Distinguished editor awarded Medal of Excellence

June 22, 2016

Image-story-medal-James_MarshJames Marsh is the founding editor of the Canadian Encyclopedia


As part of the Faculty of Arts and Science Convocation ceremony, MacEwan University announced that renowned Canadian editor James Marsh received a Medal of Excellence.

James is a distinguished editor and writer who has made a major contribution to Canada’s knowledge of itself and its history. He was the founding editor and longtime editor-in-chief of the Canadian Encyclopedia where he brought together thousands of scholars and writers from across Canada to create the single greatest summation of the elusive Canadian identity.

In 1970, Canadian publisher Jack McClelland and the Institute of Canadian Studies at Carleton University hired James to be the editor of the Carleton Library, a series of scholarly works on Canadian history and social science. In a period spanning 10 years, he edited 80 volumes in the series and co-authored his first major book, New Beginnings, A Social History of Canada.

In 1980, after a national search by publisher Mel Hurtig, James moved from Ottawa to Edmonton to become editor-in-chief of the Canadian Encyclopedia. James drew up plans for Canada’s first comprehensive encyclopedia, hiring 40 staff and 200 consultants, and contracting several thousand contributors. The ambitious project, comprised of four million words, was published in September 1985 to laudatory reviews and commercial success.

James is a member of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Lorne Dawson Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of his achievement in producing the Canadian Encyclopedia, as well as the Alberta Centennial Medal for Albertans who have made “significant contributions to their fellow citizens.”

James is one of four individuals selected to receive a Medal of Excellence during the Spring Convocation ceremonies. Medals of Excellence are awarded to individuals from the broader community for their outstanding contributions and achievements. These individuals have contributed extensively to the quality of life in our city and beyond.

MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the more than 2,200 members of the Class of 2016. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished award honourees.

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