Report of the President for the year 1939-1940

Memorial University College
Report of the President for the year 1939-1940
The Chairman,
The Board of Governors,
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 1939-1940. 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. This year now closing, the fifteenth in the life of our College, has been, of course, a most momentous one, since our nation is now at war. The War, which touches the lives of everyone and threatens to affect us all even more closely, might be expected, by the distractions of its anxieties and catastrophies, to disturb if not disrupt the study-life of a seat of higher learning. Nevertheless, our work has gone on steadily. Indeed the gravity of the past nine months has lent a serious tone to the work of our students and staff, who have realized that, whatever demands the future may bring, the present duty is to do well our immediate tasks.

In the early days of the War the College as a whole as well as individual members of the Faculty signified to the proper authority in each case our readiness to offer whatever form of national service we could each best give. The special knowledge of some of our Faculty is being used regularly. The offer of our Campus for the purpose of military training has been accepted. Two or three of our present students left us during the year to join a fighting service. A considerable number of our alumni have gone overseas and others continue to enlist. One of the finest men to hold our graduating diploma. Flying Officer Philip Templeman, lost his life on active service last March.

The War has provoked in our students a deep fellow-feeling with wearers of the cap and gown in other countries who have lost their liberties and their lives, a lively sense of the benefits of freedom, and hence a quickened loyalty to the cause of justice.

Retrospect. At the end of fifteen years it may be well to glance backward and see how this College has grown. We may compare the number of 57 students in 1925 with the 282 undergraduates of to-day; the 10 subjects of instruction given then with more than 50 which we offer now; the Faculty of 1925, four persons and two part-time, with to-day's Faculty, and two part-time; the small library of that first year with one now of 10,000 volumes; a single laboratory then with five laboratories (three of them too small) now; a small scholarship or two available then with the twelve now tenable at the College and a possible ten awarded now at graduation. In these fifteen years we have set up the Departments of Household Science, Engineering, Teacher-Training, and pre-Medical and pre-Agricultural studies. Evening and extension classes began in the very first year but much expansion is to be seen in this field also.

If one prefers to seek signs of true growth in less statistical forms, he may find it in the hardly-earned but now, I am told, well-established reputation for sound instruction which this little College holds outside as well as within this country; or he may note the steadily increasing demand for extension of our work both outward, to help those not hitherto directly served by us, and also upward, to provide at last a full university course.

The period of fifteen years has been long enough to establish a tradition, because high ideals and honest striving are timeless in their quality. Yet it is a short time in the history of a college, so that if, as we are told, the stamp of our work is already distinctly noticeable, this is a mere shadow of what it will be if the passing years allow this little seat of learning to burgeon and to ripen.

Staff. Few changes in the Faculty are to be reported. Mr. R. Duder, after four years as assistant, was promoted to Lecturer at the beginning of the season. Professor P. L. Lovett-Janison has spent the year on sabbatical leave, given to chemical study and research. The work of his department has been carried on very acceptably by A. Byron Adams, Esq., B.Sc., Ph.D. The place in the department of teacher-training, left vacant by the resignation of Miss A. M. Kent in 1938 and kindly filled for one year by Miss Zita O'Keefe, has now been given to Miss Mary J. Fitzpatrick, M.A., whose first year with us has been a good one. To Mrs. C. J. Carey (Miss Elizabeth Smith), who has resigned as Instructor in Art, we are obliged for giving us three years of fine service. Her successor has been carefully selected and is now appointed.

The activities of members of the Faculty are many and varied. They are constantly called on for advice in their respective fields; they share the life of the community; serve on boards of management of important enterprises such as the Public Libraries Board, the Council of Higher Education, the Curriculum Committee, the Common Examining Board, the Boys Welfare Society to mention only a few; they give public lectures, broadcast addresses, assist in war-work and the like. All this is as it should be. Since a university grows out of the social order, not being super-imposed on it from above, it is natural that it should feed back to use a radio term, into the life of its own community.

Numbers. The number of students in attendance during the year now closing is 282, not including the evening and extension classes. This is the largest enrolment in our history. Men students number 170 and women 112. The First University Year included 121 persons, the Second year 50, and Third year and Special students 17. The Teacher-Training class numbered 94. Counting according to courses we find in Arts and Sciences 97, Household Science 10, Engineering 43, Pre-Medicine 20, and Pre-Agriculture 2.

The extension and evening classes, including our Navigation School, have served some 400 persons.

We are glad to report that during the year our ranks have not been broken by death.

Examinations. The annual examinations are now held in two parts, one at the end of each half-year (semester). It will be seen that in the Arts and Sciences 55 have successfully completed the First Year, 26 in the First Class. The number graduating to-day in Arts and Science, including Engineering, is 38, and the number of diplomas granted in Teacher-Training is 79.

Courses of Study. We have carried on the usual courses with little change. Our programme of studies is so organized as both to serve the needs of our own country and to integrate with institutions of higher learning elsewhere. Hence, any alterations must be made only after careful consideration.

For purposes of record may I remind you that we give two university years in Arts and Sciences, a two-year pre-medical course, a three-year course in engineering, a three-year course in pre-agricultural course, a two-year course in household science, and one year of teacher-training; all demanding a sound matriculation as prerequisite. Non-credit courses and various cultural and recreational activities are also available and some are compulsory.

New this year are (a) a course in General Science for teachers-in-training: for this purpose a new laboratory has been opened, in which, instead of expensive and finished apparatus, the equipment is of the "homemade" variety and the conditions approximate those possible in a simple outport school-room; (b) an optional course in current events which has naturally been well attended; (c) efforts to improve the English taught to students of engineering; (d) some extension of our work in geology and in drawing and surveying, and (e) boy-scout training.

Reports of Departments. Certain heads of departments of instruction have been asked for special reports. These are given in the Appendix. I commend them to your attention. The report on Engineering mentions the use, referred to in my Report of last year, of the new Visual Aids, the activity of the Engineering Society, the camp held last summer at St. Philip's, and the developments mentioned above.

The Department of Household Science, in addition to its regular work, once more gave weekly classes to girls of certain city schools not yet provided with their own equipment.

The report on Teacher-Training is an important one. The new course in General Science is a promising experiment, the care of our students' health is once more stressed, and the references to broadcasting, the class in Oral French, the Cadet Company and the practice-teaching are indications of an active year. Once more I express the thanks of the College to the principals and teachers of the city schools whose active assistance made our practice-teaching possible.

Other departments have been progressing well. I may refer especially to the new class in Oral French given by the professor of modern languages to teachers-in-training, the ready response of our scientific departments to the requests for advice from business houses, and to the broadcast commentary on international affairs as examples of the wish to give a full measure of service.

Library. I invite a careful study of the attached report of the Librarian. The Library is the heart of the College. Its value increases from year to year. Not only are there more books we have added this year 600 volumes but the provision of a fine new book-stack, better seating and improved facilities for book-finding have marked this year's progress. The new Handbook is a splendid guide to intelligent use of the Library. As may be expected "students have never shown so much interest in books on topics of current concern as during the past year."

Whenever possible the Gosling Memorial Library and the Library of the University College have worked closely together.

Art. The course in school Art given to the teachers-in-training comprised lessons in perspective and drawing of figure leading to some study of the elements of design and colour. Besides the usual practical exercises, there were projects such as block-printing, decoration and especially a complete Puppet Show. A puppet show is more than a mere amusement for it requires careful planning and composition, the work of many persons and use of many processes in setting the scenes, making the marionettes and "working" them, and the exercise of much ingenuity and artistic skill. A respectable sum of money was earned for the W.P.A. when the Show was presented in public.

In the course of Applied Art, given to the students of Household Science, projects played a large part. They include dress designs and handwork, construction and decoration of miniature rooms and the like. Much progress is reported.

An evening class and special Art class were also given during the year.

The classes in Appreciation of Art served about 60 students. The field surveyed included Italian Art, paintings of the Venetian School, Flemish and Dutch Art, English paintings and French paintings of the 19th century, with a detailed study of certain of these schools. Two very considerable exhibitions, one of the French Impressionists and Post-impressionists, were held and the general public was freely invited. Smaller views were given in conjunctions with certain other departments of instruction.

Our collection of reproductions, of which the fine Carnegie Art Reference set has formed the nucleus, grows apace. An interesting outgrowth is our Picture Loan plan.

Two reports are attached, one from the Instructor in Art and one from the Honorary Curator of the Art Collection.

Music. Regular lessons in singing have been given throughout the year to our teachers-in-training by Charles Hutton, Esq., K.S.G.

We miss the Glee Club conducted so successfully for some years by Mrs. E. Jerrett (Miss Eleanor Mews, L.T.C.M.), but the students themselves have done something in a modest way.

Last year I reported the splendid gift to the College of a Music Appreciation set from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This has been much used: by the students, who formed a committee who received requests for selections to be played and gave frequent informal recitals; by the Faculty, some of whom found the set a useful adjunct to certain lectures, while all enjoyed our evening musicales; and by the general public, for whom evening recitals, such as the performance of Handel's "Messiah" at Christmas were arranged.

Dramatics. Since most children are "born actors" and the value of simple dramatic treatment of so many parts of school curricula is being recognized today, it is fitting that students of the University College, especially prospective teachers perhaps, should be given a chance to learn here something about acting. This year has been a good one for dramatics, partly because of the help and advice given by Mrs. Carey (Miss Smith) and Mr. Duder, and the work of an energetic Dramatic Group (president, Mr. A. Wilkinson). Not only were they able to produce six good one-act plays, but their programme also included talks on the origin of a play, the work of a Reading Committee, and co-operation with the Art class of the teachers-in-training. Three plays were presented out of town in aid of the local W.P.A. The proceeds of the performance "Variety Fair" also assisted the funds of the W.P.A.

To realize the value of College dramatics we who are "out in front" must think not only of those who "speak the lines" but also of those who attend to such matters as scenery, lighting, stage-managing, casting, copyright, expenditure, which all provide very useful training, both artistic and practical.

Scout Leadership. This is a new development. At the suggestion of certain members of the Faculty, a number of the men teachers-in-training and some others asked for some instruction in the principles of Boy Scout work. The help of the local Scout organization was asked and given with eagerness. It was found best to run the course on the model of an ordinary Scout Troop at first. The progress made was very gratifying and plans are being made to begin early and do even better work next year. Mr. Walter J. Payne, who had charge of the work, has presented to the Boy Scouts' Association a fine report of the class. He mentions the valuable assistance of well-known officers and members of the Association from the Chief Commissioner down, gives a clear outline of the interesting programme followed, and adds valuable suggestions for future work. I now thank the Association and Mr. Payne for their services, as well as Dr. Powell and Prof. Gillingham for their interest.

Guiding. The Cadet Company (First St. John's), organized and so well directed for some years by Miss Caroline M. Furlong, has been this year under the capable direction of Mrs. A. G. Gosling, Commissioner for Training. Her report is attached. The members of the company are teachers-in-training. Miss Andrews, who is also captain of a Guide Company, acted as Lieutenant, and Miss Jean Ross was Acting-lieutenant. The Patrol Leaders were Misses Hunt, Stevenson, Jensen and Barrett.

Lady Walwyn has shown much interest in this work, conducting an enrolment on November 1st and presenting Badges at a little ceremony at Government House.

The Company had the benefit of the visit of Miss McMahon, Canadian Field-Secretary.

The help of Miss E. Manuel, Miss Alderdice, Miss Herbert, Miss Lodge and others is gratefully acknowledged. I report an excellent year's work in this field.

Health. The close relation between a student's state of health and his progress in studies is being more and more recognized, especially by parents, who can help us much to prevent loss of efficiency. Much care should be exercised, moreover, for the state of mind of the student, since an unhappy person is an inefficient person.

The College owes a debt of gratitude to the Department of Public Health and Welfare, not only for the very full physical examination given all our teachers-in-training, but also for much follow-up and remedial treatment.

Instruction in matters of public and personal health is provided directly or indirectly in the Health Course of the Teacher-Training Department, in some of the Household Science subjects, in Biology classes and elsewhere.

Games. Every student is expected to engage regularly in some form of athletics. Organized games form part of the health programme of teachers-in-training.

Football, now that we have our own field, was played more than in other years, and a team was entered in an intercollegiate series, in which it won. More valuable were the so-called "inter-faculty" games, since more teams were engaged; the Engineers did best in this series. Both field-hockey and ice-hockey were popular, as were the basketball games and, on a smaller scale, the badminton and indoor tennis for which our fine gymnasium is so suitable. The inter-faculty ice-hockey championship was won by the Engineers. No top places were taken by our teams in outside series, except in football, unless in the women's basketball which is not yet finished as I write.

The Guide and Scout Training, referred to above, as well as such pastimes as "hiking", also give opportunity for physical development.

Awards for Service. At many universities abroad the award of a college initial is a coveted distinction, usually given for athletics. Our student-body follows this custom - the letter here is M - but with a welcome addition, for at the end of each year the Student Representative Council draws up a short list of names of students who have served their fellows in obliging and usually self-effacing ways, and to these the so-called "Service M" is awarded. A list of this year's awards is given in the Appendix.

Other Student Activities. Except, of course, the formal courses of instruction, the students' affairs are managed by themselves, with a modicum of advice and control of the Faculty, through their elected representatives, the Students' Representative Council. I record here my appreciation of the splendid way in which this year's Council has done its work. Its members are Mr. P. Lloyd Soper (President), Miss Ruth Halfyard (Secretary), Mr. C. H. Pottle (Treasurer), Miss Catherine Kerr, Miss Jessie Sheppard, Mr. T. G. Head, Mr. C. Strong. In particular I would mention their courtesy in the conduct of student functions and their efficient management of the quite large Union Fund.

The College magazine, "Cap and Gown" (Editor-in-chief, Mr. P. L. Soper) is now in its tenth year. Except a section contributed by the alumni the magazine is the work of the students themselves and I consider it a creditable production. A surplus earned by this publication is to be used to provide a scholarship, for which I thank heartily the Business Committee.

The Literary Society (President, Mr. C. Strong) has once more enjoyed a year of profitable activity. The report of the Secretary (Miss Ruth Stacey) tells of weekly meetings with debates on such live topics as juvenile delinquency, vocational schools, the fisheries, co-operative movements, our modern way of life, the right use of wealth, and the place of women in society; alternating with addresses on literary and cultural subjects given by members of the Society or by generous guests. A Book Club is one of the interests of the Society.

The Arts and Science Society ( President, Mr. R. Bartlett), one of the newer student groups, holding frequent meetings and carrying out interesting programmes.

The Engineering Society (President, Mr. D. Jamieson) is a live organization. The doings of the year included weekly seminars at which students discussed topics of professional interest, visits to engineering plants, talks by visiting engineers, games and social events.

Other student organizations have been active, such as the Pre-medical Society (President, Mr. C. H. Pottle) whose programme included addresses by visiting doctors, talks by members of the Society, games and social events. The first of our present students to join a fighting force was a Pre-medical.

Alumni. The number of graduates and past students is now considerable, but not yet so large that we cannot follow their careers with sympathetic interest. While in a disordered world it is inevitable that a few of our graduates find it hard to secure a place where they can give their best service to the community, and others regret that lack of means prevents them from continuing abroad the education they valued here, yet the great majority are assuming those responsibilities of private, social and public life for which they are fitted or else persevering in their search for a more complete education.

In recent weeks we have been able to count no fewer than 21 university degrees won by our graduates abroad. Important prizes and distinctions have come to them. Similar news may reach us in the next few days.

The society of Alumni known as the Old Memorials Association (President, J. B. Angel, B.Sc.) is to be congratulated on a very successful year. Five study-groups held regular meetings to consider respectively local self-government, education, the problem of tuberculosis, slum-clearance and domestic life in depressed areas. One splendid project of the year was the publication of a bulletin of news of the College and its alumni. Another was to raise a sum of money for the Women's Patriotic Association. An Old Memorials Scholarship was once more given. Debates, social events and association with the present students were also features of this good year in the annals of the Association.

Scholarship and Loan Fund. When by the authority of the Trustees of 1925 the first President opened the Scholarship Fund in that year, perhaps no one could have foreseen the remarkable value of this Fund, which has helped so many young people of Newfoundland. Each year we can now offer from two to four good two-year scholarships to enable our graduates to continue university studies abroad. Loans made for the same purpose, though small in amount, have been carefully granted and scrupulously used. I beg here to thank the Board of Governors for the very sympathetic as well, of course, the close attention you have given to my recommendations for grants from the income of the various Trust Funds, whose value at the end of last June stood at over $33,000.

Evening Classes and Extension Programme. From its very first year the College has grasped every opportunity to extend its benefits beyond the circle of its own undergraduates, and each year evening classes have been given in a large variety of subjects. This year's programme has been a very full one. Classes have been conducted in Accountancy (two classes), Art, Musical Appreciation, Chemistry for Nurses (three classes), Commercial Law, Cookery, Dietetics (mainly for Nurses), English (for business people), German, Italian, Geology, Pharmacy, Diesel Engines, Radio Operation, Blueprint-Reading (for plumbers). Two series of lectures were also given, one on The History of Trade Unionism, and a historical series "Our Own Age." A Farm and Garden Study-group held its sessions in our building.

It is a source of much satisfaction that these buildings are in use during the whole season, in the evening as well as by day. One important piece of work, however, our Navigation School, is carried on in hired premises down-town, for the convenience of the seamen who mainly compose its membership.

The Teachers' Seminar, formerly conducted here, was replaced this year by a series of weekly broadcast talks to teachers and others. This valuable activity is under the direction of the Department of Education, which this College, especially our Teacher-Training staff, has been glad to assist.

The evening and external work has now grown so large and the need for extension so evident as to raise the question how much longer your President can undertake its organization in addition to his regular duties professorial and executive, in the University College. I hasten to add that the help of other members of the Faculty has been given in full measure. Perhaps the others will not mind if I mention especially the Registrar and the Associate Professor of Engineering.

Publications. In spite of the many activities of members of the Faculty, each year some research is carried on and some results are published. I mention here the following papers:

  • By A. M. Fraser, M.A., in The Round Table, September, 1939, "Government by Commission in Newfoundland."


  • By A. M. Fraser, M.A., in the Canadian Historical Review, December, 1939, a review of "Dictatorship in Newfoundland," by T. Lodge, Esq., C.B.


  • By P. L. Lovett-Janison, B.Sc., M.A., in the Publications of Columbia University, a dissertation, "Ascorbic Acid Oxidase from C. pepo condensa."


  • By W. Templeman, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D.. Research Bulletin No. 7 of the Department of Natural Resources, 1939, "Investigations into the Life History of the Lobster (Homarus Americanus) on the West Coast of Newfoundland in 1938."


  • By W. Templeman, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., in the Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Vol. V (1940). "The Developmental Rates of Lobster and Eggs and Egg-laying on the Canadian Coasts."


Social Life of the College. In this war year social affairs in the College have been marked by a very warm atmosphere of friendliness as well, of course, as by modest expenditure.

While the students may have curtailed somewhat their programme of mere amusement, giving much attention to dramatics and the activities mentioned above, nevertheless the ordinary "socials" have a real value, since, as well as being properly chaperoned, they are managed by committees of students who thus learn lessons of courteous attention to guests; and, moreover, these simple functions allow our students, who come from widely-separated localities, to meet one another under the best auspices.

The Annual Students' Dinner in December was held in our own Hall, instead of in hired premises as formerly. During the Christmas break a Christmas Tree Party was given to a large group of happy children from some of the less wealthy homes of this city.

On October 25th my wife and I were hosts to the parents of our students at a reception, during which the libraries and laboratories of the College, with special exhibits, were inspected by our guests. On November 6th we were At Home to the members of the Old Memorials Association. On June 5th we held the Annual Graduation Afternoon Tea. We believe these and other more modest functions have value as helping us to show the goodwill we feel.

Thanks. Whatever measure of success the University College has achieved this year is 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 the Commissioner for Education for kindly supervision in a year of anxiety; to you, Sir, and the other members of the Board of Governors whose management has been accompanied by so much personal benevolence; to the Founding Trustees and the President Emeritus who have never forgotten us and whom we regard with respect and affection; to the ladies and gentlemen of the Faculty whose services go far beyond their prescribed duties; to the Registrar and Assistant who have done so much to ease the load of the President; to parents of students and many kind friends of the College both here and abroad for gifts and goodwill; and finally to the fine examples of Newfoundland's youth who form our student body for their zeal and enthusiasm and for the shining gift of their young friendship.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
Albert G. Hatcher
St. John's,
June 8th. 1940.


History of Memorial University

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