Michael Kelway Oliver

Michael Kelway Oliver

Michael Kelway Oliver

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Michael Kelway Oliver, OC (February 2, 1925 – September 29, 2004) was a Canadian academic, political organizer and the sixth president of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

Oliver was born in North Bay, Ontario He finished his BA, MA and PhD studies at McGill University in 1948, 1950 and 1957 respectively. He stayed at McGill to teach economics and political science, eventually founding the school's French Canada Studies program. From 1967 to 1972, he was McGill's vice-principal (academic).

While teaching at McGill, Oliver became actively interested in the left-wing Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). When that party morphed into the New Democratic Party in 1961, Oliver was its first national president, a post he held until 1963. He then began a six-year stint as research director of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, a body co-chaired by then Carleton University president Davidson Dunton — the man Oliver would eventually replace in 1972.

Oliver's tenure as Carleton's president was a period of serious financial hardship for the university owing to dwindling provincial funding and a post-baby-boom decline in enrolment growth. Oliver's cutbacks did not endear him to the faculty, but the student government would later name its flagship campus bar Oliver's after him.

Oliver never lost his sense of humour, nor his capacity for being frank. At the Fall Convocation in 1978 (his last), his...
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