President Bloom's Charge to J. Robert S. Prichard '71
Robert Prichard, you are a true servant of the public good, whose dynamic leadership has enabled two distinguished institutions to reach exceptional levels of quality and to contribute fundamentally to the quality of life of the Canadian nation.
When you were four years old your family emigrated from Wales to Canada. In 1967, you entered Swarthmore, and in your junior year participated in the Honors program in Economics. But at the end of that year, encouraged by a faculty mentor in awe of your remarkable talent, you left Swarthmore to embark directly on graduate study at the University of Chicago Business School. You earned your MBA there in 1971, and subsequently completed law degrees at both the University of Toronto and at Yale Law School.
In 1976, you joined the law faculty of the University of Toronto, and from 1984 to 1990 served as its Dean. Establishing a distinguished academic reputation in the area of the intersection of law and economics, you have published more than forty books and articles on topics ranging from labor law, medical malpractice, federalism, and public policy to corporate structure and practice.
Then, in 1990, you became the youngest ever President of the University of Toronto and, over the next decade, transformed it into the preeminent university in Canada. Under your leadership, its endowment increased fivefold, and the quality of its curriculum and faculty, and of its commitment to diversity and public service, became a model for all university education.
In 2002, you shifted the focus of your extraordinary talents from the public to the private sector to become President and CEO of the Torstar Corporation, Canada's leading media conglomerate and publisher of the Toronto Star, that nation's largest daily newspaper. Under your leadership, Torstar has earned an exceptional reputation for upholding the highest professional standards, for transformative impact on the quality of life in Toronto and for contribution to public understanding and critical engagement with the significant issues of our time.
You also serve on the board of directors of several major Canadian and international corporations, actively participate in a variety of academic and non-profit organizations, and have been the recipient of a great many prestigious awards, crowned by the Order of Canada, which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation.
Your sister and niece are graduates of Swarthmore and your nephew, Andrew Sniderman, is graduating today.
Robert Prichard, you are a distinguished scholar of law and economics and a leader of both public and private institutions who, through those institutions, has defined a international standard of excellence for educational and corporate responsibility. As you return to the college that you passed through too quickly 40 years ago, we are delighted and proud to have this opportunity to bestow upon you a Swarthmore degree.
Upon the recommendation of the faculty, and by the power vested in me by the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I have the honor to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws.