Glendon principal honoured by French government


Above, left to right: Paul Rouleau, Ontario provincial judge; MP and Glendon alumnus David Collenette; Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University; Ken McRoberts, principal of Glendon College; and Hugues Goisbault, consul general of France in Toronto

The French government bestowed the honour of Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques on Glendon’s Principal Kenneth McRoberts on June 11. The award was presented by the Consul General of France in Toronto, Hugues Goisbault, at a reception held at York’s Glendon campus.

Notably, McRoberts was named an officer, the second level of this order, rather than the first level of knight. This higher rank reflects the French government’s recognition of McRoberts’ significant contribution to the promotion of French education outside France.

Founded in 1808 by Napoleon I, when the French university system was undergoing a major modernization, the Palmes Académiques became a national award in 1866 during the reign of Napoleon III, and was elevated to an Order of Chivalry in 1955.

                  Right: Symbol of l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques

The Supreme Council of the order is headed by the French minister of education, who periodically makes recommendations to the French government for naming new members to the order, in recognition of high distinction in the field of university education or the fine arts. The order’s medal consists of two crossed silver palms on a purple velvet ribbon.

In his presentation, Goisbault declared McRoberts to be “one of the best specialists of Canadian politics, in particular on the topic of federalism and the relations between Quebec and the rest of Canada, which continues to be the defining question in Canadian politics.”

Goisbault concluded his address by stating that Glendon is the only liberal arts institution in Ontario offering an integrated bilingual education. In his review of McRoberts’ career and accomplishments, Goisbault added, “you have always proven yourself an outstanding promoter of the French language in Canada.”

More about Kenneth McRoberts

McRoberts holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MA and PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. A faculty member of York’s Political Science Department since 1969, he was appointed principal of Glendon in 1999. He is a past president of the Canadian Political Science Association, and served for six years as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue internationale d’études canadiennes.

               Right: Ken McRoberts wearing his new award

McRoberts has written extensively on Quebec politics, Canadian federalism, language policy, constitutional questions and comparative nationalist movements. He is the author of several books which have received popular acclaim and have been translated into French and other languages. These include Quebec: Social change and political crisis; Misconceiving Canada: The struggle for national unity; and most recently, Catalonia: Nation building without a state.

This article was submitted to YFile by Marika Kemeny, Glendon’s public relations and    communications advisor.

Below: Rear centre, Ken McRoberts, surrounded by members of his family (on his immediate left and right); as well as Lorna R. Marsden, far left; Consul General of France in Toronto M. Hugues Goisbault, second from right; and Glendon Acting Vice-Principal (Academic) Francoise Mougeon, far right