Honorary Degree Citation - Harry J. Boyle*
by John E. O’Brien, June 1978
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Harry J. Boyle.
Born at St. Augustine, Ontario, educated at Wingham High School and St. Jerome's College, Kitchener, he early on opted for a career in media. BY the age of 19 he had already published a "little" magazine which went under financially after four issues; three years previously he had joined the staff of Radio Station CKNX in Wingham and at the same time was a freelance writer and newspaper stringer for a number of newspapers in Ontario, among them the London Free Press and the Toronto Globe and Mail.
His first assignment with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1942 was as farm commentator and for the next quarter century he became successively Supervisor of Farm Broadcasts, Programme Director of the Trans-Canada Network, Radio Network Supervisor of Features, Programme Director for Radio and Television for the Ontario Region, and Executive Producer for Television.
But all the while he continued to write! Novels, Books of Essays, scholarly articles - a new title appeared roughly every other year between 1960 1975. On two occasions he was awarded the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour - for Homebrew and Patches, a book of essays, in 1963 and the The Luck of the Irish, a Canadian fable, in 1975.
With his appointment to the Canadian Radio Television Commission in 1968, a new phase of his career began as he became an articulate spokesman for an ever stronger system of broadcasting based on the concept of "public service". In recognition of the leadership he provided to the on going debate, he received the JOHN DRAINIE AWARD in 1970 from the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists and in 1975 the CYBIL AWARD from the Canadian Broadcasting League. In this same period he received his first honorary doctorate. In 1975 he was named Acting Chairman of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission and five months later its Chairman where he continued to serve until last September. He is currently a member of a Task Force on Third World Information for the 20th Century Fund and is writing what promises to be the definitive work on Canadian broadcasting.
Friends have likened Harry Boyle to Chesterton in his ability to get at the essentials of things. A shanachie in the truest sense of the word - a story-teller who makes each story the better in the telling, a philosopher with a flair for the imaginative, a happy man himself who draws out joy in others, Harry Boyle is a man of strong religious faith which in turn has been the integrating factor in a life of purpose and meaning.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a distinct honour to present to you, on behalf of. the Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Harry J. Boyle, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.