Watson Kirkconnell

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Watson Kirkconnell
Born (1895-05-16)16 May 1895
Port Hope, Ontario
Died 26 February 1977(1977-02-26) (aged 81)
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Awards Order of Canada

Watson Kirkconnell, OC FRSC (16 May 1895 – 26 February 1977) was a Canadian scholar, university administrator and translator. He is well known in Iceland, Eastern and Central Europe and among Canadians of different origins for his translations of national poetry, particularly from Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian and Serbo-Croatian. He collaborated with distinguished scholars and academics of his time in perfecting the translations. One of his most remarkable translations is The Bards of Wales, a poem of Hungarian poet János Arany.

After World War II, Kirkconnell wrote a poem about Draža Mihailović, alleging that the weak and indecisive Serb general's execution on July 17, 1946 at the hands of Josip Broz Tito's victorious Yugoslav Partisans had followed a show trial and that charges of terrorist war crimes against civilians and of Chetnik collaboration with occupying Italian and German Axis forces had been trumped up. The execution solidified Communist rule in Yugoslavia for the next four decades, before the federal state ultimately disintegrated into civil war after Tito's death, when latent internal tensions were no longer being suppressed.

From 1948 to 1964, he was the ninth President of Acadia University. He was also on numerous occasions shortlisted for the prestigious Nobel Prize.

In 1968, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his services at home and abroad as an educator, scholar and writer". In 1936, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Frederic William Patterson
President of Acadia University
1948-July 1964
Succeeded by
James MacDonald Richardson Beveridge