|Honorary Degree Recipient, T. Lax, 1952 (Photograph Collection, A-1672)|
Convocation date: May 9, 1952
Discipline / contribution: public service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Thomas Lax, ISO, FCA, who over long generations distinguished himself in the public service of this province.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Mr. Lax shares with Mr. Anthony Eden the honor of being born at Bishop Auckland in the County of Durham, England. In 1911 he came to Canada and in December of that year, while stone masons were still hard at work on the Legislative Building in Regina, he entered the Provincial Audit Office. In 1916 he was appointed Supervising Accountant in the Treasury Department and in 1925 became Superintendent of Revenue. After serving as Acting Deputy Provincial Treasurer, he was appointed Provincial Auditor in 1936. But the Treasury giveth and the Treasury taketh away. In 1938 he returned as Deputy Provincial Treasurer, a post he occupied (while labouring at the same time on innumerable government boards and commissions) until his retirement in 1950. In the King's Honour List of  the Imperial Service Order was conferred on him an dlong before this his profession had recognized him by making him a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
From this brief and incomplete chronicle at least one significant fact emerges. Beginning with the Hon. Walter Scott and the Hon. J.A. Calder, Mr. Lax served under every premier and every provincial treasurer the Province of Saskatchewan has ever had. Provincial Treasurers might come and go but Tom Lax gave to each the same unstinting loyalty, critical judment and prudent counsel. He knew perfectly the proper role of the administrator and civil servant in the working of the British system of cabinet government. This role he respected admirably, whatever his private reservations, sustained by the saving grace of a sense of humour, may have been. Many of his friends must have heard words of warm praise from Ministers of the Crown, by no means all of the same political complexion, whom he served through the long bleak years of drought and depression.
When he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University in 1946 and later to the University Hospital Board we gained greatly from his long experience and wise counsel as his interest grew and deepened. To-day in honouring a true friend of the University and a public servant of the quality of Mr. Lax the University honours itself.
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate of the University I ask you to confer on Thomas Lax the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: G.E. Britnell
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