The RAIC College of Fellows was established by the Council of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada at a meeting January 17, 1941. The Council also determined that the Officers of the College would be designated “Chancellor,” “Dean,” and “Registrar.”
The choice of the quasi-academic title of “College of Fellows” does not seem to have had precedent in a professional organization and those who played an active part in its foundation claimed that the College of the RAIC was the first of its kind.
The principal Convocation of the College was to be held at the time and place of the Annual Meeting of the RAIC when the installation of new Fellows would take place; and at this time also the regular business of the College would be transacted. The annual meeting of Fellows was to be in two parts: the first, known as the Ritual of Installation, would be private and would take place in the presence of Fellows only, whereas the second, the Presentation of Diplomas of Fellowship, would be held before all members of the Institute.
The first Convocation and Investiture of Fellows was held at the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, on February 21st, 1941. Although the elaborate Ritual had been approved, the length of service of the officers had not been laid down. In 1945 Mr. Forsey Page proposed that the appointment of Chancellor, Dean and Registrar be of two years duration; Convocation of 1946 decided, however, that these offices be held for one year only and that the officers be ineligible for re-election for a period of one year after the expiry of their term. This decision was changed later to provide for a three-year term in office, with one of the officers being elected each year.
Ritual of Installation
The Ritual had been carefully prepared by Mr. A.J. Hazelgrove and Mr. G. McL. Pitts. At the investiture each candidate was to receive a collar “of red watered silk with gold braid binding” from which would be suspended the medallion of the Institute. Authority was to be given for all Fellows in good standing to wear the medallion not only in the Convocation of the Fellows, but at formal functions of the Institute. The gowns to be worn by the Chancellor, Dean and the Registrar, the seating arrangement and procedures and text for the ceremonies were also detailed.
Since its inauguration in 1941, the College of Fellows has made amendments but has maintained the principles of the original form of ritual. Modifications were made to the Ritual in 1948, and the year 1951 saw a major change in Convocation procedures: “ladies and visitors” were admitted to the installation ceremony. The first woman was bestowed a Fellowship in 1973.
During the 1960s and 1970s the ceremony of induction was simplified and shortened. In 1975, for example, instead of reading a citation for every new Fellow, a single citation was presented by the Registrar, covering in general terms the attainments of all those to be inducted. Now, booklets or brochures containing printed citations are given to Fellows and guests at the time of Convocation.