Distinguished Academic Award Given to Lee Lorch
On Wednesday May 9th, Lee Lorch, honourary president of the CCFA, was presented with an award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), which has over 66,000 members. The Distinguished Academic Award is CAUT’s highest honour and is given annually to an academic in recognition of his or her excellence in all aspects of academic life, scholarship, teaching and service. Usually, the award is presented at the CAUT spring council but unfortunately, Professor Lorch’s health will not permit him to travel to Ottawa. The award was presented at the Bridgepoint Health Centre with over thirty of Lee’s family, friends and colleagues present. Guests included former Member of Parliament Jean Augustine, former speaker of the Ontario Legislature David Warner, and former speaker of the Ontario Legislature Alvin Curling.
In her remarks to the audience, Jean Augustine said Lee is a champion, a fighter, someone who has gone beyond, to support country and ensure things he believed in would be heard. He worked with her in the Canada Cuba Parliamentary group. “Lee lived a life that is full-service, and was always encouraging, nudging, you in quiet fashion to ensure all can move forward in a society where justice is supreme.”
The award was presented to Lee by Jim Turk, Executive Director of CAUT, who spoke of Lee’s work as teacher, researcher and community activist.
Lee Lorch was given the microphone noted the struggles for the 8 hour day that is marked all over the world on May first, and the struggles for the rights of women, in which is wife Grace had been active after being fired from her teaching job because she “committed matromony” and the school board did not allow married women work. Lee delighted everyone present to stories of his past work in the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950’s, which resulted in his being fired from four different universities before coming to Canada to work and make his home.
Marvin Muldoon, of the Mathematics Deparment at York University, and a coleague of Lee for over 50 years, told of how during a CUPE strike at York University in 2000, Lee insisted they walk in solidarity with the picketers at all seven different entrances to the University. He never gave up. He commented on how well Lee is looking, making a wonderful recovery due to the good care at Bridgepoint.