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Former PM marks historic Roosevelt visit


To mark the 70th anniversary today of US President Franklin Roosevelt’s (FDR) visit to Queen’s to receive an Honorary Degree, The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th prime minister, is donating to the University, a copy of FDR’s speaking notes from his Queen’s address.

“The honorary degree President Franklin Roosevelt accepted at Queen’s, and the historic convocation address he delivered that day, is one of the most significant events in the history of our university,” says Principal Tom Williams, in saluting the former prime minister for his donation. "We are very grateful that Mr. Mulroney has chosen to help us mark our unique connection to President Roosevelt and Canadian-American relations through this generous donation. It will become an honored part of our collections.”

President Bill Clinton presented the specially framed copy of parts of the FDR-Queen’s address to Mr. Mulroney to mark their first meeting at the White House on February 5, 1993 while both men held office.

“The speech by President Roosevelt at Queen’s University is a true milestone in Canadian-American relations,” Mr. Mulroney said. "He visited the Queen’s campus as the world’s clouds darkened with the threat of war and pledged that his nation would defend Canada if his neighbour was ever attacked. I recall learning about the Queen’s speech in my own student days at St. Francis Xavier University and I am pleased to be able to donate this important artifact to the Canadian university where the speech was given. I hope Queen’s students of today and in the future will find it valuable for their studies,” says Mr. Mulroney, Canada’s prime minister from 1984 to 1993.

“During our time in joint office President Clinton and I were able to work effectively on trade and other bilateral issues and continue the crucial tradition of close Canada-US cooperation on a multi-lateral level in world affairs,” Mr. Mulroney continued. “As I wrote in my Memoirs, ‘Bill Clinton, with whom I served for only a matter of months (January until June 1993) is clearly the most gifted politician, by far, of his generation. We developed an excellent personal relationship, and I was not surprised to see him evolve as a highly effective world leader.’ We remain friends to this day.”

The gift will become part of the permanent collections of Queen’s University Archives.

“This is indeed an exciting day for Queen’s Archives and its holdings, filling the one gap in the documentation of one of the most important events to ever take place at Queen’s,” says Archivist Paul Banfield. “Mr. Mulroney’s generous gift, consisting of several pages of President Roosevelt’s speaking notes on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree, is added to the documentation we already have of this historic convocation from its conception, through its meticulous planning, to its actual delivery.”

The previous holdings include a large number of photographs of the proceedings, many of which capture the President reading from his notes, and moving image and sound recording footage of him addressing the crowd in the old Richardson Stadium.

Listen to FDR’s address at Queen’s University on Queen’s on iTunesU

For further information contact Lorinda Peterson, Communications Coordinator, 613 533-3234,, or Molly Kehoe, Communications Assistant, 613 533-2877,, Queen’s News & Media Services


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