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

Elliott was a professor of English at York University from 1966 to 2002, and also 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 his University Professorship. His research and teaching focus was primarily on the poetry of the Romantic period, in addition to Irish writing in English.

Elliott was the University’s longest-standing orator, from 1987 to 2004, and contributed a body of work that includes over 170 citations honouring the installation and farewell of chancellors and presidents, honorary degree recipients, University and Distinguished Research Professors and more.

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

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.

Funeral services are planned for Thursday, Dec. 15 at the United Church in Stouffville at 11am, with a reception to follow at O’Neill Funeral Home.

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