University of Manitoba - University Governance - Paule Leduc, LL.D., May 25, 1993
Paule Leduc, LL.D., May 25, 1993
Paule Leduc
B.A., B.Ped.(Sher.); M.A.(Montr.); D.Lit.(Paris); DésL.(Ott., St.M.); LL.D.(Queen's)

Paule Leduc was born in Chicoutimi, Quebec in 1936. She received her initial university education at Sherbrooke and the University of Montreal before proceeding to her doctoral studies at the University of Paris. She taught comparative literature at universities in Quebec, and is the author of several distinguished papers in the field of French literature. While teaching at the University of Quebec at Montreal, she also began her career as an administrator. She served as department head, and later as Vice President.

Later, she was to become a senior member of the public service in the provincial government in Quebec. She served as Deputy Minister of University Affairs, as Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs, and President of the Quebec Council of Universities.

In 1988 came the call to Ottawa, when Dr. Leduc was named by the Federal Government President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which is popularly known by its hopefully inappropriate acronym of "SHIRK".

Five years ago, the stock of SSHRCC was unquestionably low. When Paule Leduc assumed the Presidency, restoring the Council's standing must have seemed a challenge. Further, the new President had to mediate successfully between government and the academic community, a relationship which is generally fraught with mutual suspicion. She had to recognize the sensitivities and occasional rivalries of social scientists on the one hand and humanists on the other. She had also to deal with the widespread sentiment among those in Western and Atlantic Universities that they were usually ignored, and not thought much of when they were not ignored. She had to promote rationalization, innovation and new priorities at a time of shrinking resources and increased demand for services. She had, moreover, to win the confidence of the academic community. And perhaps her biggest headache at times, Dr. Leduc had to find ways of getting the best out of a 20 member council, with representatives from every province, and more than its fair share of windbags and prima donnas.

She has been an outstanding success in meeting all of these challenges. Every program offered by SSHRCC has been reviewed and improved, with substantial support from the community. She has brought the council into a new partnership with government, private and other institutions. In this endeavour, she has maintained a fine balance between the needs of the research community, and the dictates of the larger public interest. The working spirit of the council and the council bureaucracy has been admirable.

One major feature of her term in fact has been her sensitivity to regional concerns. For instance, for the first time in SSHRCC's history, a Vice President was appointed from outside Central Canada, and for a time, the Council Executive Committee contained not a single member from either Ottawa or Toronto. Surely in itself something to be entered in the catalogue of the unique and the unusual.

Just over a year ago, the Government of Canada announced, as part of a program of institutional reorganization intended to assist in its commitment to reduce the size of the federal deficit, that it proposed to merge SSHRCC with the Canada Council, the body from which it originally sprang. Paule Leduc was to become the Director (Chief Executive Officer) of the Canada Council, while still continuing, for the time being, to serve as President of SSHRCC. To her fell the delicate task, with all its ramifications, of negotiating that merger. That task has been accomplished with her customary wisdom, toughness and vision.

Very soon, SSHRCC will be part of Canada Council, its programs intact, its separate identity "at one with Nineveh and Tyre". Paule Leduc will continue as Director of the Canada Council.

To be appointed to so many high offices is in itself a sign of distinction. To have carried out her responsibilities so superbly is a sign of extraordinary distinction. Paule Leduc has served this country well. She has already received honorary degrees from three other universities. The University of Manitoba is the first Western institution to so recognize her accomplishments.

Mr. Chancellor, in the name of the Senate of the University of Manitoba, I ask that you confer on Paule Leduc the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

-citation delivered by Arnold Naimark, President, Unviersity of Manitoba