|Honorary Degree Recipient, Cliff Wright, May 26, 1988 (Photograph Collection A-7982)|
Convocation date: May 26, 1988
Discipline / contribution: public service ; community service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor I present to you his Worship, Clifford E. Wright.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Cliff Wright was born in Saskatoon and has lived his entire life in our City. He attended school at Albert and Victoria Public Schools, Nutana Collegiate, and the University of Saskatchewan. In 1947 he commenced his employment with Smith Brothers and Wilson Ltd., and has worked there since then. In 1970, he became the Saskatchewan Manager and Vice-President of that Company.
His wife Betty has been his lifetime friend, his partner and his great assistant. They have four children, three sons and a daughter, recently they have become proud grandparents.
Prior to his election to an aldermanic post in October 1966, he had served as a volunteer in sport and recreation programs in Saskatoon for two decades. He served as an alderman for 10 years until his election as Mayor in October 1976. He has now served as Mayor for four successive terms. In October of 1988, he will have served a total of 22 years on City Council and will retire as our longest serving mayor.
The contributions Cliff Wright has made to this community during his 22 years of public office are enormous. These mirror his personal insight and vision; his optimism; his energy and drive; and most of all his selfless dedication to his community. The list of his community service activities during this period is, quite literally, too long to mention in a citation of this nature. Four examples demonstrate the breadth of these contributions.
In health care, he was a member of the University Hospital Board from 1965-1976 and was Board Chairman from 1969-1976. He is currently involved in the City Hospital Building Campaign.
In recreation and cultural activities Cliff has been instrumental in attracting events such as the Canada Winter Games, Labatt Brier, Western Canada Games, the North American and World Fastball Championships, Memorial Cup and the Canada Summer Games to Saskatoon. The legacy of such events is enhanced facilities for the people of this community and is part of Cliff's legacy to us. Cliff has also been a principal force behind the creation of the Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre, the Saskatoon Field House, several suburban recreation complexes and lastly and most notably Saskatchewan Place.
He has been a powerful force supporting the Mendel Gallery, the Library, the Symphony, as well as Folkfest.
He has also initiated twining agreements between the City of Saskatoon and Shijiazhuang, China; Otaru, Japan; and Umea, Sweden.
A third area in which Cliff has worked tirelessly for the people of this City has been with the many groups which provide human focus to our community. Whether it be children through the Play Village, YMCA and YWCA, youth through the Youth Employment Initiatives Committee, Big Brothers, and Big Sisters, or seniors through social housing programs Cliff's dedicated efforts have touched citizens of all ages.
Through his work for such groups as the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Parenting Incorporated, Cosmopolitan Industries, the United Way and various federal and provincial bodies in housing and rental assistance programs Cliff has displayed his concern for the broad spectrum of our community.
Finally there is education. Most particularly the University of Saskatchewan. This University shares in what Mayor Wright calls one of "the greatest love stories of our time", love between the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan. Indeed, no city in this nation enjoys as fruitful a relationship between "town and gown" as this City. Mayor Wright's efforts over the years have nurtured this strong bond.
He has encouraged the Board of Trade and the University to cooperate on projects and programs. He was instrumental in drawing together the University and the Province with the City in the formation of the Meewasin Valley Authority on whose Board he has enthusiastically served since its inception. As well, he as drawn students, faculty and staff into civic committees concerned with the environment, recreation, municipal planning, engineering problems and social services. He was successful in helping convince the Federal Government to relocate the National Hydrology Research Centre onto our campus, and helped convince them to assume the costs for the continuing operation of the John G. Diefenbaker Centre.
Most recently he persuaded the Federal Government to hold the National Forum on Post Secondary Education in Saskatoon last fall, a meeting that engendered the phrase referred to in subsequent meetings as "The Spirit of Saskatoon".
I think that phrase "the Spirit of Saskatoon" is a testament that might be used to describe Clifford Wright's work in this community over the last 3 decades. No one as much as Clifford Wright personifies the Spirit of Saskatoon. He has maintained not only a continuing love affair with the University but a deep and committed love for this City
and its people.
And therefore, Eminent Chancellor for his distinguished record of public service to the community and for the harmonious relationship be has fostered between the City and this University, I present to you his Worship, Clifford E. Wright, Mayor of the City of Saskatoon and ask that you confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honouris causa.
Degree presented by: Howard R. Nixon
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