W.L. Morton Lecture
Named in honour of W.L. Morton, the Canadian historian and former Master of Trent's Champlain College, this prestigious lecture invites a leading Canadian scholar to give a public lecture on their work, and to also lead an intimate seminar primarily for graduate students.
In 2019, the W.L. Morton Lecture will be presented by Dr. Allan Downey.
William Lewis Morton was born in 1908 in Gladstone Manitoba, and was educated at the University of Manitoba and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 1966, Morton came to Trent as the first Master of Champlain College, and from 1969 to 1975 was the Vanier Professor of Canadian History. In 1977 he became Chancellor of Trent, a position he held until shortly before his death in 1980.
W.L. Morton is perhaps best remembered as a public historian, as he once said “History is not an academic mystery, it’s what the community thinks about itself, how it sorts out ideas.” This affinity for the public construction and understanding of history was one that he shared with author Margaret Laurence, who become Chancellor of Trent after Morton. In memory of Morton, she wrote: “What I share, most of all, with Dr. Morton is the sense of my place, the Prairies, and of my people ... within the context of their many and varied histories, and the desire to make all these things come alive in the reader’s mind ... He was a great human being, a great historian, a great and beloved Canadian.”
The annual W.L. Morton Lectures at Trent University were endowed as a tribute in memoria to W.L. Morton in 1980, shortly following his death. The theme of the annual lectures focus attention on matters of interest or concern to Canadians in fields such as history, politics, literature, academic arts & sciences, culture, business, the professions of public service and other appropriate fields. It was Professor Morton's expressed interest that the lectures might favour younger historians and scholars or those who have achieved early distinction. The Lecture series is presented through the cooperation of the School for the Study of Canada (Undergraduate), The Department of History and Champlain college at Trent University.
With acknowledgements to the Manitoba Historical Society for biographical information