James S. Thomson (1937-1949)


James S. Thomson (University Archives photograph A-3237)

James Sutherland Thomson was born in Stirling, Scotland. He was educated in philosophy at the University of Glasgow, studied theology at Trinity College, Glasgow, and was ordained in 1920. He came to Canada in 1930 as a professor of systematic theology and philosophy of religion at Pine Hill Divinity Hall, a United Church theological college in Halifax. He was appointed as the second President of the University of Saskatchewan in 1937. He served until 1949, taking a leave of absence in 1942-43 to become general manager of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (described by Acting President W.P. Thompson as Thomson's "call-up for war service"). In 1949 he became McGill University's first Dean of the Faculty of Divinity and Professor of Religious Studies. He was moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1956 to 1958. He retired as Dean in 1957, and died in Montreal in 1972 at the age of 80.

Installation address, 29 October 1937: "Education and Life"

Obituary, 1972 (University news release)