PRESIDENT'S REPORT - 1930-1931
By President J.L. Paton, M.A.
We started the year with a slight increase in numbers. That increase was mainly in the second year. Instead of twenty five in our graduating class as last year we have had this year forty five. That is just what we have most desired.
The standard of work has been well maintained. Miss Margery Frost gained the highest total yet recorded for Junior Matriculation two years ago when she was the Junior Jubilee Scholar. This year she was the Senior Jubilee. But she would be the first to tell you that she had to face severe competition. In fact Mr. H.D. Roberts was ahead of her; he took six subjects and got over 80% in each of them. It was his age which disqualified him from taking Senior Jubilee. Mr. J.T. Howley, who came next to her, was only 24 marks behind on a total of 1000 and next came six who were within 19 marks of his total.
The increased grant from the Carnegie Foundation made it possible for us to carry out a scheme that had been in our mind for some years, that is, to set up an Engineering Department. The Universities of Canada have recently decided to require one year of Arts for students who plan to study Engineering, This is equivalent to making the engineering course a five year course instead of four. In consultation with the authorities of the Nova Scotia Technical College, we decided to put on a three years' course of preliminary engineering, so that our students passing successfully thro' these three years will be able in future to pass to the Nova Scotia Technical College or to McGill and complete their full engineering degree in two years study abroad.
As a teacher for the engineering subjects, we were fortunate in securing a Newfoundlander, Mr. T.H. Winter, who is himself a graduate of Nova Scotia Technical College and was highly commended to us by the Principal, Dr. Sexton.
We were fortunate also in securing the support of the large industrial firms in the Island. The Wabana Mines have taken a great interest in our Engineering students. They invited them over to Bell Island and gave them a day full of interest and instruction. The Cable Company invited them over to Bay Roberts. The Nfld. Light and Power had them over to see the new developments at Witless Bay. The I.P.P. Co. at Corner Brook are arranging a special surveying camp for them in the course of this vacation and Mr. E.A. Charlton, the Director, has offered a scholarship of $500.00 for the student who stands first on the list. The Imperial Tobacco Co. and other city firms have asked them to visit their works. And Mr. T.A. Hall, the Government Engineer and Mr. Robinson, his assistant, have gone out of their way to give them all manner of help and encouragement. In short, like most new born infants, the newborn engineering department has had a lot of fuss made over it.
We are losing Mr. Winter and every budding engineer in this College feels that in losing him not only the College but he personally is losing a good friend. He has started engineering at this College and he has done it under considerable difficulties. Instead of having a proper drafting room, he has had to camp out in this hall setting up desks and then packing them away when the room was wanted for physical training or whatever it might be. Everyone on the staff dislikes using this hall for lectures. It is so hard to establish rapport with your class; it is so distracting to have people passing both above and below. Mr. Winter has had no other room but this. In spite of this, he has made a great success of his classes. The class has felt that it was being handled by a man who knew his work. Also Mr. Winter is a sportsman of repute. He has been of the greatest service to our ice hockey team. He has been deservedly popular with all and we are very sorry to be losing him.
We are losing Professor Hogg. It is a loss which seems irretrievable. Even before he came on the staff, Professor Hogg identified himself with the College. He put the idea into his pupils. No man did so much to link us on to the schools which feed us. He was of the greatest service to us in connection with our sports. Two years ago he succeeded Dr. Mennie. Search high and low, we could not have found a better man. "True friends" said William Penn, advise justly, assist readily, and adventure boldly." In all these ways and all his relationships, both with scholars, with colleagues, and with the outside public, Professor Hogg has shown himself a true friend of that stamp - one who advises justly, assists readily, and adventures boldly. Two years only has he been with us and yet, at Dalhousie and at McGill, his pupils are already showing the mettle of their pasture and the thoroughness of their training. And there is not a pupil in his classes who has not felt the impact of his personality and caught his enthusiasm for thoroughness and fidelity in the search for truth.
But the worst of having a good man is that other people know it as well as yourself. His light cannot be hid under a bushel. And our cousins in the South are noted for alertness of outlook, as their lingo has it "they keep their eyes skinned." Phillips Exeter Academy heard of him. They sent for him, they saw him, and they were conquered. Two years, no more, he has been with us. For these two years we are thankful. They have meant much. They have meant much because Professor Hogg has been much more to us than simply Professor of Chemistry. He has stood for the whole ideal of Science, as an untiring search for the truth of this Universe in the confident assurance that this Universe in which we find ourselves is a consistent and harmonious whole, that "truth is catholic and nature one". The true scientist is a man who "thro' lower truth seeks higher and eventually the highest, the man who says in Robert Browning's words:
- "The world's no blot for us,
- Nor blank: it means intensely and means good,
- To find its meaning is my meat and drink."
Such a man is our colleague Mr. Hogg. This is the spirit which breathes thro' his lectures and breathes thro' the man himself. It is that which makes him so much to us.
All the time I am conscious of the debt I owe to my staff. Never have I been so conscious of it as this year. I was away when the new season started in September when the plans for the new building were being hammered out and the new course in engineering were added. It was my good friend the Vice President who took charge and put all these most important matters through. I was away again when term opened in January and then the Vice President was taken seriously ill and was in hospital. Dr. Hunter then stopped into the breach, made all the arrangements, got things started and kept them going. The debt that I owe to the Vice President and the V.V. President is beyond the power of my poor stammering tongue to express. I want to thank them before all others. I want to thank Mr. Samson who came to our help in January and during the first half term took the first year Maths and Physics, also Miss Helena McGrath, M.A., an old student, whom we are delighted to have with us now as a colleague, and Mr. R.T. Harling who has been appointed to the Chair of Physics and has proved himself such a brilliant teacher of his subject. I could say more and I would say more but to tell you the truth there may be people around from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and I don't want them to hear about him yet a while.
The College has been indebted also to the S.R.C. Miss Margaret Butt, Miss Beth Manuel, Mr. Gerald Drover, Mr. Edgar House, Mr. O.W. Crummey. They have taken charge of all the students' activities and kept in weekly consultation with the staff. They have carried on the work with an omnicompetance which has been thoroughly appreciated by all of us.
The College has many friends. We are constantly receiving gifts. We commemorate these week by week in our college notes and also in our calendar. One gift however claims a special mention. The Old Colony Club, when it ceased to be, found itself possessed of an unexpected balance of $300.00. The President Mrs. Allan Fraser, the Treasurer Mrs. V.P. Burke, and Miss Maguerite Mitchell the Hon. Secretary put before the Club the suggestion that the money should be given to the Memorial University College to help us found a Students' Loan Fund, with the request that special regard should be paid to the needs of women students who without financial help of this kind would be unable to go forward to the University and complete their degrees. That is the purpose to which we have assigned it and we propose not to wrap it in a napkin but put it to use at once.
January, after the Christmas trade was over, brought us a time of considerable distress in the city. There were two alternatives, -- either to hand out a dole to the workless men, or else to find useful employment. The Prime Minister most wisely decided to find them useful employment. One of the first jobs taken in hand was the levelling of our campus. The weather fortunately was open. Within three days of the decision being reached some fifty men were employed on the work and now we have a sizable level space which only needs a good raking, and thick dressing of black soil and then sowing down with grass seed to make a football field. I wish we had the Prime Minister with us to-day that we might thank him for his thought of us not only in these matters but also for the way he has shown his belief in the College, by providing in these days of struggling for its future growth.
J.L. Paton, M.A.