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Roger M. Savory
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Roger Mervyn Savory, officer and professor, was born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England on January 27, 1925. He was educated at the King’s School in Peterborough, and graduated with a B.A from The Queen’s College, Oxford in 1950. Savory was subsequently hired as a lecturer at The School of Oriental and African Studies and obtained a PhD from The SOAS in 1958. Shortly after his arrival at SOAS, Savory met and married Kathleen Mary Plummer (d. 2010). They were married for 59 years and had two children, Jill Elizabeth (b. 1953) and Julian Roger (b. 1956).
In 1943, Savory was awarded a State Scholarship offered by the War Office and the Ministry of Information for a 12 month intensive course in Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In April 1944, he enlisted in the Intelligence Corps and in March 1945 he was posted to Iran as a 2nd Lieutenant and member of PAIFORCE (Persia and Iraq Force). Savory was attached to the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E), a branch of British military intelligence, and worked for the British Foreign Office. In April 1945 he was transferred to the British Foreign Office and in June of 1946, he was posted to Rasht, the capital of the Caspian province of Gilan, as Acting Consul. From May to September 1947, he was posted as Acting British Consul, Isfahan and, in January 1949, he was appointed to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers in the Intelligence Corps with substantive rank of Lieutenant. Savory was demobilized in September, 1947.
After completing his PhD at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Savory was invited to Toronto in 1960 by Professor G. M. Wickens to be a Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Savory was offered a permanent job in the newly established University Department of Islamic Studies which was created in 1961. In 1968, Savory succeeded Michael Wickens as Chairman of the Department, a post he held until 1973. In 1972, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1976, he was cross-appointed to Trinity College in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (the new name of the department) and in Religious Studies and, in 1982, was appointed a Fellow of the College. The same year, he was elected a member of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, and served until 1987 and as an Executive of the Council from 1983-1987.
Savory retired in 1987 and was appointed Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College. In 2003, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Trinity College. In 2011, he was presented with a Festschrift, edited by one of his students, Dr. Colin Mitchell, who is currently a professor in the Department of History at Dalhousie University. Prof. Savory lives in Toronto.
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