Honorary Degree Citation - Larkin Kerwin*

by J.W. O’Brien, June 1976

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Dr. Larkin Kerwin, Rector of Université Laval.

Dr. Kerwin has made a great contribution both to Canadian science and to Canadian education. And his own education forecast his open and purposeful approach. A Quebecer by birth, he took his B.Sc. at St. Francis Xavier University, went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his Master's degree, and returned to Quebec for his Doctorate, receiving it from Université Laval. He enjoyed a bilingual education, and was not averse to seeking wisdom from beyond our frontiers.

As I reviewed Dr. Kerwin's career and the development of his many interests, I was struck again by the breadth of his approach. He joined the Physics Department at Lavai in 1946 and in ten years reached the rank of full professor, holding the Chair of Atomic Physics. He became Department Chairman in 1961. After that, continuing nevertheless his research activity, he was apparently ensnared by the siren call of academic administration. In 1967 he was named Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science; in 1969 he became Vice-Rector, Academic; and in 1972 he was elected Rector.

Dr. Kerwin has served science and education in many ways, holding positions of responsibility and receiving awards of great distinction. Of these I will mention just a few. He has been Secretary General of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics; first Vice-President of the Royal Society of Canada; and a member of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada. He has received the Governor General's Medal; the prix David, awarded for literary and scientific achievement by the Province of Quebec; the Centenary Medal; and the Gold Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists. And I have to admit that ours is not the first university to invite Dr. Kerwin to receive a doctorate honoris causa.

Dr. Kerwin has also lately been President of the Associaton of Universities and Colleges of Canada. It fell to his lot to assume this position at a critical time, when through a series of coincidences there was a complete changeover in the senior staff of the Association, and when the rigours of inflation and of tight budgets left their mark here as elsewhere. He brought the Association safely through its organizational difficulties; his own forthright attitude has undoubtedly affirmed its ability to serve education in Canada.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Dr. Larkin Kerwin, Rector of Université Laval, an outstanding Canadian educator and scientist, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased