of S and lecturer in Pathology. He was appointed Dean of the College of Medicine in 1962 and Principal of the Saskatoon Campus in 1967. In 1975 Begg was appointed the university's fifth President, a post he held until 1980. During his long career Dr. Begg received many honours, including Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, honourary physician to the Queen, several honourary degrees and the Order of Canada. He also had a long career in the Canadian militia beginning in 1929 when he enlisted in the Prince Edward Island Highlanders. He eventually rose to the rank of full Colonel. During World War Two, he served in a parachute regiment. In 1961, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services (militia) Saskatchewan Area and in 1963 he became Commander, 21 Militia Group. Dr. Begg died in Saskatoon on 2 March 1982 after a lengthy illness.

Installation address, 15 May 1975

Introduction for honorary degree from University of Saskatchewan, 1981