Report of the President for the Year 1942-1943
I have the honour to submit the following Report, with certain Appendices, of some of the work of the College during the university year 1942-1943. A financial statement is not included, for this is published annually by the Government of Newfoundland as one of "Other Public Accounts" in the "Revenue and Appropriation Accounts."
The Year. For the fourth time the close of the College year finds our country at war. Needless to say, the dominant note in this year's story has been the strain and stress of the War with its losses and anxieties. The study-life of a thoughtful student goes on best when free from distraction and care. On the other hand, the stir of world-events often gives a stimulus to his endeavour and the call of the nation may indicate fields of service for which he may prepare himself.
The number of students enrolled this year is, of course, lower than in the year 1939, which saw the largest attendance in our history, but the enrolment has been fairly constant in the war years. The decrease is greater in the case of the men. Thus our experience runs parallel to that elsewhere. In British universities, for example, the registration this year is about 37,000, of whom 11,000 are women, whereas in 1939-1940 it was about 50,000, including still 11,000 women. A great handicap to our work here is, of course, the continued use of parts of our building as a hospital. But it is a pleasure to record the cheerful way in which our loyal students and staff have borne this inconvenience, thus expressing in a small way the admiration and gratitude we must all feel for the brave men of the merchant service.
The War has touched the University College far more closely, since several times during the year there has come the news that yet another of our graduates or past students has met his death in the Nation's cause. Since my last Report the list of these has grown from four to seventeen such names: this out of 220 definitely known to have offered themselves for service in the Armed Forces of the Crown. This College, we recall, was first "as a perpetual memorial of those who served and more partciularly of those who died in the cause of freedom during the Great War of 1914-1918." Surely now the loss of these precious young lives in the present Great War must bring home to us with fresh meaning the significance of our beloved College as a War Memorial and the value of all that we here hold in solemn trust.
Few countries have been so far-sighted as Newfoundland was when she saw that the best monument to her heroic dead is an enduring institution of higher learning to serve succeeding generations of her youth. A great privilege, but also a heavy responsibility, rests on those who are called to serve in a national memorial college.
Retrospect. Your President, who now completes his tenth year in this office, may perhaps be forgiven if he glances back over the past decade. It has not seen the fulfillment of all his hopes but it has been marked by a steady growth and considerable expansion. Instance the setting up of the Teacher-Training Department in 1934 and its enlargement in 1937; a raised standard of matriculation; a new laboratory; a wider programme in Art and in Music; extension of the course in several subjects such as in biology; more complete affiliation with other universities; the growth of our scholarship and loan funds; a three-fifths increase in the number of fully matriculated students; the growth of our library from 6,000 to 11,000 volumes with more than doubled usefulness, the improved state of the campus up to its use for purposes of the War; the increased attention to the personal as well as the academic needs of our students by means of a student-adviser system and the creation of the post of Dean of Women; the high respect in which our graduating diploma is held abroad and the warm place which we are told our College holds in the regard of the people of this Island; and above all the number -- by no means too large -- of splendid young men and women who have passed out from the College to enrich the life of Newfoundland and the world.
Loss of three Founding Trustees. In the academic year now ending the College was thrice saddened at losing by death three of our Founding Trustees. On September 7th we lost Reverend Doctor Curtis, Mr. R. K. Kennedy died suddenly on October 1st, and on May 12th last Dr. W. W. Blackall passed away at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
Reverend Levi Curtis, M.A., D.D.. M.B.E., began as a teacher in an elementary school. He became a student of letters and divinity. Of his long and signal service to his Church eloquent testimony has been given in various courts of the United Church. For no less than 36 years (1899-1935) he was Superintendent of Education (Methodist and United Church), served as Vice-President (or President) of the Council of Higher Education, and supported and endorsed many a worthy movement or cause, such as Scouting and Temperance. Especially do we mention here his place as one of the Founding Trustees of this College, which he assumed in 1925.
He was known to practically everyone in this country as one possessed of strong convictions, which he could support with gifts of logical thinking and of eloquent and compelling speech. One of these convictions was the right of our young people to higher education, and for this he strove persistently and eagerly, working loyally with his coadjutors in the Department (and Bureau) of Education. It was as a result of their efforts that there came into existence eighteen years ago the Memorial University College.
Though himself a student rather of letters than of science, he understood well the value of science and its possibilities when applied to the life of our people. Another of his characteristics was an insistence on the place of persevering study as a chief means to self-education, with no "royal road to learning" even for those who, like himself, possess abilities of high order.
For eleven difficult years he was constant in his care and sympathetic guidance of this College and in the years of his retirement his kindly interest was always an inspiration.
Ronald K. Kennedy, Esq., had, before being called to other duties, a considerable record of successful teaching, a clear proof of an able and disciplined mind. After principalships of schools in Carbonear and Harbour Grace, he became in 1916 Superintendent of Education for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harbour Grace and in 1920 for the three dioceses of the Island. Like his colleague he had strong sentiments of patriotism. His gifts of mind were shown by his appreciation of the classics, and of heart by his great kindness, not only to the teachers under his supervision, but to many others outside the Church whose educational interests he served so loyally. Such loyalty he found not inconsistent with hearty co-operation with his three associates in the Department of Education when they became the Founding Trustees of this College.
In helping to direct the growth of the infant institution, Mr. Kennedy was always anxious that it should not only provide a higher education for our Newfoundland youth, in whose native ability and fine quality he had a firm faith, but also build up for the very first a strong spirit of loyalty and service to Newfoundland as the keynote of this place of learning. This speaker can testify also to his insistent care that staff and students alike might work together in an atmosphere of happy friendship.
Ties of strong personal friendship were broken when he went from us.
William Walker Blackall, B.A., D.C.L., M.B.E., came from the Old Country to be Headmaster of Bishop Feild College. By his seventeen years' enthusiastic service to that school he had already left his impress on our educational life in this city when he was called to be Superintendent of Education (Church of England). For a quarter of a century in this post his life was filled with work so intensive and so far-sighted that he has long been a national figure in our educational and community life.
Of the varied gifts of mind and heart and his use of them in such fields as athletics; the promotion of public health; educational organizations of many kinds, such as the Council of Higher Education, of which he was an original member and, of late years, the Honorary President, and the Association for Adult Education, patriotic and social activities, such as the Land Development Association, of which he was the first president, and the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements; and his long and careful devotion to the Church of England in this country: of all these and other services to the land of his adoption we can barely make mention here.
But it is as a great friend and Founding Trustee of the Memorial University College that we chiefly think of him to-day. To speak for myself, he was the first whom I, as a young man here, heard declare his faith in university education for Newfoundlanders in their own country and avow his intention to work to this end. With the other Founding Trustees of this College, whose names and work are known to us all so well, the year 1925 was the occasion of much satisfaction, for it was then that the University College began its work in these buildings. For eight years Dr. Blackall was Honorary Bursar as well as Trustee of the College, and his attention to its work was detailed and minute as well as sympathetic and kindly. Two years ago he told me that he regarded his share in this university foundation as the crowning achievement of his educational labours in this country.
Dr. Blackall's grasp of the essential quality of university life was most acute. This was recognized some years ago when, after his retirement, he was asked to make a study of the co-ordination of university education in the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
The Board of Governors. The service of Mr. L. W. Shaw, M.A., for nearly seven years on our Board of Governors as member ex officio, came to an end when he relinquished the post of Secretary for Education to become Secretary for Civil Re-establishment and Vocational Training. As Mr. Shaw now leaves this country for educational work elsewhere the College bids him farewell and offers its good wishes for continued success and happiness.
The College congratulates Mr. I. J. Samson on his appointment as Secretary for Education. Mr. Samson has been a member of the Board of Governors since its establishment and was a Trustee of the College before that.
Changes in the Faculty. We welcomed back this year Professor A. M. Fraser, who had been granted sabbatical leave last year in order to undertake the historical part of survey of Newfoundland affairs being made by the Royal Institute of International Affairs and other bodies. As professor of education, replacing Dr. E. C. Powell, we were fortunate in securing Mr. R. L. Andrews, M.A., one of our own graduates, who had been for seven years a supervising inspector of schools. Mr. Andrews now goes to the Government Department of Education in an administrative post. We shall be very sorry to lose him from our Faculty and from the College life. To fill the vacancy in the department of Chemistry Mr. F. B. Maddock, M.Sc., was appointed as associate-professor, Mr. Maddock has studied at this College, at Dalhousie University and at McGill University and has several years' experience in university teaching.
Professor A. G. Gillingham, who had for some time wished to serve in one of His Majesty's Armed Forces, was finally accepted by the Canadian Navy last Autumn, and is now an officer in the R.C.N.V.R. In Lieutenant Gillingham's absence Mr. J. B. Ashley, B.A. (Oxon.), a man of sound classical training, is carrying his load of teaching.
Mr. R. Duder, who is at Harvard University for his sabbatical year, has been replaced by Miss Marguerite DuBois, M.A., who has given us good service in the teaching of French and English.
Miss Margaret Howe, who as Instructor in Art has given the College three years of skilled and devoted service, has so endeared herself to Faculty and students alike that we feel her leaving very keenly. Every good wish follows her into her new life.
The College suffers a real blow in the loss of Professor R. T. Harling, who is leaving Newfoundland after thirteen years in charge of the department of physics. His expert acquaintance with his field, his lucid and thorough style of teaching and his efficient performance of many a College duty make his departure from us a matter of genuine regret. It will be very hard to replace him.
Numbers. The registration this year was 169 men and 95 women in the regular College classes. The First University Year included 97 persons, the Second Year 59, Third Year and Special Students 13; the Teacher-Training class had 95. Causes due to the War, especially the black-out reduced much our evening and extension programme. Our Navigation School, however, served 130 persons during the year. The Canadian Legion Educational Service held several classes in our rooms during the year. The College acted as host to several other groups also.
An Appendix gives lists of passes and distinctions won this year. In the Arts and Sciences 55 have successfully completed the First year, 13 in Class One. The number graduating to-day in Arts and Science is 55 and the number of Teacher-Training diplomas won is 84, of which 17 are in Class One.
The Libraries. I commend to your attention the annual report of the Librarian which forms the first appendix to this Report. The Library is the heart of any college and its quality and use are the pulse-beat which indicates the life of the institution. Not only would I emphasize the large number of new books recently acquired -- some 1100 -- and the 40 periodicals regularly received but also the pains taken to teach and encourage our students to use them well. To make a man or woman feel at home with books is no easy task and generally takes time, but it is nevertheless indispensable to a real education especially in the case of student-teachers and others who may be going into communities where so few books are to be found. For this reason alone it would be desirable to keep our students in College longer than the two years which are all that most of them can now enjoy.
The chief trouble with our Library now appears to be what may be called growing-pains. It is well organized and well managed. We now see the wisdom of the early policy of the Board in emphasizing the importance of trained librarianship.
Courses of Study. I report that the usual subjects of instruction have been treated in a satisfactory manner. Few formal changes have been made except, of course, in the way of presenting the topics which, in the hands of such skilled teachers as my colleagues are, will always vary to suit each class. More attention has been given to Nature Study for the teachers in training and some manual training has been given. The instructor in Guiding, given to women teachers in training, had to be dropped because the Commissioner for Training was unable to recommend an instructor.
Next year we hope to be able to offer additional courses in such timely subjects as Navigation (for the university students) and Mechanics, and a course in Newfoundland History.
For purpose of record may I repeat that the College is giving two university years in arts and science, a two-year pre-medical course, a three-year course in engineering, a two-year course in household science, and a one-year course in teacher-training; all demand proper matriculation as pre-requisite. Several non-credit courses and various cultural activities are also available and some are compulsory. The College also operates a School of Navigation to prepare men for certificates, both home-trade and foreign (British Board of Trade).
The subjects regularly taught (five "subjects" make a normal year's work) included: Biology 1, 2, 3; Chemistry 1, 2, 3; Latin 1, 2; Greek 1, 2; the Engineering subjects of Drawing 1, 2, 3, Surveying 1 ,2, and Mechanics 2, 3, 4, 5; English 1, 2; French 1, 2; Geology; German 1, 2; History 1, 2; Political Science; Economics; Household Science 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Mathematics 1, 2, 3, 4; Physics 1, 2, 3; the Teacher-Training subjects of Method and Management, Psychology, Principles, Social Studies, English, Speech, Health, Nature Study, Music, Art, Oral French.
Other Service. Again this year we provided accommodation and some instruction for the programme of the Canadian Legion War Services (Educational), which serves Newfoundlanders as well as Canadians in His Majesty's Armed Forces. The local committee directing this work included members of our Board of Governors, the President and some of our graduates, while the Administrator is also a graduate.
We were again able to give the use, which at first seemed impossible, of our Assembly Hall and other rooms for the admirable work of the St. John's Players. Other rooms have on occasion been used by such organizations as the Girl Guides, the Old Memorials, and, of course, the Civil Defence authority.
During the whole year our gymnasium, women-students' common-room, locker room and lavatories, the general-science laboratory and other rooms were used by the Government for hospital purposes.
School of Navigation. The number of men, mainly seamen, given intensive instruction during the year was 130 (more than twice last year's registration) of whom 79 have at this date (June 5) qualified for certificates, 18 as master and 56 as mate, while 12 others are awaiting examination and the rest are still attending the classes. Their places of service include the merchant navy, home and foreign trade and the Royal Canadian Navy. Most of these men are Newfoundlanders but some have come from Britain or Canada.
This School, regarded by some as visionary when we began it in the early years of the College, has now completely justified its establishment. While its contribution to our War effort is quite considerable, if indicated alone by the number of persons who have passed through it to be granted naval commissions, yet it will have trained a good supply of potential officers for the need of post-war shipping.
It is with pleasure that I pay tribute to the zeal and enthusiasm of Mr. A. G. Parrott in this important work.
Art. I have asked Miss M. Howe to make a special report on the year's work in Art and this will be found in the Appendix. Some features of that department's activities are the keenness of the students for this work, their evident enjoyment of it, and the value for the prospective teacher of any study of children's artistic instincts. In the informal classes on the meaning of art and the exhibits held at intervals we find invaluable the Art Collection, now so greatly augmented, given us by the Carnegie Corporation. The Loan Collection also grows in use, but can give still greater service.
It is with much regret that the College says good-bye to Miss Howe whose three years of loyal and friendly service will not soon be forgotten here.
Music. The instruction in singing given to the teachers-in-training continues to be marked by the quiet but enthusiastic efficiency which we have come to expect from Miss Jennings. We wish more of this could be done.
The College owes a debt of thanks to Mr. F. R. Emerson, one of our Governors, who has been good enough to visit us each Friday to help our understanding of the music of the masters and to share with us some of his insight into its beauty and value. It is no coincidence that since he has been coming to us our students are more and more inclined to listen, in groups or even singly, to the classical records provided on our Carnegie Music Set.
Out-of-Class Activities. Our students enjoy a good measure of self-government, exercised through a Representative Council elected by popular vote. These officers were Mr. B. Higgins (president), Miss Alison O'Reilly (secretary), Mr. Allister Fleming (treasurer), Miss D. Hogan, Miss E. Macnaughton, Mr. K. Doody, and Mr. D. Strong. Their varied and responsible duties, which included the administration of student funds, were performed in a most efficient and tactful manner and I offer them here the thanks of the College.
Several student societies were active during the year. The Arts and Science Society (president, Mr. J. Hillier) arranged debates, a musical programme, looked after one evening "social", and so on. The International Relations Club (convenor, Miss E. Macnaughton) held fortnightly meetings at which the members studied, both by set debates and by informal discussion, personal aspects of the international scheme; such matters as the Beveridge Report and after-war planning was considered; and the special I.R.C. library was made available to the members. The Student-Teachers' Society met frequently to discuss matters relating to their professional interest, to hear talks by visiting speakers and to promote mutual understanding. The Engineering Society (president, E. Tuff) had its usual energetic season, of which a good account is given in the report (given in the Appendix) of the Department of Engineering. I refer you also to the report of the Instructor of Art for a concise account of the interesting Art Study Club (president, Miss A. Van Rooy).
Dramatics. The work of the Dramatic Society (president, Mr. C. Abraham) is well worth attention. The production of a play is much more than mere amusement for us who are "out in front." Not only does it teach the arts of speaking and acting but gives very useful training for those who attend to such matters as selection, casting, copyright, cost, scenery, lighting, stage-managing, make-up, and costume. In the first semester three one-act plays were given careful presentation, while for the second semester the three-act play "Kind Lady" was shown with a feeling for dramatic values and attention to detail quite unexpected on the amateur stage. The students are much obliged to Misses Baird, DuBois, Howe and Organ for their painstaking oversight of these productions.
The Dramatic Society raised a sum of money which was used to give a scholarship to help a worthy student to proceed from the first to the second College year.
Health and Games. Since our students are expected to study hard they must be in good health. We are as watchful as we can be, but parents should they usually do work with us, in the case of the younger students, and the more mature student is also urged to look well to his physical condition in these important years of his life. Care should also be exercised for the state of mind of the student, and we should remember that good work brings the greatest happiness to life.
The College owes much to the Department of Health and Welfare for the complete physical examination given by Dr. L. Miller and his colleagues to all our teachers in training and others and for the consequent treatment of those found in defective health. Inoculation against diphtheria was also provided. As formerly, lectures on public health were given to prospective teachers.
The health training provided in Miss Lodge's classes is an admirable feautre, as well as the direct or indirect instruction given in other College classes, such a Household Science and Biology.
Social Events. The general life of the College has been pleasant and its atmosphere harmonious and happy. Social functions are not discouraged but their number is regulated and they are kept simple, with proper attention to chaperoning and the like. Groups of students themselves act as hosts for most of these affairs and thus learn lessons of courtesy and the pleasure of meeting guests. My wife and I were hosts on various occasions to parties of alumni, students and friends of the College.
The annual Students' Banquet at Christmas was not held this year; a simpler party took its place. The Christmas Tree for children from less well-to-do-homes was a happy occasion. Parties of students helped frequently to entertain some of the many service-men now in our midst.
Alumni. The graduates and past students of the College hold a secure place in our regard and we find much satisfaction as we observe their further achievements and their growing value for service to the community. We have learned of at least 23 who have just won university degrees abroad, in some cases with marked distinction. An increasing number of our graduates now hold posts of responsibility in essential vocations such as the church, education, the public service, the learned professions and, of course, the Armed Services.
Our records now show that at least 222 former students of this College have volunteered for service in one of the combatant forces of this country or other parts of the Empire; a small few have been rejected. Several have seen active service on land, at sea or in the air. Some have already been commended for good service and we have heard lately of two who were awarded the D.F.C. But alas! the number of those who will not return, having given their lives for their country, is now 17, 12 more than given in last year's Report. Their Alma Mater salutes them all with affection and respect. In our prayers we shall not forget them nor their parents nor those who hold them dear.
The Old Memorials Association, as the alumni society is called, has had a fruitful year under the presidency of Mr. C. K. Howse, B.Sc,. and with Miss Iris Lacey as secretary. Money was raised, a larger amount than last year, to provide comforts for alumni in the Services, the annual scholarship was provided, and a sum was placed in a scholarship endowment fund. The study-groups, so valuable a former activity of the Association, could not be carried on well this year for reasons mostly connected with the War.
Organised games are still carried on, in spite of the loss of our gymnasium and the loan of our playing-field. The women-students played field-hockey and basketball and the men played football, basketball and had regular times for boxing and swimming. No organised games were played in outside series but inter-faculty contests called forth much enthusiasm. The engineers again won both inter-faculty trophies. The games were directed by the Athletic Union (president, Mr. A. Noel).
Thanks. I now offer respectful and sincere thanks to the many persons who have helped to make the year a success by interest and encouragement, direction and supervision, kindness and forbearance, service and goodwill. Among them are His Excellency the Governor, our Visitor, and Lady Walwyn, the Honourable the Commissioner for Education, the Board of Governors, the President Emeritus, the Vice-President, the members of the Faculty, especially the Registrar and Assistant, parents and friends, principals and teachers of city schools, graduates and the members of the student-body.
Celebrate Memorial Home | History | The 40's | 1943 | Contents