Henry Bertram Mayo was elected to CAUT’s first executive in 1951.
Renowned Canadian scholar, and founding member of CAUT, Henry Bertram Mayo has died at the age of 97. After a long life teaching in the universities he loved, Henry succumbed to old age on Jan. 15, 2009.
Henry was born in 1911 in Fortune, Newfoundland and attended Memorial University College, won a scholarship to Dalhousie and then a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in 1935. He married in 1938 and worked briefly in Newfoundland, before joining the University of Alberta in 1940.
The war increasingly occupied his mind, and he joined the RCAF, serving as Adjutant to a Spitfire squadron in Europe. After the war he earned his DPhil at Oxford then returned to the UofA in 1947, where in addition to teaching in the department of political economy he served as department chair. In 1950 he was elected to the first executive of the UofA’s Association of Teaching Staff. He played a lead role in establishing CAUT in 1951 and served on its first executive committee.
In the following decades he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, served as the first president of the Canadian Political Science Association, and lectured at several universities in Canada and the United States, including an appointment as senior professor and chair of the political science department at the University of Western Ontario and Carleton University, where he completed his academic career, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1977.
He enjoyed an international reputation as a political philosopher and received multiple honorary degrees. “Henry, who was dubbed ‘dean of our profession,’ had a remarkable career, but was modest when it came to his own accomplishments, choosing instead to focus his attention on others,” said Elliot Tepper, a Carleton colleague and longtime friend. “He was a brilliant man, a good storyteller and had a great sense of humour.” Willard Mullins, another Carleton colleague, also sang Henry’s praises. “He wrote in a variety of fields and he always wrote concretely and clearly. It was said of Henry that he recognized academic humbug and was able to cut through it, and for that we’re all indebted to him.”