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Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba on March 1, 1949

Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1949 Convocation Address

May 30, 2014 — 

As we prepare for Convocation 2014, we look back to a past ceremony.

In 1999, two staff members who were exploring unidentified material in the basement of Elizabeth Dafoe Library came across a 2 1/2 record set of 78s. These 78s are a live recording of an acceptance speech given by Eleanor Roosevelt during the awarding of her honorary degree by the University of Manitoba on March 1, 1949.

Eleanor Roosevelt recieves her honorary degree from the U of M

In his speech introducing Eleanor Roosevelt, University of Manitoba President A.H.S. Gillson remarked: “Throughout her life she has constructed a career in the field of social service which has entailed travelling many hundreds of thousands of miles, writing well more than a million words, giving innumerable lectures on the platform and over the radio, becoming in the deepest sense the First Lady of the United States.”

She was the American delegate to the UN General Assembly meetings held in Paris in 1948 and Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1949. She was also the widow of deceased President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Once when asked what was her greatest fear, her reply was: “My greatest fear has always been that I would be afraid – physically, mentally or morally, and allow myself to be influenced by fear instead of by my honest convictions.”



Section 1
Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech begins with her observations of the relations between Canada and the United States.

Section 2
She directs her comments to the students and the returned student Veterans and their role in preventing war in the future.

Section 3
She talks about the devastation of war and its physical effects.

Section 4
Comparing physical destruction with mental destruction, Mrs. Roosevelt again asks the Veterans to help in ensuring that war does not occur again.

Section 5
Mrs. Roosevelt talks about the roles of the United Nations and governments in achieving peace.

Section 6
Her final remarks are to the students and the value of education.

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