Emmett O'Grady, a specialist in Canadian and American literature, was a member of the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts for 33 years. He enjoyed a lifelong association with the University, receiving all of his degrees, from his Bachelor of Arts to his doctorate in English, at the University of Ottawa where he joined the teaching staff as a lecturer in 1940. It is important to recognize that Professor O'Grady served in the Second World War with the Royal Canadian Navy and, upon his discharge in 1945, attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.
In 1955, Mr. O'Grady rose to Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Ottawa. In this capacity he presided over the actual formal creation of the Department--its separation from the Faculty of Arts into an independent entity--so he is in a very real sense the father of the Department as it exists today.
In 1965, he was named Vice-Dean of Arts and a year later served as Acting Chair of fine arts and spearheaded the development and establishment of the Department of Fine Arts. Dr. O'Grady was a member of the board of governors and served on its executive committee. He also served as Honorary President of the Alumni Association for many years.
Dr. O’Grady was also a prominent and active member of the local community, much in demand as a public speaker, and for many years a judge, both locally and nationally on the CBC high school student quiz show “Reach for the Top.”
The Emmett O'Grady Scholarship Fund in English offers tuition aid for University of Ottawa of Honours students who will have successfully completed three years in the Department of English and who show outstanding promise in the field of literature.
Testimonial presented by Professor Frans de Bruyn on September 25, 2010