William Lewis Morton
William Lewis Morton (1908 - 1980)
O.C., M.A., B.LITT., LL.D., D.LITT., F.R.HIST.S.
Third Chancellor (1977 to 1980)
The late Professor William Morton was a highly respected historian who served Trent in many roles. He was a professor of History in Trent’s early days, the first Master of Champlain College, and later became the Vanier Professor and Chancellor of the University.
Professor Morton was born in Gladstone, Manitoba and educated at the University of Manitoba and at Oxford University where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. A distinguished and prolific author, Professor Morton’s work focused on the history of Canada and on university governance topics. Renowned for his studies of Canada's west and north, he was author of The Canadian Identity (1961) and other works, and was executive editor of the 17-volume Canadian Centenary Series, A History of Canada. His extensive teaching experience included appointments at St. John's College, United College, Brandon College, and the University of Manitoba where he was Professor of History and Provost of University College until his appointment to Trent University in 1966. Professor Morton had a close interest in university governance, and was the author of a number of articles on university governance in Canada.
Professor Morton was the first representative of a university Senate to be elected to full membership of the Board of Governors of any university in Ontario. He was President of the Canadian Historical Association, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a recipient of honorary degrees from several Canadian universities. Professor Morton died on December 7, 1980. His distinction as a scholar, his renown as a senior Canadian academic, and his service in public affairs are known across Canada and beyond.
Each year Trent University hosts the W.L. Morton lecture series, inviting a leading Canadian scholar to give a public lecture on their work, and also to lead an intimate seminar primarily for graduate students. Organized by the History Department, this annual lecture series is named in honour of W.L. Morton.