Larkin Kerwin

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John Larkin Kerwin
1st President of the Canadian Space Agency
In office
March 1, 1989 – 1992
Governor GeneralJeanne Sauvé
Prime MinisterBrian Mulroney
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byRoland Doré
Personal details
John Larkin Kerwin

(1924-06-22)June 22, 1924
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
DiedMay 1, 2004(2004-05-01) (aged 79)
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Spouse(s)Maria G. Turcot
Children8 children
AwardsOrder of Canada
National Order of Quebec

John Larkin Kerwin, CC OQ FRSC (June 22, 1924 – May 1, 2004) was a Canadian physicist.

Born in Quebec City, he studied physics at St. Francis Xavier University and obtained his master's degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His received his D.Sc. from Université Laval. He was Chairman of the Department of Physics from 1961 to 1967. He was the first lay Rector of Université Laval, holding this position from 1972 to 1977.[1]

From 1954 to 1955 he was the president of the Canadian Association of Physicists. From 1980 to 1985 he was President of the National Research Council of Canada and was the first president of the Canadian Space Agency and coined the term Canadarm. In 1982 he received the Gold Medal from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. In 1987 he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada. In 1989 he was president of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

In 1976, he received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University.[2] In 1978 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1980. In 1988 he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was president from 1976 to 1977. He was made an Officer of the Légion d'honneur de France.

He died in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He was married to Maria G. Turcot and had 8 children.[3]


  • Knight of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Companion of the Order of Canada
  • Officer de l'Ordre national du Quebec
  • Officier de l'Ordre de la Légion d'honneur (France)


  • "Physics in Canada" (PDF). Canadian Association of Physicists. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 15, 2005. Retrieved March 27, 2005.
  • "Remembering Former NRC President, Dr. Larkin Kerwin". National Research Council of Canada. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  • ^ O’Brien, J.W. "Honorary Degree Citation - Larkin Kerwin". Concordia University. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  • ^ "Honorary Degree Citation - Larkin Kerwin* | Concordia University Archives". Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  • ^ "Profile: (John) Larkin Kerwin". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  • External links[edit]

    Academic offices
    Preceded by
    Louis-Albert Vachon
    Rector of Université Laval
    Succeeded by
    Jean-Guy Paquet
    Professional and academic associations
    Preceded by
    Samuel Delbert Clark
    President of the Royal Society of Canada
    Succeeded by
    Robert Folinsbee