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Report of the President for the Year 1932-1933

At the meeting on October 26, 1933, of the Central Advisory Committee for the Carnegie Corporation in the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, Mr. A.G. Hatcher, President of the Memorial University College of Newfoundland, called on to give some report, said in part:

Mr. Chairman,

I expect that what you would want from me now, Sir, is something quite informal.

On my first appearance on this Committee I feel some diffidence, since Dr. Burke is not here to precede me, and also since I now take the place of our late distinguished President. But in one respect I am full of confidence, viz., in so far as I represent those eager and intelligent young persons, the college students of Newfoundland.

The chief event of our year is the going from us, after eight precious years, of Mr. John Lewis Paton. Since most of you know something of his quality, I shall only say that we shall miss keenly his leadership both in Education and in the life of the community (they are among us inseparable), and his great personal influence together with that of his good sister, Miss Mary Paton. May I quote from his last report: "In bidding farewell I express the hope that the College has been true and faithful in carrying out what was the motive of the people of Newfoundland in founding a university institution eight years ago. A University as we conceived of it at the time, was the reaching out of a community towards the fulfilment of its higher life, and planning thro' the preparation of its chosen youth the fulfilment of those higher mandates without which there is no progress, -- in short we regarded a university foundation as the nation's answer to the call of the future."

Mr. Paton has gone but as men said of Pericles, "he has left the spur behind."

The number of our students last year was the largest in our history. This year we have begun with an enrollment short of that, but still larger than for any previous year. We could take in more but our people are poor. We maintain our entrance standards. A significant fact is the desire of our students to study Biology.

We occupied last year the extension to our building. We now have a gymnasium, the only one of any size in our country. Our Biology Department has 50% more space, with at least not too inadequate equipment. Room is available for the teaching of Art and exhibition of pictures. Physics is no longer taught in the basement. Our lady students have a rest-room, as yet ill-furnished. Above all there is the Library, the heart of the College. It is a small place compared with what your fortunate Colleges enjoy, but it is a great thing for us in Newfoundland at last to have a real library with proper tables, etc. and real books on the shelves. Best of all, the books are read.

As to the generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation, I quote from the recent report from the Chairman of our Kibrary Committee:

    "On receipt through President Paton of information about the grant of ten thousand dollars from the Carnegie Corporation for the Library and the wishes of the Carnegie Corporation concerning the expenditure of it, I called upon my colleagues to draw up requisitions of the books most badly needed by the students working in their several departments. All were cognizant of the intentions of the donors and kept them, using as a guide the bibliography prepared under the direction of the Corporation, and the books bought are strictly such as undergraduate students are likely to turn to good use. At the same time we avoided a pedantic subservience to the college curricular and took the opportunity to obtain works of general interest which the straightness of our means usually forbade us to think of. Hence we are now able to put before our students such inspiring books as the lives of Sir William Osler and Dr. Joseph Wright.

    The various departments of the College were approximately equally rationed but before making the allocation I set aside a round sum for new periodical subscriptions for that miscellaneous literature which is apt to be the Cinderella of an academic library, and for those branches of study which, like Household Science, were either new or in process of re-organization.

    These, except certain groups which for special reasons were requisitioned late, are catalogued and in use."

We report also the installation and use of the rest of the fine set of reproductions of works of Art and books on Art, a collection we owe to the same generosity. So far we have made use of them by arranging exhibits planned to suit a particular season or period or form of art in which interest was shown, and by small study groups. The catalogue is of immense value here, as also, of course, the fine books. For the ensuing year it is planned that some study of art, at least its appreciation, will be made by all our students.

We have similar aims for Music, and a small beginning is now being made.

The past year saw the introduction of a new course, for we have now entered on the second year of our two-year course in Household Science. This is not intended to turn out teachers of dietetics, etc., but to train home-makers.

The teaching of Physics has been reorganized. We now offer three courses, Physics 1, 2, and 3, which resemble somewhat the corresponding courses at Dalhousie, whose efficient teaching in that subject we can well emulate. Our chemistry may also be altered somewhat as to more desirable content; the instruction especially under such men as Drs. Mennie and Faull, has always we think been sound.

As I speak of special subjects, I would like to mention the encouragement given by the Government of France, to our teaching of their language. In addition to a gift of classics of French literature, we receive each year medals and valuable book prizes. Your own departments of French will be interested, no doubt.

We believe we can report a very useful year's work in such other fields as evening classes and the Summer School. Under Mr. Paton's influence the College has tried to play, and indeed has played, a considerable part in the life of the community; a part greater I think in proportion than even your larger institutions hold, since our Island has fewer other aids to progress.

And now I commend to you those our graduates who are, and will be soon, members of your more advanced colleges. You will find them perhaps less sophisticated than your own students but no less eager. (We invite suggestions for their improvement). We stress the note of personal influence, for they are few, too few alas in these times. I thank you for your kind reception of our students in the past. I do not know of a single case of serious dissatisfaction on their part with their new Alma Maters.


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