Crawford, Purdy

Degree conferred: Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

Orator: Mason, Gordon


SPECIAL CONVOCATION, SEPTEMBER, 2010
PURDY CRAWFORD
to be Doctor of Laws

Some celebrities are known by their first name alone. In large segments of Canadian society, the name Purdy similarly identifies a unique individual, one whose reputation, unlike that of some celebrities, is hard-earned and well deserved. Purdy Crawford has distinguished himself as lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.

A native of Five Islands, N.S., Purdy Crawford graduated with a bachelor of arts from Mount Allison University, and went on to complete two law degrees, an LLB at Dalhousie and a master's degree at Harvard. He joined the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt in 1958, rising to partner in 1962 and senior partner by 1970. He left the firm in 1985 to embark on a second career as an executive with various Canadian companies, notably serving variously as chairman, president and CEO of Imasco Limited.

A significant feature of his career has been his highly effective service on a variety of regulatory committees, playing a major role in improving securities regulations and dealing with ethical issues for both the securities industry and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Only recently he chaired the panel to consider a single securities regulator for Canada.

Purdy Crawford's third substantial contribution to Canada has been his volunteerism and philanthropy. He is a staunch supporter of higher education, having served Mount Allison as chair of the Board of Regents and chancellor. There is now a Chair in Business Law at Dalhousie, a Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies at Cape Breton University, and both a Student Bursary Fund and a Teaching Centre at Mount Allison all bearing his name. At UNB, he has been instrumental in raising significant funding for the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation which supports the work of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research.

As might be expected, such a distinguished resume has garnered numerous awards and honours. He has received the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Friend of Education Award and the United Way Canada Volunteerism Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian Society. He is a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and has been honoured by the Ivey School of Business, the Public Policy Forum, the Conference Board of Canada and the Learning Partnership.

He holds four honorary doctorates and earlier this year he was made Honorary Chief Rising Tide of the Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia. In 1996 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, being promoted to Companion in 2007.

Purdy started his professional life being mentored, first by Archibald Cox at Harvard (the man who in later years was famously fired as Watergate special prosecutor by President Nixon), then by Roland Ritchie, later Supreme Court Justice, under whom he articled, and finally by Hal Mockridge, head of the firm at Osler's. Nowadays, having returned to Osler's as counsel, and as chancellor emeritus at Mt. A., Purdy Crawford is himself a mentor to individuals and groups. In short, this is a man whose influence in diverse areas of Canadian life has been significant and will no doubt be long lasting.

Citation written and delivered by Gordon Mason

From: Honoris Causa - UA Case 70, Box 4

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