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Report of the President for the Year 1945-1946

The Chairman of The Board of Governors of the Memorial University College.


I have the honour to submit the following Report, with certain Appendices, of some of the work of the College during the university year 1945-46. No financial statement is here given, for one is published annually by the Government of Newfoundland as one of "other Public Accounts" in the "Revenue and Appropriation Accounts."

The Year. The year now closing is doubtless one of the most significant in human history. The conclusion of so great and terrible a war, itself an event of the highest importance, is of especial interest to a university foundation because it was a war for human liberty, and freedom is the lifeblood of a seat of higher learning. Knowing now something of the fate of universities in lands oppressed by their own despotic governments or held down by the ruthless hand of an invader, we can appreciate at once our own good fortune and the great value of academic freedom.

But the manner in which the War came to its end is of more stupendous import than the fact itself. The use of nuclear energy released by atomic fission as an overwhelming instrument of human destruction is fraught with consequences which mankind seems - alas! - unable to realize. Nothing less than the most enlightened leadership backed by the most intelligent and informed popular support is sufficient to prevent the misuse of this terrific source of enormous energy on the one hand or on the other to apply it to the peaceful purposes of economic progress. If we all understand the urgency of this matter then our libraries and colleges would be crowded by eager students of the physical sciences and of the sciences of political and social behaviour.

Among the problems consequent on the return of world peace is the future of our own country. The forthcoming National Convention is, of course, uppermost in all our minds. During the past season the College offered, in addition to its regular undergraduate instruction in economics and political science, a series of evening public lectures on the principles of government. A fresh beginning was also made in citizenship study-groups. The International Relations Club was again active. An event of interest was the recent publication, under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, of the survey entitled Newfoundland: Economic, Diplomatic and Strategic Studies. To this volume Professor A. M. Fraser contributed several important sections.

During the year the College said a reluctant farewell to Vice-Admiral Sir H. T. Walwyn and Lady Walwyn. While Governor of Newoundland Sir Humphrey honoured the College by accepting the title and office of Visitor and his keen interest in all our work, with his frequent visits and encouragement, was of very great value to us. Lady Walwyn's kindly and gracious concern for the College, as for other agencies for the betterment of Newfoundland life, have put us deep in her debt.

The representative of His Majesty the King is always given a warm place in the hearts of our Newfoundland people. The College offers to his Excellency Sir Gordon MacDonald, K.C.M.G., and to Lady Macdonald a most respectful and sincere welcome to Newfoundland. We have a ready assurance of His Excellency's goodwill towards the College, and Lady Macdonald has also shown a gracious interest. May their years on this Island be full of happiness !

Death of the President Emeritus. It is with deep emotion that I record here the death on April 28th at Beckenham in Kent of the first President. J.L. Paton was so robust in mind and body that we can hardly think of him as ageing and dying. At a Solemn Assembly of the College held on May 1st we recalled his life and work among us and his distinguished services to education before coming to this country; his untiring energy and devotion and his high educational and ethical standards; his inspiring personal influence on students and colleagues and the wide range of his interest and sympathy; and the remarkable distinction of his character. It is impossible to indicate in this Report how much the College owes to John Lewis Paton. We can only marvel at the good fortune which led to our shores one recently described (in the Manchester Guardian of April 29th) as "probably the greatest educationist of this century," and hope that we may be true, in some measure at least, to the ideals of truth and goodness which he so truly served.

The Faculty. It is once more my pleasure to report that the learned and loyal group of ladies and gentlemen who are my colleagues in administration and instruction have carried out their duties with care and distinction. Diligence and skill in teaching and direction, respect for the personality of the students, awareness of the expanding world of knowledge, and worthy citizenship in the local community are gratifying marks of their service.

Professor A. G. Gillingham returned to the College in September after pursuing advanced studies at Harvard University, following his discharge from the Royal Canadian Navy. Associate Professor R. Duder is still on leave of absence; Major Duder's service with the Allied Military Government in the Berlin area is a work of much value. Miss Georgina Summers, B.A., now discharged from the Royal Canadian Air Force, has recently resigned from her post here as Assistant-Registrar and Lecturer in Latin; she deserves the highest commendation for her years of efficient and faithful service to the College. Miss Margaret Halley, B.A., who has so well replaced Miss Summers for three years and who has now resigned from the College staff, has well earned our warmest thanks and best wishes for a happy future. Miss Dorothy Carnell, Demonstrator in Chemistry, is also leaving us after three years of faithful and efficient service. As Instructor in Art Miss Dorothy Wilmson, B.F.A., has justified the good recommendations with which she came to us three years ago and it is with genuine regret that we see her return to Canada.

Numbers. In the regular classes of the College we have had this year 262 men and 102 women registered. The First University Year included 142 persons, the Second Year 68, Third Year and special students 30; the Teacher-Training Year had 124. Our School of Navigation gave instruction to 120 men during the year. Other extension and evening classes were given to more than 250 persons.

The large enrollment this year has imposed a strain on our facilities and the situation next year promises to be even more acute. Crowding is perhaps most marked in the laboratories. At the beginning of the year I placed before the Board a memorandum on the effect of the increased registration on the work of the College; I need not enlarge on the matter now.

A special appendix gives lists of passes and distinctions won during the year. In Arts and Science 74 have successfully completed the First Year, 18 of them in Class One. The number graduating today in Arts and Science is 53. and the number of Teacher Training diplomas won is 96, of which 35 are of Class One.

War Veterans in College. We had the privilege of accepting this year no less than 30 veterans as undergraduates. Some of them were handicapped by late entrance and most of them doubtless found it hard to settle in to the routine of studies after their years in the Forces. But on the whole they have been quite successful in their studies. They are mature, purposeful and eager to use well the funds provided for their post-discharge education, for they know the value of good training.

Professor A. G. Gillingham has been good enough to act as special adviser to student-veterans.

We expect more war-veterans to enter College in September. Some are completing their matriculation by special studies and several by attending the Adult Education School for Veterans set up at Fort William. If we should have to limit the number of entrants next year, we must give veterans a first claim.

Courses of Instruction. Again I report with satisfaction a year's work of sound instruction. For purpose of record I remind you that in this the 21st year of the College we offered two-year courses of university studies in arts and science, in pre-medicine and pre-dentistry, and a one-year course in teacher-training. Three of these departments in household science; a three-year course for the engineering certificate; may be regarded as semi-professional since some of their subjects are not usually taken by the general student, and I have asked for special reports on Teacher-Training, Engineering and Household Science and added them as appendices to this Report.

During the year the Faculty, at the request of the Governors, prepared a memorandum on a possible lines of expansion.

Teacher-Training. I beg to draw your attention to Professor Hickman's report on the year's work in Teacher-Training. New features are the extension of important work of practice-teaching, and the Teachers' Service Bureau, which has already given much help to teachers throughout the country. Both these activities you will note tend to relate the work of the College still more closely with that of the schools. Once more I thank most cordially the principals and staff of the city schools for their generous help in our practice-teaching.

You will observe also the large class, the attention paid to health and nutrition, the use of films, a series of "background" lectures, and a "follow up" plan for graduates.

Engineering. I append an interesting account of the department of engineering's work for the year. An important part of it was the memorandum sent to the Board. The number of students electing the Surveying Camp held in Harbour Grace and already described in a three-year engineering course is the highest we have ever had and the limits of draughting-room and other accommodation seem now to have been reached, but it appears that next year's applications will be equaly numerous. Among the valuable adjuncts to our instruction in engineering subjects are the Seminar, the geological excursions, visits to industrial plants, the use of films, and pleasant social gatherings.

Household Science. Miss Baird's report of her department forms one of the Appendices to this Report. The instruction includes not only the regular household science subjects of the two-year course but also classes in nutrition, for both men and women, and in household science for the women teachers in nutrition and knows something of the effects of malnutrition in this country. Much use is made of exhibitions as teaching projects, for example the practical work in clothing done by our women teachers-in-training. Useful experiments have been performed, e.g., in food-testing. Cooperation with other educational and financial agencies has been mutually helpful.

I take this opportunity of recording how helpful Miss Baird and her young ladies always are on the occasion of college receptions and like functions.

Instruction in Household Science is so important that I indulge the hope that before long an expanded and lengthened course may be made possible by the provision of increased facilities.

The Libraries. The annual report of the Librarian forms the first appendix to this Report. You will be glad to learn from it that we have now a carefully selected bookstock of more than 14,000 volumes - no mean achievement for a college in this country; that much attention given to helping our students to learn and value the use of the student's best friend - the book; that our College library is - within our limits - up to date and helps the work of all other College departments; and that we are looking to the future. You will be concerned, I know, over the lack of necessary space for books and readers.

Extension and Evening Classes. Although the College carries on a considerable programme of evening and extension classes, we employ no director of extension. Such direction has in former years been a task of the President, with the valuable help of the Registrar and some assistance from the head of the Engineering Department for technical classes. This year, however, I have been relieved of much of this heavy load by Professor A. G. Gillingham, whom for help so freely given I thank most warmly. He has prepared a brief report on this work and I have appended it to this Report.

The list of evening and extension classes held in 1945-1946 is as follows: Accountancy (an advanced and an elementary class), Art, Nurses, Folk-dancing, German, Latin, Boilermakers' Layout, Workshop Astronomy, Blueprint Reading, Elementary Chemistry, Chemistry for Mathematics, Navigation, Pharmacy, Philosophy, Elementary Physics, Principles of Government, Public Welfare.

Our Navigation School deserves a special word. From its small beginnings in the presidency of Mr. Paton - a firm believer in relating the work of the College to the life of the people - this School is now really a vocational institute. During the past twelve months as many as 120 men were given intensive instruction, of whom 81 have to this date qualified for government certificates of competency, 28 as masters and 53 as mates. Except for 6 Canadians these men are all Newfoundlanders. The number actually receiving instruction today is 42. During the year 60 men were registered through the Department of Civil Reestablishment.

When the history of our efforts in the recent war comes to be told, the work of the College Navigation School will occupy no insignificant page.

Health. The Department of Public Health and Welfare has again earned the thanks of the College for the thorough medical inspection given by its officers to our students at the beginning of the year and for continued advice and medical treatment in necessary cases. We may perhaps mention especially Dr. L. Miller, Director of Medical Services, Dr. L. Legrow and the Department's nursing staff and also the staff of the Sanatorium and Miss E. Wells, Superintendent of Nurses there.

Dr. Miller was also good enough to give to our teachers in training a valuable series of lectures on health, and good results were obtained in the tests given to members of his class. Professor Lodge's presentation of the subject of Health for teachers in training was as usual good and was related to her practical course in physical education. The laws of health are expounded in several other places in the College curriculum, especially in the dietetics and nutrition sections of Household Science and in Biology, and also, of course, in our games and athletics.

Games. The College employs no physical instructor. Our programme of games is arranged by a joint committee of students and faculty. On the chairman of this committee a large share of responsibility rests and Professor S. J. Carew has borne this load again this year. To him and the committee I offer warm thanks. A report by Professor Carew forms an appendix to this Report. Some of its items are the introduction of badminton in addition to football, hockey, basketball, and volleyball, the acquisition of some badly-needed equipment, the keen and wholesome intra-college competition; and the help of kind friends such as the Reverend President of St. Bonaventure's College.

The College playing-field handed back to us last year by the Department of Defence was then seeded down in an attempt to replace the eroded surface. But the absence of suitable fencing and the continual trespassing may turn this fine piece of national property once more into a barren. Also the splendid Virginia creepers which once adorned our building and many of the memorial trees have been wantonly destroyed. We would like to see them replaced and protected.

Music. Our musical programme has been richer than last year's. Miss Jennings has worked hard with her large class of teachers in training and they have profited greatly, for she is an instructor of good taste and experience.

Several of our students have vocal and instrumental accomplishments which they have shared with us all at Assembly periods and other times.

In the field of music appreciation we have been most fortunate indeed, for Mr. F. R. Emerson has this year given two parallel series of twelve lectures each to large classes, whose attendance would have been even larger had the timetable permitted. The main topics treated are the lives of some of the great composers, an interpretation of typical works, and an introduction to the folk-songs of our own Island.Mr. Emerson's special gifts in this field were generously shared with us and we are most grateful to him for such a splendid series of lectures.

An active music committee of the Faculty was at work during the year and have planned for an improved musical service next year.

Art. Miss Dorothy Wilson's final year at the College has been a busy one. She has taught School Art to our teachers in training, giving the principles of design and colour with imaginative drawing and illustration. This course also includes practice in such crafts as can be taught in school, e.g., puppet-making and linocutting. The students of the Household Science course have been instructed in interior decoration and also in costume designing.

The Saturday class for children from nearby schools was again conducted and our little guests appeared to be both happy and busy, some of their work indicating real talent.

An evening class in drawing from the live model and also painting in oils was held. Fortnightly exhibits of the reproductions from our Carnegie Teaching Set were carefully arranged.

Guiding. The Cadet Company (First St. John's) which was reorganized last year carried on well this year. We were fortunate in having Mrs. Nelson to start the training off so well up to December that the Company was then able to carry on under its own student officers, viz., Miss E. Fowlow, Miss E. Yetman and Miss W. Saunders. On November 24th Lady Walwyn visited the College to conduct an enrolment to say farewell and to speak words of advice and encouragement. Miss C. Furlong's visits and helpful talks have also proven of much value to the members of the Company.

A short report on Guiding is given as an appendix to this Report.

Various Student Activities. Our undergraduates have always managed most of their own affairs, apart from actual instruction, through an elected body called the Students' Representative Council. This year's Council was made up of Mr. W. Cohen (president), Miss Evette Epstein (secretary), Mr. E. Dalton (treasurer), Miss Dorothy Templeton, Miss Gladys Richards, Mr. H. Thistle, Mr. Seviour, Mr. M. Green, Mr. T. Halley, Mr. A. Taylor. When Mr. Cohen was unfortunately laid aside by illness, Mr. John Henderson was elected to replace him as president. I record here my approval of their excellent management of student affairs, including the administration of a large Union Fund, and my thanks for their courtesy and tactful behaviour in office.

The College magazine Cap and Gown (editor in chief, Mr. C. Abraham), now in its sixteenth year, will I believe prove to be a worthy production. Illness of editor and delays in printing have postponed its publication a little this year.

The Dramatic Society (president, Miss G. Richards; secretary, Miss V. Edgecombe) with Miss Organ as adviser, produced during the year Sir Arthur Pinero's "The Playgoers" and "The Proposal" by Chekhoff.

Under the general control of the Students' Representative Council a number of student societies engaged in various out-of-class activities. These are valuable not only as useful variants of class-room instruction but also because they help to make students familiar with the principles of organization and discussion. None of these is exclusive in character but they do cater to various tastes.

The Teacher-Training Society (presidents, Mr. E. Andrews for the first semester and Mr. R. Winsor for the second; secretary, Miss D. Templeton) held regular fortnightly meetings from September to May with debates, speeches, addresses and general discussion.

The Arts and Science Society (president, Mr. H. Squires; secretary, Miss Gladys Richards) pursued a similar programme with perhaps a more general range of interest.

The Engineering Society (president, Mr. F. D. Butler; secretary, Mr H. Lilly) was again a very active group. Their seminars, smokers, excursions, and the annual banquet were all very profitable and pleasant.

The Pre-medical Society (president, Mr. A. Taylor; secretary, Miss Patricia Giovanetti) did not restrict its membership to pre-medical students and its programme was quite wide in its range, with social and athletic activities as well. Its meetings were held regularly and well attended.

In the International Relations Club (president, Mr. J. Carroll; secretary, Mr. C. Hancock), which is supplied with the admirable publications of the Carnegie Peace Endowment, the meetings were informal fortnightly gatherings at which serious papers on international affairs were presented and discussed.

A new organization this year was the Veterans' Club (president, L. Forbes until February and Mr. R. Carter until June; secretary, Mr. Dunfield) for whom we managed to find a small club-room, which the men themselves helped to furnish, some kind benefactors assisting.The main pupose of the Club was to secure conditions for quiet study and good fellowship.

Study-Groups. A timely venture this year was the organization of study-groups to consider some of the political and economic problems of our own country at the present time. The Vice-president was good enough to suggest the general lines along which such groups might proceed. Mr. H. J. Squires has presented a general report. There were eight groups, each of which held several meetings, and the topics studied included: our political problem, its economic aspects, union with Canada, practical forms of administration in this country. The report gives an interesting summary of conclusions reached by the groups or their members.

Alumni. The College follows the careers of its graduates and past students with eager interest and one is tempted to enlarge on their achievements from year to year. Their record in the late War is an honourable one, for no less than 310 volunteered for service in the Armed Forces of the Crown. Some 30 were rejected, but several have been decorated or commended for valour, some have suffered imprisonment or loss of health and 28 are missing or known to be dead. The College Roll of Honour will not only adorn our walls but should be inscribed on our own hearts and lives.

Our graduates continue to take the place in our country's life for which their education and their gifts qualify them. A two-year college might not be expected to produce much lasting effect on its graduates, but many Old Memorials constantly testify to the influence of their Alma Mater.

News constantly reaches us of the success - in face of keen competition - of several of those who have gone abroad for further study and is a source of joy to us. Recent instances of the kind are fresh in our minds.

This may be a good place to refer to the production by the St. John's Players of a good play, "The Road to Melton", whose author, Grace Butt, is a past student of this College.

The alumni society is known as the Old Memorials Association (president, Mr. R. Bartlett; secretary, Miss Iris Lacey). Among its activities is the provision of a fine annual scholarship for a capable and deserving present student.

Various Activities of the Year. The social life of the College this year has been carried on in an atmosphere of the utmost warmth and good fellowship. Student "socials", as they are called, though always properly chaperoned, are managed by groups of students as hosts who thus learn lessons of courtesy to guests. Moreover, since our students come from widely-separated localities, these simple functions enable them to meet one another under the best auspices.

Our women students held a Christmas Tree Party for children from less well-to-do homes. The Dramatic Society's plays and the Teacher-Training Puppet-show were shown to invited guests. The Servicemen's Club were hosts at the annual graduation picnic.

My wife and 1 have been glad to hold certain receptions during the year. The largest was a Parents' Reception, in which the whole Faculty co-operated in a gracious manner. Others had as principal guests the veteran students and their wives, the teachers in training, other student groups, the Students' Representative Council, the members of the Faculty, the graduating class and other groups friendly to the College.

The general tone of College life is high. Disciplinary action is practically unknown. Our young people soon learn to look on their professors as their friends.

Our women students are particularly fortunate in having as Dean of Women Miss M. G. Mansfield. I have asked her to submit a brief annual report and it forms an appendix to this Report. I commend it to your attention.

The programmes at our weekly Assembly have been full of interest. We have had addresses by Honourable J. S. Neill, Doctors E. A. Saunders and H. L. Pottle, Messrs. F. R. Emerson, H. B. Goodridge, C. E. Hunt, Professor A. M. Fraser and others; musical selections by several of our own talented students and generous visiting artists, and other programmes.

The end of the War has made available once more the traditional academic gowns worn by our students and linking them to the collegians of past centuries and of other lands, symbols of the great heritage of knowledge that is now theirs.

The past year has been a difficult one because of the large registration, the crowding of laboratories and classrooms and the like. But the young people of Newfoundland are worth the labour or anxiety we expend on their behalf and whatever better facilities for higher education it is possible to provide.

Thanks. I offer respectful and sincere thanks to the many persons who have helped the work of the College along during the year: His Excellency the Governor and Lady Macdonald for kindly goodwill already shown us, the late Governor and Lady Walwyn, the Honourable the Commissioner for Education, members of the Board of Governors, my colleagues of the Faculty, especially the Registrar and her Assistant, parents of students, benefactors and other kind friends, principals and assistants of city schools and colleges, alumni and present undergraduates whose friendship is a precious possession.

I have honour to be,
Your obedient servant,


June 8th., 1946.

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