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Sir Robert Falconer
|5th President of the University of Toronto|
|Preceded by||James Loudon|
|Succeeded by||Henry John Cody|
|President of the Royal Society of Canada|
|Preceded by||Charles Camsell|
|Succeeded by||Francis Ernest Lloyd|
|Born||February 10, 1867|
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
|Died||November 4, 1943(aged 76)|
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh|
He was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the eldest child of a Presbyterian minister and his wife. He attended high school in Port of Spain Trinidad while his father was posted there and won a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He graduated MA in 1889 and then spent three years at the divinity school of the Free Church of Scotland.
Falconer was ordained in 1892 but never held a clerical position. He returned to Canada that year and took a lecturership in New Testament Greek and exegesis at the Presbyterian college in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also began to publish articles in learned journals. In 1907 he became president of the University of Toronto. He steered a middle path, combining pure scholarship with practicality. Thus he introduced more vocational subjects, while also developing higher degree programmes. He sought to maximise the independence of the university, battling unsuccessfully to retain German faculty members in 1914. Nonetheless he was knighted in 1917 for his advocacy of wartime recruitment. Falconer believed in the need to increase public awareness of, and accessibility to, Canada's historical records. He was a long time member of The Champlain Society's Council, serving as its Vice-President (1909-1935) and President (1936-42).
Falconer wrote several books on current affairs, including The German Tragedy and its Meaning for Canada (1915), Idealism in National Character (1920) and The United States as a Neighbour (1926). He was an advocate of broad cooperation between the English speaking nations in international affairs, but was concerned to avoid American dominance of these relationships. Ill health obliged him to decline the principalship of the University of Edinburgh in 1929, and he retired in 1932. However he continued his scholarly work, producing Pastoral Epistles, his most notable work of religious scholarship in 1937.
Sir Robert Falconer: a biography by James G Greenlee was published in 1988.
- "Robert Alexander Falconer(1867-1943)". www.marianopolis.edu. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- A.B. MCKILLOP. "Falconer, Sir Robert Alexander". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- The Champlain Society. "Former Officers of the Champlain Society (1905-2012)". http://www.champlainsociety.ca/about-us/. External link in
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- Proceedings and transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. 1917. p. 3.
- "Yale Bestows Academic Honors; Sir Robert Falconer, Professor Chittenden and E.A. Robinson Receive Degrees," New York Times. June 22, 1922.
- Archival papers held at University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services
- Works by Robert Alexander Falconer at Faded Page (Canada)
|Professional and academic associations|
| President of the Royal Society of Canada
Francis Ernest Lloyd