Passings: York’s longest-serving orator, Professor Emeritus Maurice Elliott, dies

Maurice Elliott, a distinguished long-serving professor emeritus at York University, died peacefully on Dec. 8 with his wife Carole at his side.

Maurice Elliott
Maurice Elliott

Professor Elliott was a professor of English at York University from 1966 to 2002, and served York University as Master of Winter’s College (1980 to 1987); Chair of the Department of English (1993 to 1999); Chair of Senate (1998 to 1999) and as a member of York’s Board of Governors.

In 1996, he was awarded a University Professorship in recognition of his accomplishments, both academic and within the University community. His research and teaching focused on the poetry of the Romantic period and Irish writing in English.

Prof. Elliott was the University’s longest-serving orator, an honorary position that he held from 1987 to 2004. He contributed a body of work that includes more than 170 citations honouring the installation and farewell of chancellors and presidents, honorary degree recipients, University and Distinguished Research Professors, and more.

His contributions to the University were acknowledged in 2009 during York’s Spring Convocation ceremonies with a 231-page volume of his citations – a brilliant red and gold book that was simply titled, Citations: Maurice Slater Elliott. It has been said that he elevated the delivery of citations to a memorable art form.

Prof. Elliott was born in England, and in 1961 immigrated to Canada after graduating from Cambridge University, and later earned his PhD from the University of Toronto.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carole; children, Adam, Giles, Lucy and John (Valleau); six grandchildren, Ginger, Maxwell, Sam, Slater, Carolyn, and Jack; and many friends and colleagues at York University.

Funeral services are planned for Thursday, Dec. 15 at the United Church in Stouffville, Ontario. Services will begin at 11am, with a reception to follow at O’Neill Funeral Home. The University flags on the both the Keele and Glendon campuses will be lowered to half-mast on Dec. 15 in tribute to Prof. Elliott.

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