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Report of the President for the Year 1938-39

The Chairman,
Board of Governors,
Memorial University College.

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 1938-1939. No financial statements are included. These are published annually by the Government of Newfoundland and are to be found in the Accounts.

The Year

It might be expected that the year now closing, a period of acute international tension and continued domestic deprivation, would yield a record of disturbed progress in any seat of higher learning; but in fact I can report perhaps the most active year in the College life of our now fourteen years. This is especially true in respect of what are called extra-curricular activities, while at the same time the emphasis on sound day-by-day instruction in standard subjects is still as strong as ever. A glance abroad, where we see how much in some countries the work of the student is impeded, reminds us of our own good fortune while any survey of conditions in our own country calls us to a proper sense of our responsibility.

Governors and Faculty

The three-year term of the Board of Governors ended with last December. We are glad to know that most of the former Governors are to act for the next triennium. To the retiring members, R. Gushue, Esq., LL.B., and C.E. Hunt, Esq., K.C., the College offers its respectful thanks and to the new members, F.R. Emerson, Esq., K.C., and H.L. Pottle, Esq., M.A., Ph.D., a respectful welcome.

A few changes have taken place in the Faculty. Mr. S.J. Hayes has been promoted from Lecturer to Associate-Professor of Engineering. Miss E. Smith is now a full-time Instructor in Art. Miss S.L. Organ, after a year of advanced study at the Library School of the University of Michigan, has come back to her work as Librarian. Miss A.M. Kent resigned last August after a year of acceptable service as Lecturer in Education. Miss Zita O'Keefe, a graduate of this College, was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in Education for the year. For the next year Professor P.L. Lovett-Janison has been granted sabbatical leave and a suitable locum tenens has been appointed. A new office, that of Dean of Women, has been created, and Miss M.G. Mansfield who is also Registrar, now holds it.


The number of students has been 266, the largest, except for the year 1935-36, in the history of the College. This number does not include registration in evening and extension classes which have served some four hundred persons. There were 90 in the freshman year in Arts and Sciences and 53 in the Sophomore year. The Teacher-Training class numbered 99. A few third-year and special students makeup the total. Two-thirds of our students are from the outports. The proportion of women to men students is as 8 to 11. During the year ill-health compelled three of our students to give up their studies.

While it is true that considerations of space forbid any considerable increase in our enrolment, yet it cannot be denied that there are in Newfoundland several young men and women who want a college education, would make good use of it, but have not the necessary means. The wisdom of those who set up King George the Fifth Jubilee Scholarships, in the awarding of which economic need as well as character and mental ability is considered, is more clearly seen from year to year, by the quality of the human material they help to develop. These scholarships are a worthy memorial to a good King, and there could well be several similar scholarships. We envy young people of the Mother Country, so much more fortunate in this respect than our Newfoundland youth.


The annual examinations are now held in two parts, one at the end of each half-year (semester). An Appendix to this Report gives the aggregate results. It will be seen that in the Arts and Sciences 50 have successfully completed the First Year, 13 in the First Class. The number graduating to-day in Arts and Science, including Engineering, is 49, and the number of diplomas granted in Teacher-Training is 79. A few others, 5 in Arts and Science and 4 in Teacher-Training, will be added to the list of graduates when they have satisfied the requirements in one subject.

Courses of Study

Very few changes have been made in the courses of study during the year. While the College has already achieved much, having opened the door of opportunity to many young people and made for itself an unmistakeable place in the life of Newfoundland, yet it has only begun to do its best work and to make its influence felt for good. It needs now some years of patient, uninterrupted, unhampered day-by-day teaching and work, with only such extension of its programme as will meet the clear necessities of its students. Recent developments include: approval by the Faculty Council of such modification of the examinations in English as to recognize more fully the place of simple literary projects and dramatization, the admission of General Science as a possible subject for Matriculation, revision and enlargement of the course in Geology, a fuller course in School Art for Teachers in Training and in Applied Art for students of Household Science, and some readjustment of the Second-Year of Engineering.

Next year's plans include a course in General Science for Teachers in Training, a course in Current Events (Department of History), and more opportunity for training in English for students of Engineering.

I have asked for special reports from some departments and these are given in the Appendix to this Report. I commend them to your attention. You will notice in the report on Engineering such interesting features as the Engineering Seminar, our connection with the Society for the promotion of Engineering Education, and the imminent introduction of the new Visual Aids. The Teacher-Training Department gives fuller service from year to year, with its attention not only to methods and principles of the "old line" school subjects but also to arts and crafts, the Cadet Company, dramatics and the like. For the kindness of the principals and teachers of the city schools whose active assistance made our practice-teaching a success I once again offer the heartiest thanks of the College. The Department of Household Science has also had a busy year, serving the University classes, the teachers-in-training, and certain city schools as well as other parts of the College life.

Direction of Studies

In addition to the actual teaching, much time and thought have been given by the Faculty to the individual student's problem. The student-adviser system appears to be working better than in any previous year. The proportion of failures in the examinations, especially in those of the first semester of the first year, referred to in my Report last year, is again smaller than formerly. A committee set up by the Faculty this year has already taken steps to improve certain conditions under which our undergraduates do their work. To help our women-students, especially by advice and encouragement, a Dean of Women has been appointed and we are glad that Miss M. G. Mansfield has agreed to act in this capacity. The Committee of Discipline has had no occasion to exercise any punitive action whatever during the year, as one might expect, who knows the quality of young ladies and gentlemen that made up our student body.


This year saw the return of our Librarian from a year of post-graduate studies in librarianship abroad. Miss Organ's report, approved by the Library Committee of Faculty, and attached to this Report, is interesting to read. The number of books has been increased by 600, some of them gifts of kind friends, more and better shelf-space has been provided, and best of all--the libraries have been more used. There is still room for improvement, however, especially in the extent to which students should spread and vary their reading. The lack of libraries throughout our country as necessary and natural aids to the normal good life cannot but be reflected here as elsewhere.


Not everyone realizes the close relation between health and efficiency in studies. A pallid and nervous bookworm is by no means our ideal of a successful student. We desire prompt notification of illness or disability and welcome discussion with students or parents when necessary.

Once again the College is greatly indebted to the Department of Public Health and Welfare, not only for a valuable course of lectures on topics of public health, so timely and necessary in Newfoundland to-day, but also for a general physical examination of all our teachers-in-training and some others. Most of the physical defects which these tests revealed have been corrected. As usual, what is called health education received thorough treatment in the Teacher-Training course.


The year now closing has been the best in respect of our programme in Art. We now have a full-time instructor. I append a report of her work. The course in School Art given to the teachers-in-training included, beside the principles of design and colour, such crafts as block-printing, modelling and carving, etc., such as can be done in any small school. A clever Puppet Show called forth the painstaking efforts of all the students and proved a great success. The course in Applied Art treated, among other things, dress and the decoration of the home. Three extensive courses were also provided for the St. John's public, both adults and school-children.

The report of the Honorary Curator of the Art Collection is given in the Appendix. There were two extensive public exhibitions, one of Spanish and the other of Greek Art. Other displays helped illustrate lectures in language and history. The picture loan plan reported last year is being gradually extended. Our collection of pictures is constantly growing, thus carrying out the intention of the donors of the Carnegie Art Reference set.


The services of Charles Hutton, Esq., K.S.G., have again been available for instruction in singing to our teachers-in-training. The Glee Club, once more directed by Miss Eleanor Mews, L.T.C.M., has helped to bring out hidden talent and arouse enthusiasm for choral singing. Two recitals, "Carols by Candlelight" in December, and "Maytime in Song" in May, were productions of the highest order.

A most important event of the year was the gift to the Memorial University College of a Music Appreciation Set from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It consists of "a Federal Electric Phonograph and a loud speaker in two attractive Cabinets of modern design; a collection of over 600 records covering symphonic and violin, cello, harp, etc., selections from operas, by well known artists and conductors, and the best known international orchestras. The records are carefully catalogued and there is a small collection of books on music as well." When the Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland makes plans for a comprehensive cultural programme, it can rely on the fullest co-operation of the Music Committee of the College.


In dramatics the help of Miss Elizabeth Smith and Mr. R. Duder has once more been freely given to our students, although their plan has been to allow the students themselves to undertake the direction and production of plays. As many as sixty members of the Dramatic Group (president, Miss O. Drover) took an active part, either on the stage or behind the scenes. Their work included the production of three plays, two short plays by A.A. Milne and by M. Moisevitch and one of full length by J.B. Priestley, and arranging a masquerade. The Group also raised a sum of money, which has been passed over to the College for a scholarship.


Some of the women teachers-in-training form the First St. John's Cadet Company. Under the wise oversight of Miss C.M. Furlong, Commissioner for Training, the Company has had a very profitable year of training. The patrol leaders were Miss M. Kirby, Miss G. Layman, Miss S. Moss and Miss H. Ross. An enrolment was conducted on March 10 by Miss E. Alderdice, Deputy Commissioner. In a commendable spirit of self-help the cadets earned enough money to provide certain necessary equipment. The report made to me mentions also the help of Miss Angel, a former student here, and of Miss Abbott. The Company cherishes the colours presented to it last year by Lady Walwyn.


A report made to me by the Athletic Union of our students says that "more students took part in sports this year than formerly". The ladies played basket-ball, ice-hockey, and field-hockey, and the men engaged in the same sports as usual. Beside the games played with outside teams a plan of inter-faculty sports, e.g., pre-medicals vs. engineers, was successfully carried out.

Organized games, suitable for schools with little or no equipment, were taught to all the teachers-in-training. The Hiking Club combines outdoor exercise with good companionship.

Awards for Service

A page of the Appendix gives a list of students who have won their "M" for proficiency in athletics. The so-called "Service M" is an award of some significance since it is given to certain students who are outstanding examples of quiet and efficient helpfulness. To the list of names submitted by the students' representatives I have added a few more.

Various Student Activities

The doings of the students other than their formal courses form an important element in our College life. They are under the control of the Students' Representative Council, elected by the undergraduates themselves who thus learn something of the conduct of affairs, including the proper use of funds. This year's Council consists of Mr. S.H. LeGrow (President), Miss Frances Norris (Secretary), Mr. K. Oakley (Treasurer), Misses Rose Fitzgibbon and Cherry Maunder, and Messrs. J. Hopkins and A.B. Morgan. I hereby thank them formally for their painstaking and efficient work.

The students' magazine Cap and Gown (editor-in-chief, L.J. French) was published by a committee of students and the articles, except for a Graduates' Section, were written by students. The profit on this venture was turned over to me to be given as a scholarship for some able and deserving fellow-student.

The Literary Society (president, Mr. P.L. Soper) reports a successful year. The report tells of addresses such as Mr. P.K. Devine's on Newfoundland Folk-Lore and Professor A.M. Fraser's on International Affairs, the formation of a Book Club of about twenty members, and debates on such topics as Imperial defence, the problem of refugees, compulsory education, compulsory military training, broadcasting and the press.

The Citizenship Study Group (group chairman, Mr. D. Martin) have continued their study of Newfoundland affairs. I attach a copy of their report. It is surely a promising sign when more than ninety young people, meeting in seven groups, come together regularly to make these enquiries. They have been helped by the vice-president of the College, Mr. Gorvin, and others in the study of the Co-operative Movement, agricultural possibilities, the economics of our country, and like topics.

Other student societies have been active during the year, such as the newly-formed Teacher-Training Study Club, the Pre-Medical Society and that very live organization, the Engineering Society.

Former Students

Our graduates increase from year to year not only in numbers but also in their value to the community, and, of course, in the regard of their Alma Mater. Though still a young College we are beginning to see our graduates taking up life's responsibilities as clergy and professional men and women, as teachers and administrators, and in business and the public service. When we observe, as we often do, that they show a helpful spirit in the life of the community, we know then that the influence of the College, especially that of its first President, is enduring.

During recent days we have heard of more than twenty-five of our graduates who have this year won university degrees abroad, in several cases with marked distinction. One at a Canadian College of Engineering led his class in five out of the eight subjects of the final year. Another in competition with students from five Canadian Universities, won the special prize for the highest average standing in the cultural, as distinct from the professional, subjects of the whole course. We are glad of this evidence that our courses are not too narrowly specialized.

Our graduates' society, known as the Old Memorials' Association (president, Miss Nancy Frost) has had a remarkably good year with regular meetings, discussions, debates, social gatherings, etc. I am very grateful to these alumni for the valuable scholarship which again this year was awarded to help a First Year student of ability and promise to proceed to the Second Year.

Scholarship and Loan Funds

Mention of our graduates suggests a remark about our Scholarship and Loan Fund, which keeps fresh among us such worthy names as Dr. F.A. Bruton, Mr. H.J. Crowe, Mrs. Fannie McNeil and others. This Fund, opened in 1925 by Mr. Paton and built up mainly during his presidency is, wisely invested and carefully managed. From its earnings we are this year able to offer no less than four Memorial University College Scholarships to enable four of our graduates to continue university studies abroad. Mr. Paton will be pleased to learn that three of the four are women.

A comparatively small part of the fund is available for loans. Though none of these loans is large they have been wonderfully effective, supplying the small difference between what an able and deserving student could or could not make of his life. The proceeds of four performances of the Glee Club and of an interesting lecture with coloured motion pictures given by Dr. A.K. Snelgrove on Minerals in Newfoundland were kindly made over to the Scholarship Fund.

Evening and Extension Work

This work has always been regarded as significant, since it extends the benefits of the College beyond the favoured circle of its undergraduates. I consider this year's evening programme so successful that I shall prepare a special report, which will be attached to this report. Let me here simply name the courses: Accountancy, Art, Botany, Chemistry for Nurses, Commercial Law, Cookery, Diesel Engines, Dietetics, Elementary House-Building, German, Navigation, Pharmacy, Physics, and a Reading Circle. There was also a series of lectures on Newfoundland History, arranged jointly by the Newfoundland Historical Society and the College. Organizations to which the College was delighted to act as host included, beside the Teachers' Seminar, a Science Club and a Farm and Garden Study Club.

The number of persons served in these evening classes numbered fully four hundred.

The St. John's Players were again accommodated in our buildings, I am glad to report, for study, practice and production.

Social Events

On October 26th my wife and I received a large number of city teachers at an evening reception and musicale. On November 4th we were glad to entertain the parents of our students at a reception, after which the buildings and some special exhibits were on display. On November 19th we were At Home to the alumni and alumnae. On June 3rd we held a Graduation Tea for all students in the final year. These functions have yielded such good returns in understanding and friendship that they have now become annual events.

In respect of student social events some care must be exercised, for there are in St. John's, in my opinion, too many things which tend to distract young persons of studious purpose. The number of student "socials" held in the College is therefore strictly limited. Those are of much value, because being under student management, they teach the students the duties and pleasures of hosts and tend to introduce them better to each other and to the Faculty. All are properly chaperoned.

During the Christmas holidays our women-students gave a Christmas Tree party to a large number of not rich but quite charming youngsters.

The Annual Students' Dinner was held on December l5th.


Each year sees some growth in the agreeable relations between the College and other institutions. Members of our Faculty serve on such bodies as the Public Libraries Board, give their services freely to clubs and societies, and are constantly asked for advice in the respective fields in which they are expert. All this is as it should be, for this is Newfoundland's National University College.

Our relations with universities abroad are pleasant. Your President represented the College at the Centenary celebrations of Dalhousie University last August, and at the Convocation held then was honoured with the degree of Legum Doctoratus honoris causa. Not everyone in this country realizes how very favourably qualified opinion abroad regards our pioneer efforts for university education here, which in view of all the circumstances it sees as a great success even now.

Future Needs

It cannot be assumed, because I have reported so much activity and progress during the year, that the College is completely equipped to do its full work. General office room is urgently needed. We want more room for the important subject of Geology. Our fine Assembly Hall barely accommodates the student body, so that certain public performances have to be given twice and our Annual Convocation is held in a borrowed auditorium. There is not now enough shelf-space to display all the books in our libraries. We need space for museum collections, an important aid to teaching, especially of the sciences; this is particularly necessary since there is not yet a national museum service. The needs of Music and extended facilities for Art, especially for teachers-in-training, must soon be taken into account.

At this point I may be allowed to thank the Board of Governors for the sympathetic consideration they have given when I brought the needs of the College to their attention.


I wish now to offer respectful and sincere thanks to all who have contributed to whatever measure of success the University College may have achieved this year. The list is very long. It includes His Excellency the Governor (Visitor to this College) and Lady Walwyn for kindly interest in the midst of so many high duties; the Honourable Commissioner for Education for benevolent supervision amid manifold cares; the members of the Board of Governors for their exercise of wisdom and patience; the Founding Trustees for their enduring sympathy and encouragement; the President Emeritus for the abiding stamp of his influence and his continual remembrance of us; the Faculty, especially the Registrar, and her assistant and other members of the staff for hard work well and faithfully done! Our fine body of students whom for their zeal and youthful enthusiasm it has been a pleasure to serve; and parents and many friends for gifts and good wishes.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,

(Signed) A.G. Hatcher,
St. John's, Newfoundland,
June 6th, 1939.

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