Report of the Education Committee

Source: James Hiller and Michael F. Harrington, eds. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948. Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press on behalf of Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1995.May 22, 1947

Report of the Education Committee

Mr. Chairman Mr. Higgins to move that the report of the Committee on Education be further considered. I don't know what this means. Perhaps Mr. Higgins will be good enough to explain.

Mr. Higgins The purpose of the motion is not to discuss the Report of the Education Committee in its entirety, but merely to direct your attention to part of it that dealing with the Memorial University College. There is no reason why it can't be disposed of this afternoon.

Ever since the Convention opened, I have been approached by students and ex-students of the Memorial University College asking me to place before the Convention their wish that the status of the college be raised to that of a degree-conferring institution. I have not acceded to their request until the present time, because I wished to survey the position as carefully as possible, and to give some consideration to the grounds upon which such a claim is based.

I think one can take it for granted that there is an increasing demand for university education. The number of students at the Memorial University College this year is 432; of these, 181 are teachers in training; the remainder, 251 persons, is a body of students who can take the first two years of their university course there, and will then have to proceed elsewhere if they can to complete it. Many of you have read the numerous letters that have appeared in the daily papers from students who are bitterly disappointed that this September they must either terminate their university studies, or go to a Canadian or American university. Their appeal cannot remain unheeded. But I have come to the conclusion that the need for a university is not based upon the claims of these students alone, but on a deeper, fundamental need. This country needs a university. A university acts as a natural co-ordinating centre of education, and at the present time the need for this is a basic one. There is no body of Newfoundlanders more sincere in their work or devoted to their profession, than the educationalists and teachers of this country, and they themselves are acutely conscious that the establishing of a university would polarise our educational aims.

The heads of the different denominations the Conference of the United Church and the Anglican Synod have in their ecclesiastical legislatures passed formal resolutions in favour of a national university. His Grace the Archbishop, in an address delivered on the occasion of the presentation of the first Judge Higgins Memorial Scholarships on February 27, 1945, spoke as follows:

I am glad to know that the expansion and development of the Memorial University College to the status of a full-fledged Newfoundland university is under the consideration of the educational authorities. This is a move that will commend itself to, and will have the approval of, all who have the best interests of the country at heart. But it would seem that there are one or two conditions indispensable to its success. In the first place it must be in personnel and equipment of such a standard that it will command the recognition of outside universities, and secondly it must be a Newfoundland university in the fullest sense of the word, with a Newfoundland atmosphere and background. To be a Newfoundland university its charter and constitutions should be such, after the model of many universities abroad, as to embrace within its scope and ambit those institutions in our midst which have their roots deep in the soil and the traditions of the country. Only in this way can it become a genuine Newfoundland institution, which will have the co-operation and support of all sections in the country. In order that the advantages and benefits of such a university be accessible to all, the establishment of scholarships would appear to be necessary both by the government and private philanthropy. We hope that as the years go on, and the new university develops to its full stature, many individual societies and other agencies amongst us will establish scholarships similar to those I have the privilege of presenting to these pupils today.

Various local organisations have passed similar resolutions. Now in view of the numerous petitions to the government, it is difficult to see why it is that this university has not already been established. I can hardly believe that it is on account of the cost involved. I am informed, that, in order to give the full four year course in arts and in teacher training, the addition of one or two professors and a small amount of extra equipment is practically all that is necessary. While the cost cannot be estimated, yet I understand that it might entail perhaps an extra $15,000 a year. As the vote to the college this year is say $50,000, surely $65-70,000 is a very reasonable sum to pay for the great advantages a university offers. At the present time it costs us $50,000 a year to give students a two years' course; surely the extra amount required is proportionately a very modest sum to pay for the great advantages that would accrue from the establishing of a university. In the nature of things, the first stages of growth of a university would not be extensive, and it is only sensible to assume that we can rely upon those in whom the responsibility of the direction of the university will vest, to shape the moulding of our national university with caution and circumspection, and will have regard to the financial capacity of this country to pay, and the merits of the claims of the students of our country.

It is true that we assist a certain number of students to go to Canada, but only to a small proportion of students is assistance granted. Consequently we have a large body of earnest students, whose educational and cultural development is a matter of great importance, frustrated at the most important time of their lives. This country may well expect a valuable return from the young people who avail of our educational facilities. If we fail to grant these facilities, we may reasonably expect to pay for our short-sightedness. In fact, I myself view the existence of a large number of frustrated students with apprehension. We do not want a disgruntled semi-intelligensia.
The Memorial University College was founded in 1924. By great good luck the first President was an outstanding English educationalist, John Lewis Paton, who was a man not only of profound erudition but of extraordinary personality, and he has bequeathed to the college a valuable spirit and a fine tradition of academic thoroughness and high personal aims. This spirit has been developed through the last two decades, and a university college can no longer adequately foster the development of his vision and accomplishment. The college itself ranks high in the educational world and has won a unique reputation, not only in Canadian and American universities, but at Oxford as well.

The academic work of a college is not today sufficient. The extension departments of universities in other countries constitute an important element in education. They cater to the needs of those who wish to continue their education but do not desire to graduate from a university. An extension department would be particularly valuable to this country  it is one of our most pressing needs and only a university can direct it adequately.

I have asked several educationalists whether or not they consider that education should begin at the bottom or at the top, whether money would not be spent more advantageously upon primary schools, but they have uniformly assured me that the idea that improvement starts at the bottom has been exploded everywhere, and that it is universally recognised by educationalists that the good permeates downward.
We have in this country a very definite character of our own. One might call it the Newfoundland character, and we have a culture of our own; but a culture needs a home, it needs enrichment and development; only a university can adequately provide the necessary stimulation.

During the last ten years there has been considerable government activity in science, agriculture and adult education, and I believe a great deal of valuable work has been accomplished; but how are these various activities to be co-ordinated except through a university? Nothing would be more valuable to the people of this country than an understanding of our economic and political problems. We must evolve our own way of life in this country, a way of life based on our national culture and our special traditions, and the solving of our educational problem is the first essential. In the years that lie ahead these problems may demand an immense national effort, an effort which can be made only by a people possessing a sound knowlege of the problems of government.
I need not enlarge upon the cultural developments that would inevitably flow from the establishment of a university, the stimulus it would give to art, music, architecture and literature. Newfoundland people are not devoid of talent, and a university would be the most practical way of giving these talents and interests a real chance of development.

There are many who hold that this country has suffered grievously by being tied down to the system of education of other countries. They do not believe that any system, no matter how excellent in its own country, is really suited to our life and problems. It is their belief that we must evolve our own system of education completely independently of other countries, so that Newfoundlanders may develop their own way of life with the enlightenment and enrichment that only a sound educational system can provide, and in my belief this system can only be developed from the establishing of a cultural focus, such as a university.
I now wish to move the following resolution: I move that the report of the Committee on Education be further considered.

Mr. Butt I second that motion.
[The motion carried.]
Mr. Higgins I ask leave to move the following resolution:
Whereas it is the opinion of this Convention that the status of the Memorial University College should be raised to that of a degree-conferring institution.
Be it therefore resolved that this Convention places itself on record as being of opinion that the necessary financial arrangements should be made immediately by the Honourable the Commission of Government for this purpose,
And be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honourable the Commission of Government.
Mr. Chairman The situation is very awkward. That is not an amendment to the Education Report. It is an expression of opinion to be sent to the Commission of Government. I cannot see the connection. Frankly, I did not know what your motion was to. be. I thought there was something to be added to the Education Report.
Mr. Higgins I understood the only way I could bring it in was to move that the report be considered.
Mr. Chairman You have the report on the table for further consideration; what do you propose to do with it? I think it is unnecessary to touch the report for the purpose of Mr. Higgins' making his resolution. I am prepared to receive the resolution.
Mr. Hollett The Education Committee recommended that the Memorial College should be extended to a degree conferring institution, but they did not recommend that the government find the money for it.
Mr. Chairman Why not let it stay at that? In incorporating it in the report it does not go to the government. The government has nothing to do with our reports. Here is a recommendation to the government. Some months ago we made a recommendation that nothing further be done with the assets of the country. That resolution was adopted and sent to the Commission. Now Mr. Higgins thinks we should send another expression of opinion, that the Memorial University College be given full university status. There is no reason why we cannot do that and not disturb the Education Report.
Mr. Smallwood The Education Report is now before the House on motion of Mr. Higgins. I move that the Education Report be re-adopted as read.
[The motion carried]
Mr. Miller I would like to second Mr. Higgins' resolution, and I propose to move the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. Smallwood If I move the adjournment of the House, would I have lost my opportunity to speak to the motion?
Mr. Chairman No. Moved and seconded that the debate be adjourned until tomorrow.
[The motion carried, and the Convention adjourned]May 26, 1947

Resolution to Raise Memorial University College to University Status

Mr. Chairman Orders of the day. Mr. Smallwood to resume the debate on motion of Mr. Higgins K.C., dated May 22, 1947.
Mr. Smallwood After the reading of the letter from the Commission of Government, I feel quite sure that you will be very much less interested in this resolution proposed by Mr. Higgins on Friday last than in the subject matter of the letter that has just been read. However, we have got to conform to the order paper, and at the moment Mr. Higgins' resolution is the one before us. It is a resolution which, if passed, would put this Convention on record as being in favour of turning the Newfoundland Memorial College into a university, into an institution that would confer degrees. I am in favour of that, and that is why I seconded the motion. I have looked up some facts concerning nearby parts of the world, those nearest to Newfoundland  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The population of Newfoundland, with Labrador, is about 320,000. In Nova Scotia, with a population less than twice the population of Newfoundland, they have eight degree-conferring educational institutions. In the city of Halifax alone there are five.... In New Brunswick, with less than 200,000 more than our own population, they have five degree-conferring institutions ... and in the tiny province of PEI, with only 95,000, they have one.... We have not got even one. Not one in all the island, where a Newfoundland boy or girl, young man and young woman can attend and take sufficient training to lead to the conferring of a degree. This motion is to the effect that, in the opinion of the Convention, not that we can do anything about it, the Memorial University College ought to be raised to the status of a degree-conferring institution.

I am no authority on education but I am fully agreed that from a purely educational standpoint the Memorial College ought to be raised to that status, but there is another side to it, another angle that interests me a great deal. In this country of ours we have had 450 years of a very remarkable history perhaps the most remarkable history of any part of the western half of the world. This is a country in which we have developed very distinctive peculiarities. We have our own traditions. We have our own folklore. We have our own folkmusic. I remember on one occasion in London going to talk to Miss Maud Karpeles, perhaps one of the world's greatest authorities on world folksongs, and her telling me that in Newfoundland there had been discovered some of the most and most interesting folksongs anywhere on this side of the Atlantic. We have got a distinctive culture all our own, and yet we have nothing ... with the exception of the O'Leary poetry award which is given annually, we have nothing, nor have we had anything to foster and encourage the development and growth and recognition of a distinctly Newfoundland culture. And one of the most attractive possibilities of the Memorial University, if it became a university, would be that of having the university become a dynamo, a powerhouse, in the inculcation and dissemination and encouragement of a distinctly Newfoundland culture, because mark this, whatever , form of government we may have in the future ... remember this, that we Newfoundlanders must never for a moment forget or neglect or turn our backs on our own distinctive Newfoundland outlook on life, our distinctive Newfoundland culture. I go a step further; in the case of our deciding some day this fall, perhaps, in the national referendum, to link this country with another country, in such a case it will be more important than ever to see to it that our Newfoundland culture is preserved and encouraged and fostered and developed, and in no way can that be done better than through the creation of a Newfoundland university. I wanted to make that point. It is not a new point, I have been making it for many, many years, and I want to associate myself very heartily indeed with the motion....

Mr. Jones Mr. Chairman, I have been connected with education all my life, having taught in some of the principal high schools of this country, and I rise to support the resolution. I consider that Memorial College should be a degree-conferring institution. There have been many boys and girls thwarted in their education by the lack of such an institution in this country. During the last ten or 15 years I know of many young men and women who, having completed their second year at the Memorial College, were handicapped by the lack of funds from continuing their studies abroad. Had we such an institution in this country, some of these boys and girls would have been able to continue their studies and obtained their BA degree. The same of course applies to any other course of studies taken at the Memorial College. As time goes on, the need of such an institution will be more urgent because many of our young people are beginning to realise the necessity of such an education. Why should we not do our utmost to make it possible for these young people to reach their goal? I hope the Commission of Government will give the matter their serious consideration; if so, it will be one of the best things they have done for our young people during their reign....

Mr. Harrington As a Newfoundlander first, deeply concerned with the customs, traditions, progress and destiny of my native land, and secondly as a graduate of the Memorial College, I am more than glad to be in a position of national significance today, whereby I am able to support the motion of Mr. Higgins that the Memorial College be granted the necessary charter by the government enabling it to confer degrees.
I do not propose to speak at any great length on this matter, which is beyond controversy. The mover has summed up most of the arguments in favour, and at the same time disposed of some of the most outstanding antagonisms with regard to the elevation of the Memorial College to full university status. Other speakers have enlarged on the theme and it has been covered rather thoroughly. Yet I cannot let this opportunity pass without adding a few comments of my own on a subject that is very close to my heart....
What is a university.? Too many people have the wrong idea. They think it means snobbishness they think it is a place where a young man or young woman attends for so many years to emerge with several letters after his or her name, which do not mean very much. How mistaken an idea! In this country, the tendency to think of a university as a breeding-ground of snobbishness arises from the fact that only those who can afford it attend a university. But that is not a true appreciation of the real case. The reason that so many of our young people do not, cannot attend a university, is simply that there is no university in the country. The cost of attending a university is relatively small that is the actual tuition fees, and so on. In the case of Newfoundlanders, it is the expense of travelling, board and lodging and the rest, that makes attending a foreign university prohibitive to most. The establishment of a Newfoundland university would get over these obstacles in great part and even in the case of the out-of-town student, he or she would be able to complete a university course at a much lower cost than formerly possible, and emerge with a degree from a university peopled, staffed and run by Newfoundlanders, along lines best suited to the development of the Newfoundland character, and with a view to fitting its graduates to cope more successfully with the more obvious problems of our national life. That has been the trouble with us in the past. All our education, before we got the Memorial College, and after we had it, tended to fit our boys and girls, and young men and young women, for a university education, which could only be obtained at universities in England and Ireland and Scotland, and in more recent years the United States and Canada. Only the well-to-do or the exceptionally scholarly students who captured scholarships could ever hope to complete that education. And when they did, they were being educated on the curriculum of the particular university, which in most cases was moulded to the needs or objects of that particular country. Our students were educated "away" from Newfoundland, not in the mere sense of being out of Newfoundland, but more especially in this sense: as the word "educate" means "to lead out", so "educate away" meant also to "lead away from" Newfoundland, and that's just what happened. The majority of our students never came back; many of those who did were forever more or less aliens.
The possession of our own Newfoundland university would change that position. The main purpose of a university is not simply to confer degrees. Getting a degree is almost incidental it is just something that comes at the end of the university course, as the mechanic receives his certificate after having served his time. No one will say that the certificate that the mechanic receives is more important than the years of his apprenticeship; by the same token no one should say that the degree is more important than the years of study and training that precede its granting.

In a University of Newfoundland our students could be trained along lines calculated to help to develop and broaden the national life and outlook. They could be educated with a view to the development of our industries and our culture our peculiarly Newfoundland culture, which is no more like the culture of England, Ireland or Scotland than it is like the culture of Canada or the United States. It combines them all. There could be connected with the university a school of education for the fisheries. There could be courses on such subjects as elementary fisheries conservation, economics of the fishery, and the countries with which we deal in fish, on processing, on markets. And of course it is unnecessary to emphasise the need for more foundational training and education in connection with research work in the various fields of fishery science.
There is no need to labour the point. There is a need for a University of Newfoundland. Its cost as we have seen is relatively small. The Memorial College must be enlarged. It is bursting at the seams now it must have a new wing, whether or not it receives its university charter.... The additional cost is so comparatively little that there would seem to be no reason for holding back. I understand that the charter is already prepared and has been in the offices of the government for some time, awaiting popular demand. The popular demand is now being made in full voice, from organisations in all parts of the country. Twenty-five years ago the Memorial College was established as a war memorial to the Newfoundlanders who died in the First World War. It could not be more appropriate than to raise the college to a degree-conferring university this year, as a memorial to the Newfoundlanders many of them Old Memorials who died in World War Two.

This year 1947 is a very historic year. The 24th of June next marks the 450th anniversary of Cabot' s landfall. It will be a year of great celebrations and events. Again, the time is ripe for the granting of a charter to the Memorial College. Celebrations, fireworks, these things pass away, but an institution of learning remains to enlighten the succeeding generations, and to make their life richer and their hopes more easily obtainable.

I could say a great deal more, but there are others who will echo what I have said, and add what I have left out, so I would conclude with a few words from one of the presidents of the United States, James A. Garfield, who said: "Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained." I leave that thought with all of you realising that the establishment of a University of Newfoundland will be an immense stride forward in the growth of popular education in Newfoundland....
Mr. Butt ....For many months the Convention has been occupied with attempting to assess the natural resources of this country fish, ore, lumber and other industries. It has not been our business to assess that most natural and basic of all resources, that is, our people, our human resources. There is not one man here who is not conscious of the great potentialities of these human resources the stuff and fabric of all we have attempted, suffered and achieved. There are many who may not yet have realised that our men and women, like our industries, are capable of infinitely greater development, and that just as we need the means for the development of our industries, we need the means for developing the knowledge, courage, the judgement and the co-operative abilities of Newfoundlanders. We need these things far more.... Newfoundland needs wealth, production, industries, but she also needs men and women with imagination, the creative abilities, the scientific knowledge and training to bring these things about....

Mr.Fowler ....After all the confusion and suspicions caused by delegations, motions and amendments, I am glad that Mr. Higgins found time and opportunity to introduce this resolution, which if instrumental in giving to this country a university, will have a greater effect upon the future citizens of Newfoundland than any other resolution we have had. A country cannot rise above its people, and any progressive policy designed to bring about a better Newfoundland must of necessity hinge on the ability of our youth, the future citizens of this country, to be able to carry out that policy. I contend, gentlemen, that the ignorance of the masses has been the curse of this country down through her long history, and unless and until we get a more enlightened people, a people who will be able to think and act for themselves, we will be kicked about by those who would stoop so low as to capitalise on our ignorance. It is surprising to me that a charter for a state university was not sought and obtained years ago.

Countries smaller and less historic than ours are blessed with such institutions, even Iceland with its small population has its university. Some people may say, "Oh, that is no benefit to the poor people of Newfoundland, especially in the outports". That is not true, for as Mr. Higgins pointed out yesterday the benefits permeate downwards. The first and immediate benefit derived by the poorer classes will be to have fully qualified teachers possessing degrees in the arts and sciences going out to teach their children, and these same children in turn will be drawn through the channels of their schools and colleges to climax their studies in their own Newfoundland university. And let it be a Newfoundland university in the strictest sense of the word, a university which will cater to the needs of young Newfoundlanders and fit them to go out and grapple with the many problems peculiar to their native land. As the proposed University comes to full stature, I would like to see a scheme inaugurated whereby one or more scholarships would be made available to every district; this, in addition to helping to defray the expense of outport students in St. John's, would be a great incentive to students to pursue their studies with greater enthusiasm....

Mr. Keough In a little while this land we live in will see the end of 450 years of history. More often than not those years have been lean. Our land has never flowed with milk and honey. Always, in this island, it has taken most of a man's time to keep body and soul together to keep the wolf at the door in his place. The meagre grey existence that has been our historic portion has been come by only in consequence of hard work and high courage, epic in their proportions. The unrelenting struggle we have known has never left us with much margin of time for accomplishment of other than the making of both ends meet. We have been far too busy out on the squid jigging ground to have made many songs. We have spent so much time in little yellow dories as left us but a meagre margin for literature and the drama. Our hands have been too busy with the "knots rotted with the salt water" to have given them to painting and sculpture. We have had to put so much effort into making cod as to have had none to spare to put into making concertos.
And yet there have been men in the land who were equal to the land. Those great have walked among us who wrought some monumental works in their time. There were Newfoundlanders who were indeed giants in their day and generation. And they have bequeathed to us many things of which we may well be proud a tradition of great endeavour to make the most come of the land's meagreness; a native culture which the philistine may dismiss as a 'fish-and-brewis' culture, but which is of considerable consequence and meaning to us; and a structure, and a way of life, Christian to the core. Because our fathers were what they were, we are still secure in this island in the realms of the mind and spirit. We are still convinced that two and two make four. We are still certain that there is but one God. In this island we still live in the presence of eternal laws and great truths that are true unto eternity. We have certain institutions that we revere; certain principles that we would live by. We have tested them and have found them good as have all men who have tested them. We are jealous of their presence amongst us and we will not have them altered or removed. And, may I say in passing, that it has been a cause of much concern to me to learn that because I have laid much emphasis upon the economic in this Convention, that I have been misunderstood or misconstrued to mean that the economic is all that matters. It is rather amazing how intently some people listen on the bias. I am quite aware that there are values that are prior to economic values. I do believe, as do all men of reason, that not by bread alone doth man live. But I do believe also that the bread is nevertheless important.

It is ours, who are of this day and generation, to be caught up in all the turmoil coincident to one of those historic crises that sees the great body of mankind lift itself a cubit closer to the stars, or turn aside from the larger sanity to which the moment beckons. This is a time that tries men's souls, and tests their manhood with many strange new challenges that we in this island must meet, as must all the peoples of the earth. It is a moment of high destiny without equal since the world began. Of all the challenges that must be met, the greatest is this. This is the challenge that contains all the others. It is the challenge to achieve a synthesis of civil liberty and economic security that will be acceptable to the civilised, western, Christian conscience. If such a synthesis cannot be achieved, the civilisation we know is doomed. If it can be achieved, then shall we come into the inheritance of that stable social order of which the men of our race have always dreamed.

Here in this island we have our own small part to play in the meeting of that challenge, and on that account more than any other, am I anxious for the advent of a national university. Because I hope that from such an institution there will come forth a new economic leadership that will achieve for our people a greater measure of security than has been their historic measure. Because I hope that from such an institution there will come forth too a new political leadership that will restore our faith in our own ability to conduct ourselves in politics and in government with honour and with dignity. Finally, because I believe that from a national university there will come forth a greater company of scholarship than we could otherwise come by a company who will deal competently with this greatest challenge of our times, and yet contribute the full measure of its scholarship to the preservation of that Christian culture and way of life that are ours. For there are things in this island, Mr. Chairman, that do deserve to endure things that are part and parcel of the good, the true, and the beautiful. And their value is beyond all time.

Mr. Vardy ....The Convention will remember that in the debate on the report of the Education Committee, I covered the ground thoroughly in connection with the further extension of the Memorial University College, and I think Mr. Ashbourne gave his support to my remarks. There is no need to repeat what I said. The whole country is in full accord with the project. I think one of the darkest spots in the history of Newfoundland has been our dire lack of education, and the fact that so many of our youth who could afford to go elsewhere to complete their education never returned to their homes....

Only recently we heard of the Blackmore Memorial Library being opened at Clarenville in honour of a gallant young airman who gave his life in World War Two. I think that the best memorial that we can give to the dead is to improve the conditions of the living.

Mr. Job .... There is only one thing I want to refer to and that is the financial aspect. The introducer, I think, indicated it would cost $20,000. But it is in connection with that I do want to make a remark about finance generally. I would like to remind the delegates that the Finance Report is the most important report of the whole Convention, which report lies on the table without a word of comment being made on it not alone any question of debate. The question of $20,000 extra would be nothing, but the education grant, generally, is a very big one. What will the people think of us if we made an indefinite adjournment, as I believe is in the minds of the delegates, without giving perhaps two or three days' consideration to this question of finance?.... We are thinking of adjourning, more or less indefinitely, without a word of discussion on our financial position and particularly without any consideration of the chief reason for our appointment, which was to determine whether the country is or is not self-supporting, and more especially, if it will be self-supporting in the future....

Mr. Chairman I have allowed you to go on now for five minutes on a subject which is not germane to the subject before the Chair.
Mr. McCormack On June 24 we shall celebrate the 450th anniversary of Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland, and it is natural that we ask ourselves what progress we have made through the centuries. A country may be judged by the nature of its educational institutions, for from these will come forth the men and women of tomorrow, and if we wish to do anything permanent for our country's welfare we must be concerned about our schools. Our Department of Education has done and is continuing to do a good job. Our teachers are giving invaluable service for small pay. Our system of education is good, but it does not go far enough as our young men and women have to leave the country to pursue higher studies in arts and sciences. The time has come for the Memorial College to be raised to university status.... At present comparatively few can afford to continue their studies, particularly students from the outports who, after paying their way at St. John's for two or three years, find it financially impossible to go on to Canada or the USA.

Our teachers in particular should be given every possible advantage, because on them will depend to a large degree the moulding of our future citizens. Apart from this, a Newfoundland university would be able to pass on our traditions, and look at current problems with a view to the country's good. Our men and women attending foreign universities cannot get a Newfoundland outlook, and in many instances are attracted away from the country, whereas if they studied at a Newfoundland university, they would become more keenly aware of the country's problems and possibilities, and they would remain to devote their energies to building a better Newfoundland. A university could also be of great value to countless people, other than those seeking degrees, through extension courses.... The granting of a charter to the Memorial College would be the most acceptable way of recognizing the 450th anniversary of our country's discovery.

Mr. Ashbourne Newfoundland should have a university of its own.... We realise that there are those who can afford to travel to other cities and study at the universities of their choice; but there are some who have done this at no little inconvenience to themselves, and even at considerable expense. If there is a university in our midst, and should there be those who prefer to study elsewhere, there would be nothing to restrict them. With a university here I believe there would be many who could be afforded an opportunity for studying for a degree.... The decision of the government to continue the vocational school as a technical school is a progressive move. The need of such a technical institution has been apparent for some time, and the government is to be congratulated in this regard. The matter of raising of the Memorial College to the status of a university may not be accomplished without some difficulties, yet I have no doubt that whatever the difficulties may be, they will be surmounted and overcome....

[The motion carried]