University of Manitoba - University Governance - Samuel Delbert Clark, LL.D., May 29, 1985
Samuel Delbert Clark, LL.D., May 29, 1985
Samuel Delbert Clark

It is an honour for me and a special pleasure to present to you Professor Samuel Delbert Clark, originally from Western Canada, subsequently a truly all Canadian intellectual and, indeed, genuine international figure - A scholar, teacher and administrator of the foremost rank.

Professor Clark was born in Lloydminister, Alberta. He took his first degree and his M.A. in History at Saskatchewan, where his mentors were people like A. S. Morton, Hilda Neatley, George Simpson and McGreggor Dawson; an M.A. in Sociology at McGill, with Carl Dawson; a year at the London School of Economics in close association with Laski and Tawney; and his Ph.D. in Political Science at Toronto with H. A. Innis and A. Brady. After teaching Political Science for a year here at the University of Manitoba he was invited back to the University of Toronto where he remained on the faculty from 1938 to 1976, a period of almost 40 years, the last six, as Head of the Sociology Department. Over the whole period, he produced a constant flow of significant and widely celebrated books, articles and lectures. Of his books the best known are Church and Sect in Canada, 1944 (now regarded as a classic) Movements of Political Protest in Canada 1959, (a 10-volume work) Developing Canadian Community, 1961 and Canadian Society in Historical Perspective 1976.

In addition to teaching, publication and administration, Professor Clark has been President of the Humanities & Social Science Section of the Royal Society of Canada and received the Tyrrell Medal of that august body. He has been made Honourary President of the Canadian Sociology & Anthropology Association. He is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Internationally, Professor Clark has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Foreign Honourary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh ("not exceptional for one named Clark" you may say, but then also) Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

Professor Clark's contributions to scholarship, to academic life, to the Community of Canada and, in some measure to the international academic community has been not only significant Madam Chancellor, but also unique. They are significant in that they have established in Canada the respectability of Sociology in the company of the traditionally more prestigious disciplines of Political Economy and History. This fact has been attested to by people no less than the late E. C. Hughes who called Professor Clark's work "a gold mine of hypotheses on Canadian Society" and our own late and fondly remembered W. L. Morton who said that Professor Clark always dealt with the big issues of Canadian Society. Also they are significant in that they led in the recognition and analysis of problems that subsequently came to the forefront of social thought: - Political Protest, the Changing Aspect of Religion, Ethnic Relations, The Urban Poor.

Professor Clark and his contributions are unique Madam Chancellor, in that no other social scientist spans so comprehensively and consistently the history of the development of his discipline in Canada. He is unique too, in that no other of his stature has been able to bridge so effectively the gap between Empiricism and Humanistic Interpretation. He has been said to be, if not the Father, certainly the Dean of Sociology in Canada. It is a distinction the relative merits of which I would not risk evaluating here today.

The Universities of Calgary, St. Mary's, Dalhousie, Lakehead and Western Ontario have already conferred upon him honourary degrees and, in like manner, I now respectfully request Madam Chancellor, in the name of the Senate of The University of Manitoba, that you confer upon Samuel Delbert Clark the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.