Volume 95, Issue 2

Thursday, May 31, 2001


France knights Davenport

Summer Games preparations continue

Eating disorder clinic opens at Western

No smokes for you - restaurants smoke-free by 2002

USC and union reach agreement

Robin Hood fanatics invade Western

Study: obesity affects mental health

News Briefs

France knights Davenport
50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong

By Chris Lackner and Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

He is a president. He is a doctor. He is a scholar. It only makes logical sense that Western President Paul Davenport has now become one of the Knights of France. 

Last Monday, in a ceremony at Gibbon's Lodge, Davenport was presented with the Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur [Knight of the Legion of Honour] by Hugues Goisbault, the Consul General of France in Toronto, for outstanding service to the French nation.

Presently, a 20-year period of exemplary public service or 25 years of professional work are required to be considered for the French knighthood. Once awarded, being named a Knight of the Legion of Honor is a lifetime appointment. 

"The Legion d'honneur was created by Napoleon in 1802 and was originally meant for soldiers of great honour," Goisbault said, "It was expanded to recognize foreigners who have strengthened the ties between France and Canada."

He said the foreigners who have received the award number approximately ten people, including the former premier of Ontario, David Peterson. "This award is a symbol of France recognizing its friends," he said.

Davenport has heavily promoted academic exchanges between France and Canada and noted the Davenport family's lengthy and rich personal history with France and its various regions, Goisbault said. "[Paul Davenport] loves France, its landscape, its weather and its 19th century writing. [He] also loves France due to his love of a French lady."

Davenport met his wife of 32 years, Josette Brotons, while attending Stanford University in France in 1967, he explained, noting his family returns to France every summer. "When I got to France I realized the historical importance of our second language. I learned there was a world outside North America," he said.

"1967 changed my life and the lives of Josette and my children in ways I'm ever thankful for," he said.

He praised France for its extraordinary traditions and its desire to maintain them. "This award recognized the wonderful links between Western and [various] French universities, as well as the ties between Canada and France that go back three or four hundred years."

Stephen Adams, a member of Western's Board of Governors, said the award reflects the high degree Western places upon French and the arts.

"It recognizes Dr. Davenport's commitment to France and honors him for the warm relationship Western has with the French language," Adams said.

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