Honorary Degree Citation - René Pomerleau*

by D.A. Fraser, June 1972

Mr. Chancellor:

I have the honour to present to you René Pomerleau, distinguished naturalist and author.

Le docteur René Pomerleau est né à Saint-Ferdinand, Québec, au debut du siècle, et il a fait toutes ses études principalles dans cette province. Après avoir été reçu au baccalaureat en agriculture à Laval, il poursuivant ses études à McGill pour sa maîtrise, et à 1'Université de Montréal pour son doctorat. Il a écrit beaucoup de livres, mais le plus connu est peut-être son ouvrage sur les champignons comestibles. On peut appeler René Pomerieau "Le Champion des Champignons".

To fill some of the gaps of the above sketch one will find that although all of Dr. Pomerieau's degrees originate in Quebec, he has pursued some of his studies in France, both at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the well known French Forestry School, Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Foret a Nancy. His studies pre¬pared him for the pioneering work concerning the problems of our forests, first under the aegis of the Quebec Provincial Department of Lands and Forests and later on a national basis when the Canada Department of Agriculture established a Forest Research Laboratory at Quebec City. While the official title of the laboratory in which he was working has changed its name several times, Dr. Pomerleau's goal remainded constant: to study the causes and development of diseases as they affect our forests and to seek effective remedies. Thus, through his research an effective control of a disease in forest nurseries was developed. His other scientific work clarified some of the problems associated with the dieback of birch and pines, the Dutch elm disease, and other problems as evinced by the more than 200 research papers published.

Yet Dr. Pomerleau was not one to sit in the ivory tower of pure research. While for many years he was actively engaged in teaching as Professor of Forest Pathology and Mycology at Laval, he also wrote articles to make his field of endeavour comprehensible to the common man. Thus while in his scientific work he named and described several new species of fungi, he was also a founder of several mycological clubs, some devoted to the culinary as much as the scientific aspect of this fascinating group of plants.

As can be seen from the many honours that have been conferred on Dr. Pomerieau, he has always worked towards the enlightenment of Quebec and Canada in his specialized field. Already in 1948 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has been honoured by becoming President of different Societies including La Societe de Geographie de Quebec. He was a recipient of several prizes, awards and medals on the regional, national and international level, including the prestigious Medal of the Order of Canada and the Medal of the Marie Victorin Foundation.

Although officially retired in 1970, Dr. Pomerleau remains active in his wide field of interest concerned with various aspects of our natural environment through lectures and publications. As is obvious, nobody could devote so much time and energy to his chosen field were it not for an understanding wife. Dr. Pomerleau was fortunate to find such support in the person of Cecile Mesnard at Berthierville in 1932.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Council and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Rene Pomerleau, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and recipient of the Medal of Service of the Order of Canada, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased