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Edith Iglauer

Edith Iglauer Receives the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa



Victoria, BC - November 15, 2006 – At the University of Victoria’s November 15, 2006 Convocation Orator Dr. Lynne Van Luven began, “Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege to introduce Edith Iglauer Daly White, the journalist and writer who has long been a pioneer in her craft.”



Dr. Van Luven continued, “Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Edith Iglauer has travelled the world pursuing a career that is the stuff of movies. In the early 1940s, she covered the activities of U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; in 1945, she worked as a war correspondent in the Mediterranean theatre, mainly in Italy and what was then Yugoslavia, for The Cleveland News. Next, she moved to New York City, where she covered the beginning of the United Nations for Harper’s Magazine. In 1961 she travelled to Canada’s North for the first time. In 1974, she moved permanently to Canada. She and her husband Franklin join us today, after driving to Victoria from their home on the Sunshine Coast.”



“Edith Iglauer obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley in 1938 and went on to study journalism at Columbia University. Her byline has appeared in major North American magazines, including McCall’s, The Christian Science Monitor, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and, in Canada, Maclean’s. She began working for The New Yorker in 1961, where she wrote for the great editor William Shawn. For that magazine, she published countless exceptional articles, including a frequently quoted profile of Pierre Trudeau shortly after he became Prime Minister of Canada.”



“Iglauer’s two sons, Jay and Richard, were still in grammar school when she “started going North” 45 years ago. Over the span of her long and highly successful career, she has always been attracted to ground-breaking stories, whether they involved laying the foundations of the World Trade Centre, a story she followed for several years, the building of an ice road in the Arctic, the making of a prime minister or the thinking of a West Coast fisherman. She maintains that journalists are the watchdogs of democracy; she believes in the power of the ‘still small voice of truth.’”



“Aside from countless articles, Edith Iglauer is the author of five books and is at work on a sixth. Her first book, published in 1966, was The New People. Reprinted as Inuit Journey in 1979 and again in 2000, it is essential reading for anyone interested in Inuit art in the Eastern Arctic, now Nunavut.”



“Denison’s Ice Road, first published in 1974 and since reissued three times, documents the building of a 325-mile winter road from Yellowknife to Great Bear Lake. To research that book, Iglauer travelled with the truck crew and was occasionally dragooned into cooking their meals, a not entirely happy event for either greenhorn chef or disgruntled diners.”



“‘I’ve been writing all my life,’ Iglauer told John Denison as they jolted northward along the ice road. ‘Since I was 12, when I began a running novel in my head that I never wrote down. I used to be thinking about that novel while I was riding around on a little horse my father had got for me.’”



“In Seven Stones, published in 1981, Iglauer completed a book-length portrait of architect Arthur Erickson which had begun as a New Yorker profile. She was also an early chronicler of the late Bill Reid’s sculpture and carving. For British Columbians, Edith Iglauer’s most beloved work is Fishing with John, nominated for a Governor General’s award in 1989. It is a wonderful account of the four years an urbane New York woman and an eccentric, scholarly fisherman spent together on a 41-foot trawler called More Kelp. Iglauer’s research turned into a love story that ended only with John Daly’s sudden death.”



“In her introduction to her 1991 collection of stories, The Strangers Next Door, she wrote: ‘I am not just an American journalist writing about Canada for Americans, but a Canadian journalist writing about America for Canadians as well. Both countries, I have discovered, still regard their neighbors across our common border as “the strangers next door,” and like any concerned relative, I want them to know and respect one another as much as I do.’”



Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present Edith Iglauer for the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.”