Honorary awards

Sir Charles Morris

The degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred ad eundem gradum upon Sir Charles Morris by the Chancellor Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn at the ceremony held in the Great Hall at 3.00pm on Thursday 15 July 1954.

Sir Charles was Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, chairman of the Home Universities' Committee of the United Kingdom, and an authority on university government and administration, and on adult education.

He was visiting Australian universities at the invitation of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee, and would be addressing university groups in capital cities and in Armidale on university government and administration.

Sir Charles Morris (left) and the Chancellor (right),

Sir Charles Morris (left) and the Chancellor (right), photo from The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1954, National Library of Australia.


Sir Charles spoke at the ceremony after the Chancellor had conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

He said that the peoples of the world looked to universities to play a tremendous part in preserving freedom and dispassionate study. He said a solution had to be found to the intellectual and spiritual battle or ferment going on now, if civilisation and human happiness were to survive.

"I think that peoples and Governments have an instinctive feeling that, in our time, there is an intellectual and spiritual battle – perhaps I ought to use a more neutral word and say 'ferment' – going on, to which we must find a solution if civilisation and human happiness are to survive.

The advance of the technical spirit, the triumphs of technical skills in a world in which people perhaps expect too much of techniques, has brought us to a state when many of the young are in danger of feeling some fear – I won't say despair – about the future.

Everyone knows that the ancient wisdom, the knowledge about human nature which comes from the great studies which universities have always conducted, from history, from theology, from philosophy, from the study of the classics and the ancient world – those things must be married with the things which we are so good at discovering to-day, or else we perish.

That is particularly emphasised at the present time by the predicament in which freedom, or our view in the Western world of what freedom is, finds itself.

Freedom is a precious thing necessary to our survival and if freedom is lost, all is lost."

From The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1954, National Library of Australia.