Honorary Degree Citation - Gustave Gingras*

by Neil Compton, May 1967

Mr. Chancellor:

In honouring the man whom I present to you, we also honour a sister institution and the medical profession of this province. Dr. Gustave Gingras is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal, and President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province of Quebec.

However, he is with us today chiefly in order that we may pay tribute to over twenty years of brilliant and pioneering achievement in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, one of the newest, most vital and most difficult of medical specialties. Since the Second World War, medical science has granted the gift of extended life to millions of victims of once fatal wounds, accidents or diseases; it has brought into the world and sustained alive hundreds of thousands of babies who, not long ago, would have surely died. We have learned, though, that life by itself is a gift of dubious value to those whose physical or mental disabilities prevent them from participating in the economic, social and emotional life of family or community. The art of overcoming these obstacles, like the art of the cinema, is a team effort involving the collaboration of many technical specialists. The director of such a team must have the wisdom of an Osler, the imagination of a Fellini, the inventiveness of an Edison, the toughness of a Toe Blake, the energy of a Drapeau, and the humanity of a Schweitzer. All these qualities - I can testify to each of them from personal experience - are present in Gustave Gingras.

He has left his mark upon the rehabilitation facilities of countries on at least four continents. But his most enduring monument is our own Rehabilitation Institute of Montreal, of which he is the Founder and Executive Director. The Institute is not only a uniquely creative and cooperative community, rivalling Expo itself as an example of bilingual harmony: it offers the difference between life and living death to thousands of disabled Montrealers and to hundreds of others who come from all over the world to benefit from its services.

Mr. Chancellor, I present to you on recommendation of the University Council and by authority of the Board of Governors, Dr. Gustave Gingras, Director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Montreal, candidate for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased