Back to History

Back to 1938
Back to the 30's
MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT FOR THE YEAR 1937-38

The Chairman,
Board of Governors,
Memorial University College.

Sir,

I have the honour to submit the following report with certain appendices, of some of the work done by the College during the academic year 1937-1938.

The Year

The year now closing is the thirteenth in the life of the College. It is also my fifth year as President. While those five years have not seen the fulfillment of all one's hopes, yet they have been marked by a steady growth and considerable expansion. Instance the setting up of the Teacher Training Department in 1934 and its enlargement last year; such aids to a fuller student life as the Glee Club and the widening of our programme in Art; the considerable expansion of the courses in certain subjects, e.g. in biology; the significant citizenship study-group movement; the raised standard of entrance; the improved state of the campus and the three-fifth increase in the number of fully-matriculated students.

The past year was the first in which the College has had to get along without a generous Grant-In Aid from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. At this milestone in our history, we look back with gratitude for the wise and inspiring assistance of that Foundation and we look forward with no light sense of our responsibility towards the Government and people of this country.

Staff

Three members of the faculty have been given well-earned promotions in rank. A.M. Fraser, Esq., M.A., appointed lecturer in 1928, and associate-professor in 1933, is now full professor in the department of History and Economics; P.L. Lovett-Janison, Esq., B.Sc., M.A., appointed associate-professor in 1933, is now full professor of Chemistry, and A.G. Gillingham, Esq., M.A., appointed lecturer in 1933, is now associate-professor of Classics. The department of Education has been strengthened by the appointment as lecturer of Miss Alice Kent, B.Sc., (Hunter Coll.), M.A. (Columbia), who has given one year of good service in this important department. Another new appointment which has given us much satisfaction is that of Miss Elizabeth Smith, graduate of the Owens' School of Fine Arts at Mount Allison, as Instructor in Art. We have welcomed back Professor R.T. Harling, after his sabbatical year at the University of California. Leave of absence having been granted the Librarian, Miss S. Organ, in order to take advantage of a one-year fellowship granted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York through the American Library Association, a most acceptable locum tenens as Librarian was found in Miss Gwen LeGrow, B.A. (Mt. A.), B.L.S. (McGill). To do Miss Organ's work in Mathematics and to assist in Engineering Mr. J.L. Ryan, B. Eng, (N.S. Tech.), was engaged for the year and served us well.

Numbers

The number of students in attendance during the year now closing has been 263, not including the evening and extension classes.(This may be compared with the number, 167, in the first year of my presidency). The freshman year in Arts and Science has numbered 97. It seems likely that, with our present facilities, this represents the optimum size of the First Year. Of second year students there were 53. The Teacher-Training Class had 94 students, a one-half increase over last year's. A few Third-Year and special students complete the total. These numbers do not include students in evening classes and extension classes or study clubs.

I am happy to record that our ranks have not been broken by death during the session. I regret to report that two students were compelled by illness to withdraw from the College in December.

Examination Results

The College year is divided into two semesters of equal teaching length, with an examination at the end of each half-year. The aggregate results of these examinations are given in an Appendix to this Report, where it will be found that in the Arts and Sciences 55 have successfully completed the Freshman Year, 13 in First Class. The number of graduates in Arts and Sciences (including Engineering), is 37, of whom 8 gained First Class standing. In Teacher-Training 71 are receiving the diploma, 21 in the First Class. Some in the Arts and Science and 11 in Teacher-Training need to satisfy the requirements on one subject before being added to the list of graduates.

Our standards have been criticized as too exacting. We cannot agree, to speak generally. For those of our students who go no further a habit of serious study is an asset of incalculable value; while for those who go on to university studies elsewhere it is a real guarantee of success; and for our teachers-in-training the course is the entry to a profession at once lofty in its aims and exacting in its demands. Besides, we would not care to hear the reverse criticism.

One sometimes hears the view expressed, by the uninformed, that too many persons are graduating from our higher institutions of learning, with fear as to their subsequent place in life. Much could be said on this matter, but I offer here a few comments as it applies to this University College. As far as the Teacher Training graduates are concerned, I quote from the most recent Report of the General Superintendent of Education that "this number is not sufficient to offset the annual wastage from the profession."

As for the Arts and Science graduates it may be observed that the average number graduating in the past five years is almost exactly the number graduating to-day; that the primary aims of university education are cultural rather than utilitarian; that nevertheless very few of our graduates are without occupation (an example of the general tendency for the smaller proportion of unemployed to be found in the higher levels of training); and that there are many signs of a real need for some education even "higher" than our university College now provides.

The question is often put to us if the College should not soon give the complete degree course. Our country is deemed backward in this respect, we are told, as compared with practically every similar country. For example, Tasmania, with a smaller population than ours but with very similar problems to face, has a full university, founded in 1890, and three technical colleges. My answer is usually that I would only welcome this stop if the demand is insistent, if such facilities are forthcoming that the quality of our degree can equal or surpass anything similar, and if some compensation can be found for the wider experience now enjoyed by those of our graduates who proceed abroad to complete the degree course.

Courses of Study

The regular courses in Arts and Science have been carried on with little change. Their content is now fairly well standardized, but its treatment admits of much flexibility. In English and Modern Languages some rearrangement of the work among the members of the staff is being made, with the provision of one extra course on demand. Some now equipment has made the courses in Biology even more valuable. We are still planning to improve our work in Geology.

The Department of Household Science has room for a larger number of students in the Two-Year Course, which is affiliated with McGill University. The lengthened time-table of the instructor has obliged us, with regret, to curtail somewhat the classes in cooking given to pupils from some city schools.

The Department of Engineering has had an interesting year. The report of the lecturer, who next year will become Associate-Professor, is appended to this Report. I call special attention to the active Engineering Society and the winning of a drawing prize by one of our students in a continent-wide competition.

The Department of Teacher-Training has undergone most expansion this year. A report of the professor of Education is appended. Notable features are the 50% increase in enrolment; the appointment of a new lecturer in Education and an instructor in Art; a richer course, especially in Art and in English; supervision of the health of students and the strong support given by the Government Department of Health and Welfare; the use of projects and the attitude which this kind of work induces; the Cadet Company; and observation and practice teaching. I here offer the warmest thanks of the College to the principals and teachers of the city schools whose kind help made possible the important activity of practice-teaching.

Direction of Studies

Each year the college tries to do more in the direction of the study-life of the individual student. Last year I reported that the Faculty had "made a special study of the causes of failure in examinations, particularly in those of the first semester of the first year, in which study the Principals of the denominational colleges gave us the benefit of their valuable experience." This year I report a much smaller proportion of failures. While examination is not at all a primary aim in education, yet we regard failure in examinations with much concern, and individual cases are reviewed carefully by the Faculty.

The Library

Our growing Library is of the highest importance in the work of the College. Hence I attach to this Report a very satisfactory report of the acting Librarian. The grant to Miss Organ for training, which, as mentioned above, was made by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will prove to be of the highest value, for librarianship is to-day a real profession. We have been very fortunate in finding Miss LeGrow to replace Miss Organ for the year. Highly qualified and well trained, she has shown a quiet efficiency and a helpful manner. I thank also the Library Committee of the Faculty.

Music

Our musical activities are chiefly three. Lessons in singing are given twice weekly to the Teachers in Training by Charles Hutton, Esq., K.S.G. Then at our weekly assemblies there are frequent musical programmes consisting of songs by visiting artists to whom I extend our warmest thanks, or selections of recorded music. The College Glee Club, directed by Miss Eleanor Mews, L.T.C.M., has had a very successful year. Its two recitals, both given twice, were "Carols by Candlelight" and "Springtime in Song", which reached high levels as choral productions of the first order. Already we hear of at least one or two Glee Clubs in certain outports and can trace their origin here. This activity can be further extended and, I hope, will be.

Art

The past year has seen much progress in our programme of Art. The regular instruction given to the teachers in training has been increased in content, as has also that given to the students in Household Science. Two voluntary and quite informal classes are now given; in one of these certain students have been trained in Still Life drawing and portraiture in charcoal and colour; the other is the class in appreciation of art given as formerly. I append two short but interesting reports, one by the Instructor in Art and the other by the Honorary Curator of our Art Collection. The exhibitions mentioned in the latter report have been of the highest value, not only to our students, but also to the general public, who have been freely admitted. Too many people have overlooked these chances, too rare, alas! in this country, of aesthetic improvement and real delight.

We continue to find invaluable the Carnegie Reference Set of reproductions and the fine books and albums which accompany it. The Curator of Art has added a very large number of additional reproductions during the past years. I direct special attention to the new lending-system by which students may borrow good pictures for a time, just as now they borrow books from the Library.

Dramatics.

In dramatics, the students have had the benefit of the advice and help of Miss Elizabeth Smith and Mr. R. Duder, and much more has been done than, I believe, in any previous year. The pieces produced included one-act plays such as "Shanghai," "Thread o' Scarlet," "The Dear Departed", "0n Dartmoor," "The Monkey's Paw," and "Wurzel-Flummery," presented before the members of the College and our friends, and Barrie's "The Will," and the Canadian Play "Brothers in Arms," offered to the general public. Besides teaching the arts of speaking and acting, these plays gave the students an insight into the problems of stage-managing, lighting and scenery.

Other Student Activities

Apart from the actual studies the control of most of the life of the College students is in the hands of a body, called the Students' Representative Council, elected by the students themselves. This year's Council consisted of Mr. W.C Hudson (President), Miss Ruperta Angel (Secretary), Mr. D.B. Baird (Treasurer), Misses Vera Crummey and Eleanor Davis and Messrs, R.M. Parsons and J.R. Wareham. They were particularly successful in the administration of the Union Fund, amounting to some thirteen hundred dollars, for they have now, all accounts being met, a respectable surplus, part of which they propose to devote to some worthy College project. I here thank them most heartily.

The College magazines The Cap and Gown (editor-in-chief, Mr. S. Noel Tibbo), which was the work of the students themselves, except for a section produced by the Graduates' Society, was a worth-while production. It also earned a surplus, which the Committee has made over to the College for a "Cap and Gown scholarship" to aid some deserving student to continue his or her studies.

The Literary Society (president, Mr. I. Newell) chose debates and discussions as its chief activities. The topics debated included the place of games in education, women's part versus men's in banishing pain, fatalism, the action of the British Dominions in the event of war; and the subjects discussed were such as the Danish Folk-School, Scandinavians and their education and the Co-operative Movement in Newfoundland.

The Engineering Society (president, Mr. B. Duder), has presented a fine report of an active year's work, which has included weekly seminars, moving-picture showings, discussion led by visiting engineers and also by individual students, the annual engineers' banquet and other social events, and even a "spelling bee."

Four years ago the present critical period in our country's life led to the formation of Citizenship Study Groups among our students. They have been kept up ever since. This year the discussions have been so valuable both as to method and finding that I attach a report of the organizations as an Appendix to this Report. Mr. Ivor Jackson has been president this year.

Games

Each student is required to engage regularly both in some cultural activity outside the regular "academic" courses and also in some form of games. Organized games form a part of the health programme of teachers-in-training. Football was played in the autumn but not in so systematic a way as the students would like. The ice-hockey season was a very successful one. Entering the Inter-collegiate League (Senior Division) our men's team won the C.C.M. cup. They also paid the annual visit to Bell Island and played two games there. The ladies' team in ice-hockey won no trophy but played some good games. In basketball the men's team and the women's played in the respective Inter-collegiate league's. Field-hockey was another enjoyable activity of our women-students. Simpler pastimes such as "hiking" are also popular.

Last year our own playing field was graded and sown to grass, and we hope to use it regularly next year. Our thanks are due to the Department of Public Utilities for this as well as their care of the rest of the fine site which is slowly growing into a real "campus." This is fitting, for our building is a memorial to Newfoundland's heroic dead.

Awards for Service

We follow here the practice observed elsewhere of awarding a letter - an M in our case - to a student who has well represented the College in athletics. But in addition the Student Representative Council has submitted a list of names of students who have served their fellows in obliging and often unobtrusive ways, and to these the so-called "Service M" has been awarded. The list of names is to be found in the Appendix.

Guiding

The Cadet Company formed from among the women teachers-in-training has had a profitable year. Although missing this year the skilled sympathetic leadership of Miss Caroline Furlong, Commissioner for Training, yet an acting-captain (Miss Beatrice Thistle), lieutenant (Miss Ruperta Angel) and company-leader (Miss Margaret Andrews) were found among our own student-body. They are to be complemented on their earnest and successful work. The Company was much cheered by the visit of Lady Walwyn in January to conduct an enrolment and encourage the movement. A report made to me mentions the Company's appreciation of her visit, she being at that time in indifferent health. The students say she gives an example of the Eighth Guide Law.

The course was given to some 29 students and aimed chiefly at preparing guides to win their Second Class Badge, a necessary pre-requisite to qualify later for a possible captaincy.

Health

The health of our students ia a matter of concern to us, and we find in a few cases that students or their parents are slow in notifying and discussing with us cases of illness or disability. The study-life of our young people is too important to be marred by preventable causes.

In the case of the teachers-in-training and some others we are deeply indebted to the Department of Public Health and Welfare. Their services included a general physical examination of all teachers-in-training, with the tuberculin test and in some cases the X-ray; and also a valuable course of lectures on various aspects of health, given and tested in the second semester.

The course given by our associate professor of education again proved to be of the highest value. This, together with attention paid to the Junior Red Cross movement, was integrated carefully with the above mentioned work of the Department of Health.

Former Students

The graduates and former students of the College have a secure place in our regard, and we find increasing satisfaction in observing their further achievements and growing value for service to their fellows. During recent days we have heard of 18 who have won university degrees, in some cases with marked distinction. For example, it was one of our graduates who won first place in the special examination on tuberculosis given to this year's graduating class in the Medical School of Dalhousie University. Another of ours not only led the class in Second Year Medicine at the same university in three out of the six subjects of the year but did so well in Anatomy that a special award was made him when the results were known. Similar instances could be cited in, for example, Engineering and Physics. An increasing number of our graduates now hold posts of responsibility in essential vocations such as education, the public service and the learned professions. Recently some 5 were admitted to the bar here or in the neighbouring province. I am glad to find so many of our graduates taking upon themselves from time to time voluntary community duties, thus obeying a favourite maxim of the President Emeritus, John Lewis Paton: "Do something every day for which you are not paid."

The Old Memorials' Association, as the graduates' organization is called, has been under the able presidency of Mr. H.T. Renouf. Among its activities, besides the social and athletic, have been an improved organization and the provision for the fourth successive year of a fine Old Memorials' Scholarship, given to help an able and deserving student of the First Year to enter the Second. I here thank the Association for this further evidence of their loyalty to Alma Mater.

Scholarship and Loan Fund

We can award this year two 2-year leaving scholarships from the income of our Scholarship Fund. It is hard to estimate too highly the value of this fund, which was raised for the most part by the President Emeritus, in order "that no Giotto be left among the hill-shepherds."

The Loan part of the Fund has been very effective, espercially in view of its small size. I am glad to record the efforts being made by beneficiaries to retire their loans, for early repayment is essential to the success of the loan plan. Some of these funds have been used seven times already. The principle of perpetuity involved in this plan makes it an ideal avenue for any benefactor, large or small, who wishes to serve the community in the most enduring manner possible.

Evening Programme

Since its foundation the College has carried on evening an continuation classes, in order that its benefits may range as widely as possible. This year a variety of subjects was offered and classes were formed and carried through in the following: Chemistry for nurses, cookery, Diesel engines, dietetics for nurses, electricity, German, navigation and public speaking, together with a series of lectures on astronomy and one on history entitled "Makers of 19th century Europe". The average attendance at these classes totalled almost exactly 250.

In the Autumn term a series of Public Lectures was given on topics of contemporary interest by the Honourable J.H. Penson, M.C., L.W. Shaw, Esq., B.A., Prof. A.C. Hunter and Prof. R.T. Harling.

The Teachers' Seminar has had a profitable year. I am allowed to attach to this Report a copy of the annual report of the secretary of that organization.

The Science Club, an informal organization of scientific workers whose formation I reported last year, has held fewer meetings this year, but reports fresh plans for the ensuing season.

The College has been glad to be host to certain other organizations, especially the newly-formed "St. John's Players."

It will be seen that, in addition to its own undergraduates, the College has been able to serve a very large number of persons during the year. It is impossible to compare the value of these various efforts, but I venture to call special attention to the Teachers' Seminar and the navigation classes, because of the immense importance of the seaman and the teacher to Newfoundland life.

Social Events

In October it was the great pleasure of my wife and myself to be hosts to some ninety city teachers at an evening reception and musicale, which served to initiate the year's activities of the Teachers' Seminar. In November we were At Home to the members of the Old Memorials' Association. Later on we were glad to entertain the parents of the students with a reception and musical programme after which the building and some special exhibits were on display to our guests.

During the Christmas holidays our women students gave a Christmas Tree party to a number of less-privileged children.

The Annual Students' Dinner was held in December.

From time to time a limited number of student "socials" have been held in the College. These were carefully chaperoned, but usually managed entirely by the students themselves as hosts. They serve a useful social purpose, if not too frequent, for our students come from widely scattered localities.

Sundry

Our relations with foreign universities are pleasant. We constantly receive expressions of encouragement in our work here and of satisfaction with the progress of our graduates who proceed abroad. Your President has been invited to represent the College at the centenary celebration of Dalhousie University to be held in Halifax in August of this year.

The Newfoundland Branch of the Royal Institute of International Affairs having been invited to send a representative to the British Commonwealth Relations' Conference to be held in Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, next September, the person selected was Professor A.M. Fraser of this College.

Thanks

Whatever measure of success the University College has achieved this year has been due to the working together of many persons, and I now offer respectful and sincere thanks to them all: to His Excellency the Governor, who is Visitor to this College, and to Lady Walwyn for gracious and informed interest and encouragement; to the Honourable Commissioner for Education for kindly supervision in the midst of such responsible tasks; to the Board of Governors for benevolent and personal superintendence; to the Founding Trustees and the President Emeritus, who have never forgotten us as we shall always remember them; to officers of the Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the Department of Public Works, with all of whom our relations have been so pleasant; to the Faculty, especially the Registrar and her assistant, and all members of the Staff for faithful and intelligent performance of arduous duties; to parents of students and the many friends of the College for benefactions and goodwill; and to the the fine examples of Newfoundland youth who form our student-body for their zeal and enthusiasm and for the gift of their young friendship.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,

(Signed) A.G. Hatcher,
President.
St. John's,
Newfoundland,
June 8th, l938.


Celebrate Memorial Home | History | The 30's | 1938