While I was busy moving the heavy equipment required to keep the wheels of culture moving, two authors who have been quintessential collaborators with Gaspereau Press – nay, authors whose accomplishments have helped define the press’s very spirit – were busy being honoured by Nova Scotian universities.
On 4 May 2012, Peter Sanger was presented with an Honorary Doctorate by Nova Scotia Agricultural College (and its parent institution, Dalhousie University) during its 107th Convocation ceremony in Truro, Nova Scotia. Peter is actually Professor Emeritus at the college, where he taught in the humanities department. The college’s press release summarized the importance of Peter’s contribution to the college with uncharacteristic clarity: “There is a danger in a field like agriculture that teaching can become solely focused on facts. Students need to be introduced to the broader philosophical and cultural perspectives that make a student truly educated. Peter Sanger is an example of someone who has a deep love and appreciation of agriculture but can add the artistic and historical dimension that places agriculture at the centre of society and human development.” Congratulations Dr. Sanger! The honour is well deserved.
Later in the month, the irrepressible George Elliott Clarke, was also presented with an Honorary Doctorate, this one by our local university, Acadia. George is currently the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto and has won many awards considering he’s only now reaching mid-career. His previous honours include the Portia White Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry (for Execution Poems, which was originally a letterpress project he and I cooked up on a whim), and appointment to the Order of Canada. George gave a convocation address at Acadia, and people around town are still talking about it. Congratulations to you as well, Dr. Clarke.
A confession: I didn’t actually attend any of my own convocation ceremonies (there were three) during my university days. My grandmother actually attended my convocation when I earned a Masters of Arts degree, even though I didn’t. Out of politeness, I stopped by the auditorium to say hello to her before the ceremony began. I was on my way to the hardware store.
ANDREW STEEVES ¶ PRINTER & PUBLISHER