Honorary Degree Citation - Norman McLaren*

by John Locke, June 1977

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Mr. Norman McLaren. Mr. McLaren has been a creator of animated films for more than forty years. After attending the Glasgow School of Art and starting his work on animated films, he was invited to join the British General Post Office Film Unit. The GPO Film Unit was under the direction of John Grierson and occupied a significant Position in film history while Mr. McLaren was one of its members. In 1941 Mr. McLaren came to Canada to join the newly formed National Film Board of Canada at the invitation of John Grierson.

Animated is one of the areas in which the National Film Board has achieved its international reputation and Mr. McLaren must be given a ery significant portion of the credit for that achievement. He has been a leader in the field of animation at the N.F.B. and internationally since his arrival in Canada. He has been the teacher of generations of animators through his films and through personal contact.

One of the remarkable aspects of his work is its range. He has constantly experimented with the use of innovative techniques and he has produced a brilliant succession of films using these innovations. He is a pioneer in using the technique of working directly on film rather than using a camera to photograph work created on other surfaces. And he is also an innovator in producing animated films using cut out figures and pixillation. His work in film sound is of particular importance for he has produced track, rather than electronically recording an instrument's sound.

Mr. McLaren's films have won awards at many Film Festivals including those of Venice, Edinburgh, London, Canada, Brussels and San Francisco. His film Neighbours won an Academy Award in Hollywood.

Mr. McLaren is without doubt the most respected Canadian filmmaker. He is internationally known as a central figure in the history of animation. He is one of Canada's great artists.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Mr. Norman McLaren, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased