2002 Saint John Convocation

Savoie, Donald J.

Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)

Orator: Patterson, Stephen E.


to be Doctor of Letters

This man can only be described as a human dynamo. How else describe a scholar who has published 35 books and almost countless articles and reports; a public servant who has moved in and out of senior positions with the governments of New Brunswick and Canada; a public policy guru who establishes new research institutes and serves on a number of old ones, an advisor and confidante to Prime Ministers and Premiers and a host of other advice seekers, and who, nonetheless, has the temerity to attack in print what he describes as the dangerous trend toward the concentration of power in recent decades in the Prime Minister's Office, and yet a man who has barely reached middle age? Donald Savoie is this dynamo. He is also a UNB Fredericton alumnus, a friend of our economists and political scientists on both campuses, and our neighbour in Moncton at our sister university, Universite de Moncton.

Dr. Savoie holds two bachelors' degrees from Universite de Moncton, an M.A. in Political Science from UNB in 1972, and a D. Phil. in Politics from Oxford in 1979. He was honoured with a Doctor of letters by Oxford University in 2000. Awards and honours have sought him out over the years: the Vanier Gold Medal from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, a testimonial award from the Public Policy Forum for "having left an indelible mark on the caliber of public policy and public management in Canada," the Presidency of the Canadian Political Science Association, and additional honorary doctorates from Mount Allison University and Universite Ste·Anne. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Officer of the Order of Canada.

Through his writings and as the founder and first executive director of the Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development at U de M, he has become to many scholars and political and government leaders the regional economic development specialist. It is not too much to say that he is the father of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for his report to the Prime Minister in 1987led to the establishment of this federal initiative which has had a major impact on economic development here in Atlantic Canada. He continues to hold the Clement-Cormier Chair in Economic Development at Universite de Moncton.

Donald Savoie has moved back and forth between academia and government service in Fredericton and Ottawa, beginning his long involvement in the public sector as Administrative Assistant to Alan Gotlieb when he was Deputy Minister in the Department of Communications in Ottawa in 1970. Over the years his work has led him to Russia, Bosnia, Morocco, Hungary, Jordan, and other distant places, sometimes on assignments from the United Nations or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He spent last year in the United States at Harvard University and Duke University as a Senior Fulbright Scholar.

To our great benefit, Donald Savoie has continued to return to New Brunswick and especially to Moncton. He has continued to grapple with the problems that beset what he calls our "have-less province" as we struggle our way through the politics of dependency. And he continues to believe a bright future awa1ts us when we get our economic development policies right. His considerable energy and formidable intelligence have provided much light for the path to that future and perhaps his next 35 books and a revised version of ACOA will lead us there.

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