John W.T. Spinks (1959-1974)


J.W.T. Spinks, ca. 1960 (University Archives photograph A-8516)

John William Tranter Spinks was born in Methwold, England 1 January 1908. He attended the King's College at the University of London, recieving both a BSc (1928) and PhD (1930) in Chemistry. Spinks joined the University of Saskatchewan in 1930 as Assistant Professor. He spent the 1933-34 academic year at the University of Darmstart, Germany, where he first met Dr. Gerhard Herzberg. Spinks was promoted to Professor (1938); named Head of the Department of Chemistry (1948); Dean of Graduate Studies (1949); and became the fourth President of the University (1959). Spinks led the university through its most active period of development. He retired from the presidency in 1974 but continued to pursue his academic interests. Spinks published more than 260 scientific papers and larger works including a study for the Massey Commission, a translation of Atomic Spectra and Molecular Spectra, An Introduction to Radiation Chemistry, and an autobiography, Two Blades of Grass. His many honours included a MBE (1943), LL.D (Carleton University, 1958), D.Sc. (Assumption University, 1961), Companion of the Order of Canada (1970), and a LL.D. from the University of Saskatchewan. He died in Saskatoon in 1997.

Installation Address, 30 January 1960: "Education for a World of Change"

Citation for honorary degree from University of Saskatchewan, 1990