I have the honour to present the Honourable Mr. John Roman Solomon, LL.B., Q.C., D.C.I. (St. Andrew's College).
Mr. Solomon is a distinguished alumnus of this University who has had a lifelong commitment of serving the Canadian people, Canadian institutions and the community, marking him as a conscientious and dedicated Canadian.
Born on a homestead in Zoria, Manitoba, Mr. Solomon graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1934 with a Bachelor of Laws degree, was admitted to the Bar of Manitoba two years later and then opened a private law practice in Selkirk, Manitoba. In 1941, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature as a member of the Constituency of Emerson, a position he held for sixteen continuous years, and during which he became known as a gentleman of tact, humour, friendliness and firmness, qualities which led to his appointment as the Deputy Speaker of the House and corresponding duties as Chairman of the House. In 1956, he became Queen's Counsel and the following year, he was appointed to the Bench of the County Court. In 1971 he became a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, a position he held until December 1983. Throughout his years as a member of the Legislature, and of the judiciary, his unique abilities of discovering the issues and then applying sound common sense resolutions became well-known.
These abilities were first evident after the Second World War, when Mr. Solomon began to champion the rights of minorities. Heading delegations to the United Nations, to the United Nations Relief Organization, and to the Federal Government, he pleaded the cause of displaced persons and for their immigration to Canada. Mr. Solomon then became a responsible advocate of Canadian pluralism, wherein the different cultural communities could retain their ethnic identity and cultural values, yet become integrated fully and effectively into the mainstream of Canadian society. This is perhaps best illustrated when Mr. Solomon, as a member of the Board of St. Andrew's College since the forties, fifteen years as its Chairman, helped establish St. Andrew's College, first on an old campus in north Winnipeg and then on the campus of the University of Manitoba, as an affiliated College of the University, housing the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies. He is also the founder of the Order of St. Andrew, which has as its primary goal the support of the educational, cultural and religious ideals espoused by St. Andrew's College.
This commitment to service extends beyond any one cultural group: he has served as an executive on many local and national agencies such as the West Kildonan Library Board, the Community Chest, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
The respect in which the Honourable Mr. Solomon is held is reflected in the many awards he has received, such as the Community Service Award from the City of Winnipeg; the Distinguished Service Award from the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba; and the degree of Doctor of Canon Law (Honoris Causa) from St. Andrew's College.
Throughout his dynamic career, Mr. Solomon has been supported by his wife Jean, a University of Manitoba graduate in Arts and Education. They have three daughters, all of whom are University of Manitoba alumnae.
It is clear that we have with us today a man who, throughout his life, saw it as his duty to serve others. His sense of political, professional and social responsibilities to the Canadian people, their institutions and community is exemplary, and we take special pride that he is here with us today as a graduate of our University.
Madam Chancellor, it is an honour and a privilege for me, to ask, in the name of the Senate of The University of Manitoba, that you confer upon John Roman Solomon, the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.