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Tuum Est Logan, Harry T. 1958

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Array TUUM
EST
A HISTORY
01 THE
UNIVERSITY J B
:>NTISH
o y yyna
VANCOUVER   '   THE   UNIVERSITY OF  BRITISH  COLUMBIA   -   1958
HARRY T. LOGAN
WITH A FOREWORD BY
N. A. M. MACKENZIE Design and typography by Robert R. Reid. The text is set in Eldorado Roman type and
the headings in Hadriano Stone Cut designed by the late Frederick W. Qoudy and based
on lettering found on Hadrian's Tomb in Rome.
PRINTED AND BOUND IN VANCOUVER,   CANADA,   BY   MITCHELL   PRESS   LIMITED. THIS BOOK is published as part of the Jubilee celebrations of the University. It traces
the story of U.B.C. from the passing of the University Act on March 7, 1908 to the end of
the session, 1957-58. A preliminary chapter describes the work of McGill University
and of others who lit and carried the torch of higher education in the Province.
The story is one of courage and determination to rise above the obstacles placed in the
way by the course of events. The pattern is all too familiar in the history of Canadian
Universities. The University of British Columbia is unique, however, in the fact that its
work began in a time of war. In the Thirties it encountered the depression, and in the
Forties a period of war longer and more ruthless than World War I.
In his Foreword President MacKenzie writes: This history also reflects my own
conviction, which I know my colleagues share, that it is most desirable as we enter
another era of unavoidable expansion and uncertainty to take stock of what has been
achieved in the formative years. Those who follow us and will complete the second half-
century at U.B.C. may find both encouragement and admonition in this record.
"It was entirely appropriate that Professor H. T. Logan should have been asked to be
the University s historian. Himself a member of the founding fathers of 1912, Harry is
the only person associated with U.B.C. who has been in a position to serve as a member
of the teaching staff and Head of the Department of Classics, as a member of the Senate,
as a member of the Board of Governors, and presently as editor of the U.B.C. Alumni
Chronicle. Like his mentor, Thucydides, he writes out of the richness of his personal
experience, which has made him the teacher and friend of hundreds of students. I
commend his affectionate and scholarly account of our first half-century to the goodly
company of our graduates and to those friends of the University whose numbers and
generosity made us both proud and humble during the recent University Development
Fund Campaign. VNIVERSITATI1
COND1TOR1BV2 PREFACE
THIS BOOK is the result of a combined operation.
A Convocation Founders Committee, whose chairman is Elmore Meredith, q.c,
sponsored the work and raised funds from among the founder members of
Convocation; a University Committee, under the chairmanship of Dean F. Ff.
Soward, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Head of the Department of History, Director of International and Asian Studies, arranged for the
writing and preparation of the materials; the University Editorial Committee, of
which Professor Stanley E. Read is Chairman, guided the book through the Press.
The author has tried to conform to the specifications given him by the Com'
mittees that the book should be "of general rather than of purely academic interest." The story of the University has been told from the inside, looking out; some
day, perhaps, the task may be attempted in the reverse direction. The writer has
described the University as a living, developing institution, during each stage of
its history, keeping in mind the constituent elements of Administration, Faculty
and Student Body. No attempt has been made to record the achievements of
Alumni: to do so would require a separate volume. It is hoped that, as they
peruse these pages, Alumni will find some of the familiar features in the chapters
which record the events of their own undergraduate days.
The endeavour has been made also to show how the University has fulfilled
its function as a public institution, discharging its responsibilities to the citizens
of the Province and to the nation.
The author is doubly indebted to Dean Soward, whose well-documented
work, The Early History of the University of British Columbia, written in 1930,
provided much of the material for the first four chapters. His history has thus
vu fulfilled a part of its purpose for it was prepared, in typewritten form, with the
understanding that it "should not be published but should be kept in the University archives... as an aid to the historian who may some day write the centenary history of the University." In addition, Dean Soward read the entire manuscript with scrupulous care and offered valuable criticism throughout.
To John M. Norris, Assistant Professor of History, a special debt is owed
for his brilliant and painstaking work as Research Assistant in collecting and
compiling data for the last four chapters from official records in the University
and documents in the Provincial Library. Dr. Norris also wrote the whole of
chapter five. The timely help is acknowledged of Mr. Peter Krosby, b.a. "55,
m.a. '58, who gave considerable assistance with research and the writing of
chapter eight.
Thanks are due to Professor Stanley E. Read, who prepared the manuscript
for the Printers; to Mr. Neal Harlow, Librarian, Miss Anne Smith and others of
the Library Staff for frequent help in answering questions; to Mr. Wayne Hubble
who prepared the Index, and to a host of colleagues and former students who
have patiently submitted to having their memories probed. Acknowledgement
is made of the kindness of the President's office, and especially of Miss Margaret
Frederickson and Miss Sheila Buchanan, in making documents available as
required throughout the past two years.
The Design and Typography of the book are the choice of Mr. Robert R.
Reid and reveal his artistry.
The author feels he should express gratitude to the Convocation Founders,
and to the President and Board of Governors for making possible the preparation
and publication of this book.
Harry T. Logan.
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C.
September, 1958.
Vlll content:
Preface vii
Foreword xi
Chapter    i.    the pioneers: i872-1915 1
Chapter    2.    u.b.c. is born: 1908 31
Chapter    3.    wesbrook regime
WORLD WAR I. 55
Chapter    4.    the twenties bring maturity 79
Chapter    5.    through anxious times
depression decade 109
Chapter    6.    world war ii.
change of command t37
Chapter    7.    post war expansion I7S
Chapter    8.    a new era: 1951- 209
Epilogue 240
Appendix 1. u.b.c board of governors
1913-1958 242
Appendix 2. presidents of the alumni
ASSOCIATION,  191 7-1958 243
Appendix 3.  presidents of the alma
MATER SOCIETY,   I915-I958 244
A Short Pictorial History
Index 245 ILLUSTRATIONS
IN THE TEXT
Minutes of the Second Meeting of Convocation 5
The Attorney'Qeneral's Reply 1 o
Letter of President Wesbrook 57
Page One of the First
Alma Mater Society Constitution 63
Letter of the Campaign Committee 78
Front Page of the ubyssey, 1922 93
Bachelor of Arts Diploma 131
Examination of Booklet Cover 155
Last Examination Paper set by Dean Buchanan 197
Diploma of Sopron Forestry Degree 227 FOREWORD
TO MANY universities fifty years are a very short
span in their record of achievement. From a vantage point of greater longevity
than ours they may regard their first five decades as having been little more than
a prelude to the more important things to come. But we of The University of
British Columbia, of U.B.C. as we have come affectionately to call it, feel, as
we celebrate this year the fiftieth anniversary of our incorporation, that we have
far more reason than most to reflect upon the days of our youth. For us they have
been a period of struggle and achievement, of sadness and success for which there
are few academic parallels.
Those who did all in their power sixty or seventy years ago to have higher
education established in British Columbia could not possibly have foreseen that
the new university must, of necessity, begin its lectures one year after the outbreak of the First World War. As a consequence, both staff and students had
to make do with what limited "temporary" quarters were available, while during
each of the wartime sessions many of their ablest colleagues and friends left for
overseas service. To-day the khaki cord on the undergraduate gown has almost
lost its significance for those who wear it, but it symbolizes a precious inheritance.
The delay of a decade before the University was installed on its present beautiful campus had scarcely been overcome when a world depression shattered all
hopes of expansion, or even of consolidation, and came near to closing the University. Again U.B.C. overcame its difficulties only to enter a longer and more
pitiless world war. Again it had to cope with the needs of those who came back
on a scale of magnitude which required enormous efforts at improvisation. The
uses of adversity may be sweet — bittersweet — but often they are difficult to appreciate until some time after they have been endured. I think we now recognize that those years of frustration and sacrifice, of waiting for daylight, only
increased the loyalty of our students to their Alma Mater and deepened the
devotion of their teachers. Necessity has made this University develop qualities
of experimentation and self-reliance. Her Royal Highness the Princess Margaret
was good enough to make an implicit reference to them when the University
conferred upon her an honorary degree in July, 1958. After mentioning her
participation in the celebrations marking the one hundredth anniversary of the
Province, Princess Margaret added:
It is altogether fitting that you should join in these celebrations, for your institution has
shown itself a true adventurer worthy of standing beside those bold travellers and hardy
colonists who first discovered and then transformed this country.
The publication of this history is another example of the interest in higher
education which has long been displayed here. One of its chapters includes a
description of the first Convocation of this University in 1912, which those
residents of British Columbia who were graduates of universities in Canada or
throughout the British Empire were eligible to attend. A surprising number did
so and retained a pride in their association with U.B.C, which impelled those of
their number who are still among us to raise a substantial fund to make possible
the compilation of this history. We are deeply grateful to them for their energy
and enthusiasm. This history also reflects my own conviction, which, I know,
my colleagues share, that it is most desirable as we enter another era of unavoidable expansion and uncertainty to take stock of what has been achieved in the
formative years. Those who follow us and will complete the second half-century
at U.B.C. may find both encouragement and admonition in this record.
It was entirely appropriate that Professor H. T. Logan should have been asked
to be the University's historian. Himself a member of the "founding fathers" of
1912, Harry is the only person associated with U.B.C. who has been in a position
to serve as a member of the teaching staff and Head of the Department of Classics,
as a member of the Senate, as a member of the Board of Governors, and presently
as editor of the UBC Alumni Chronicle. Like his mentor, Thucydides, he writes
out of the richness of his personal experience, which has made him the teacher
and friend of hundreds of students. I commend his affectionate and scholarly
account of our first half-century to the goodly company of our graduates and to
those friends of the University whose numbers and generosity made us both
proud and humble during the recent University Development Fund Campaign.
Norman MacKenzie,
PRESIDENT
Xll I.
THE
PIONEERJ
1872-191.'
The founding of a university is rather like throwing a stone
into a deep pool. As the stone strikes the water it makes a
hole in it, and then, when it has sunk to the bottom, and you
might think it had never gone in at all, you see circle after
circle of ripples spreading over the surface of the pool, each
one wider than the last. bruce truscot
T
HE EARLIEST recorded suggestion that a
university might be needed in British Columbia was made in 1872, just one year after the Province entered Confederation. In
that year, John Jessop, newly-appointed Superintendent of Education, in the supplementary section of the First Annual Report, made under the Public School Act
of the same year, wrote these prophetic words: "The fact, too, that British Columbia will soon require a Provincial University, capable of conferring degrees in
Arts, Law and Medicine, should not be lost sight of; and public lands in aid of
such an institution should be granted at the outset of our career as an integral
portion of the Dominion of Canada."
Jessop was a pioneer of the provincial school system; he had seen the first Education Act, known as the Common School Act, passed in 1865, and he was
then appointed as the first headmaster of the Boys' Department of Victoria
Central School on Fort Street, Victoria. But elementary education was not
enough. Young men had passed through Jessop's classes who, if given the educational opportunities, might become the much-needed clergy, doctors, lawyers and Early Qroping, i8yz : Jessop and Pope
teachers to serve this frontier community. One of Jessop's duties as Superintendent
of Education, set forth in the Public School Act, was "to deliver in each school
district, at least once a year, a public lecture on education and to do all in his
power to stimulate educational progress." It is clear that Superintendent Jessop
took his duties seriously and with considerable success. The Act gave the Board
of Education power to establish high schools. The first high school in the Province was established in Victoria in 1876, with 44 pupils in attendance. In the
following year, in his Sixth Annual Report, Jessop commented on the progress
of the Victoria High School and indicated his opinion that it was time that New
Westminster had a high school.
His belief in the need for a university had been strengthened by his six years'
experience as Superintendent of Education. In 1872 there were 14 elementary
schools in the Province with 534 pupils; in 1877 there were 41 elementary
schools with 1938 pupils, and one high school with 60 pupils. Jessop now
pleaded the cause of higher education for the young men and women of the
Province in more definite terms: "A Provincial University also will speedily become a necessity, if British Columbian youth are to be fully prepared for the
various avocations of youth without going to other Provinces and countries for
the purpose of graduating in Arts, Law and Science."
Jessop retired in 1878 and the university theme is not repeated in the Public
School Annual Reports until 1884 when Steven D. Pope, Superintendent of
Education 1884-1899, confidently trusted that "the time was not far distant
when our system of education would be crowned by the creation of a Provincial
University."
Both Jessop and Pope, as public servants working at the seat of government,
were only too well aware of the financial problem involved in founding a university in a young province with a slender income, and which, by the terms of
Confederation, had been given sole responsibility for education without assistance
from the Federal Government. Jessop suggested a practical solution in the form
of a land grant. Pope, as a Queen's University graduate, knew of the difficulties
encountered by his Alma Mater, a denominational institution at that time, and
how she had been saved from threatened extinction in 1868 by an endowment
fund drive under Principal Snodgrass. He knew also of Principal George Grant's
highly successful campaign of 1878 which brought to the coffers of Queen's, from
the pockets of her graduates and friends, sufficient monies to enable her to maintain her independence when the University Confederation movement in Ontario
threatened to engulf her. James McGill too had built himself a "monument more
lasting than brass" by leaving in his estate monies to found the university named
after him. Having in mind these and other such precedents, no doubt, Superin- University Act of 1890
tendent Pope, in his annual report for the school year 1884-85, suggested that
"people of means might confer a lasting benefit on the Province by endowing a
University." The hand of Fate, it seems, intervened in solving this problem and
the University of British Columbia, when it finally came into being, was supported not by a public land grant (though this, as we shall see, was provided)
but mainly by annual grants of money from the Provincial Treasury. It was many
years after the founding of the University in 1908 before "people of means"
realized the important contribution it was making to provincial prosperity and
began to offer significant financial help in its maintenance and development.
The idea of a provincial university, first expressed by Jessop and Pope, was
fostered by the many graduates of universities in Eastern Canada, the United
Kingdom and elsewhere, who found their way to this last West to serve the professional needs of the young Province. It was due to the combined efforts of these
friends of higher education that the idea was early given form and substance.
On April 26, 1890, "An Act Respecting the University of British Columbia"
was passed by the Legislature in Victoria "to establish one University for the
whole of British Columbia, for the purpose of raising the standard of higher education in the Province, and of enabling all denominations and classes to obtain
academical degrees."
The Act itself, brought before the Legislature by Simeon Duck, a private
member from Victoria, reveals the wide knowledge of university administration
and the wisdom of those who drafted the measure. The University was to be empowered to grant degrees in Arts, Science, Medicine and Law. Courses in Arts
and in Science were to be set up at once. It was laid down that the Arts course
"shall embrace all the branches of a liberal education necessary for the degree of
Bachelor of Arts or such degrees as may be determined on by the University
Council"—a body whose composition and powers were to correspond roughly
with those of the U.B.C. Board and Senate, combined. "The Science course
shall include the subjects of Agriculture, Mechanics, Mining and Civil Engineering, leading and preparatory to the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Science."
While no provision was made for actual courses to be given in Medicine and Law,
the University Council was authorized to "make and alter any statutes. .. touching the curriculum and examination necessary for degrees and the granting of the
same," and, in the meantime, subject to approval by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-
Council, the University Council might admit to examination for degrees in
Medicine or Law graduates or students from approved Medical or Law Schools
situated either in the Province or elsewhere.
In the listing of courses of study of immediate concern for the university
curriculum, having ordained the setting up of Arts and Science courses, the Act University Act of 1890 .* Chancellor Appointed
(Section 11) proceeds: "There shall also be in connection with the University
a Normal School for the training of teachers for the Public Schools of the Province." This provision is of special interest as giving recognition to the professional
status of the school teacher and the consequent desirability that his education and
training take place alongside that of engineers, lawyers, doctors and other professional men within the discipline of the university. It is noted that this proposal
is far in advance of its time. It was not generally approved by contemporary school
educationists who, following common practice, proceeded to establish and maintain normal schools as separate institutions, independent of university influences.
The process of healing this dichotomy in teacher training has been long and
complex and it was consummated only in 1956 by the founding at U.B.C. of the
College and Faculty of Education, incorporating "normal school" training as part
of its own curriculum.
Convocation, whose main function was the election of Senate members from
their own number, was to consist initially of "graduates of any University in Her
Majesty's Dominions, who shall have resided in this Province two months previous to the passing of this Act," and shall have signed a register to "be kept open
by the Provincial Secretary at his office for three months and no longer." The
Chancellor was to be appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council for a
period of three years. The Vice-Chancellor, to be appointed in the first instance
by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, was to be elected thereafter annually
by the Council from their own members. Either the Chancellor or, in his absence,
the Vice-Chancellor presided as Chairman of the Council.
The Act provided for degree-examinations, oral or written, or both, which
might be held "in the presence of the Council of the University, or any members
thereof." This semi-public method of examining reflected the influence of Oxford
and Cambridge, and the same influence is seen in the inclusion of the professors
in the Council, highest governing body of the University. Degree standards were
to be "similar to those in force in the Universities of the Dominion."
Such was the first University of British Columbia Act. Steps were taken at
once to implement its provisions. The Honourable Hugh Nelson, Lieutenant-
Governor, appointed as Chancellor a McGill graduate, Israel W. Powell,
m.d., cm., a public-spirited, pioneer citizen of Victoria, who had for many years
taken an active interest in public school education, first as member and then as
Chairman of the Victoria School Board; as Vice-Chancellor, Richard P. Cooke,
b.a., Trinity College, Dublin, of Vancouver; and as members of the Council,
Rev. E. Robson, New Westminster, Rev. P. McF. McLeod of Victoria and
J. A. Mara of Kamloops. No fewer than 125 persons registered to qualify as
members of Convocation. The Premier and Provincial Secretary, the Honour- ^___ ^»vZY       Ay   Yt^       C_^*<^Y       /Ttnujaszs,
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Minutes of the second meeting of Convocation of the University of British Columbia,
held in the Court House in Vancouver on October 22, 1890. 6ox^04  ~7^£   T~t-f£*jv«s' j&£o/ v-ocL/ ~<£*-/   /*~4%
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#h/ Meeting of Convocation
able John Robson, now called the first meeting of Convocation for August 26,
1890. The Register of Convocation, which gives the place of residence, degrees
held and universities of all who registered, shows not only the widespread interest
of the citizens of the Province, but also the great variety of university experience
and training of members of Convocation. The majority resided in the centres of
population, New Westminster (12), Vancouver (44), Victoria (44); also
represented were Ashcroft (2), Barkerville (2), Chilliwack, Clinton, Donald,
Esquimalt, Kamloops (4), Kuper Island, Ladner's Landing, Lytton, Matsqui,
Mayne Island, Nanaimo (7), North Arm (of the Fraser River), Sooke, Surrey
Centre, Wellington (2). From the professions were clergy, doctors, educationists, engineers, judges, lawyers and members of the Legislature. The list of names
includes graduates of universities situated in every province of Canada, of all the
leading universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland and one graduate of New
Zealand University. There were no women members of this first Convocation for
the obvious reason that there were probably no women graduates at that time in
British Columbia.
When Convocation met on August 26, 1890, it was now four months since
the University Act was passed in the Legislature and ample time had intervened
to allow members to study its contents. Amid such a diversity of educational experience it is not surprising that numerous criticisms of the Act were made and
the main action taken at the meeting was the appointment of a committee to draft
amendments to the 1890 University Act. A second meeting of Convocation was
convened in the Court House at Vancouver two months later, on October 22,
1890, to consider the report of the committee. Forty-four members were present.
The Convocation Secretary, J. M. O'Brien, editor of The Vancouver World,
records in the minutes of this meeting that, before adjournment, "the Chancellor
spoke, thanking Convocation for the support rendered him. Great progress had
been made and he trusted that at no distant day the aspirations of Convocation
would be met by the establishment on sure and solid foundations of the University
of British Columbia."
The changes in the University Act proposed by Convocation at this meeting
were incorporated in the "British Columbia University Amendment Act, 1891,"
which was passed in the Legislative Assembly on April 20. Although the new
Act consisted of 55 Sections and repealed 31 of the 34 Sections of the 1890 Act,
the alterations and additions were mainly administrative and did not vary the spirit
or purpose of the earlier legislation, except in one important matter: a normal
school was not now to be included in the teaching organization of the University.
It is noteworthy that, in the Public School Act of this same year, the Council of
Public Instruction was given power to establish a normal school with model University Amendment Act, i8gi
departments and to make regulations for its conduct and management, though it
was not until 1901 —ten years later—that the first normal school in the Province
was opened in Vancouver, under direct control of the Department of Education.
The senior administrative body, the University Council, constituted, roughly, as
under the 1890 Act, was now to be known as the Senate, which, it should be
noted, still included in its membership "the Principal and Professors of the University, and the Superintendent of Education for the time being." There were to
be four Faculties: Arts and Science, Medicine, Law and Applied Science. The
teaching staff in each Faculty was to constitute a board of that Faculty. The University Council, its wide administrative functions now transferred to the Senate,
was to be composed of "the Boards of the various Faculties in common meeting
assembled, the Principal of the University presiding." The Council was to have
"full control of the Library and Museums of the University" and to "conduct and
supervise the work of instruction and provide for the maintenance of order and
discipline."
A special section of the Amending Act was devoted to Endowments, making
explicit what was implicit in the earlier Act, that the University might receive
gifts of "land or other property" for the endowment of "professorships, lectureships, fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, prizes or other rewards in the University." It is clear from this provision that these "Founding Fathers" entertained
the hope that private benefactions would play an important part in the development of the University of their dreams.
The final clause of the 1891 Act has a mid-Victorian flavour. It declares that
"the Senate shall make full provision for the education of women in the University
in such manner as it shall deem most fitting: Provided, however, that no woman
shall, by reason of her sex, be deprived of any advantages or privileges accorded
to other students of the University." To many readers such provision will seem
unnecessary or even redundant. Its wisdom will be recognized, however, by those
who are familiar with the story of higher education in Canada and the United
Kingdom. No controversy raged more hotly, while it lasted, than that of coeducation of women and men. By 1891, most, if not all, Canadian universities
had opened the doors of their Arts courses and degrees to women: Queen's University in 1880, McGill and Toronto in 1884, the University of New Brunswick in 1886. But the embers of the fires still burned fiercely in the ancient
universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The inclusion of this clause protected
future women students of the University of British Columbia against such intolerance and prejudice.
This first Act, as amended so carefully, was laid away to rest within three
months of its approval by the Legislature. Its demise and burial were effected by Regional Jealousy
a technicality; it was, in fact, the victim of current, ingrained regional feelings of
suspicion and mistrust between Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Senate was
duly constituted as the University governing body, composed of twenty-one members, 12 residing on the Mainland, 9 on Vancouver Island. The first meeting of
Senate was called by Chancellor Powell to meet in Victoria on July 2, 1891, the
latest day permitted under the University Act. When the call for the meeting
was received it became clear to Mainland members that, owing to absence from
the Coast and illness, and to the inconvenience of travel on the Dominion Day
holiday, less than 9 of their number could attend the meeting, and the voting
would therefore be controlled by the Vancouver Island members. To avoid this
situation, some of the Mainland Senators wrote to the Chancellor suggesting that
a pro forma meeting be held on July 2 and adjourned to a later date. The Chancellor agreed with this suggestion and sent out a second call "to have a formal
meeting on the second of July and to adjourn to the 9th." Despite an urgent telegraphic reminder sent by the Chancellor to Mainland members on July 1, less
than the required quorum of nine Senators were present on July 2 and no meeting
was held. Chancellor Powell at once wrote to the Honourable Theodore Davie,
Attorney-General, stating the view of "the speaker and others interested that the
second of July having passed without a meeting another cannot be legally held,"
and asking for a ruling. The Attorney-General replied on July 7 that "under the
circumstances... it would seem that no further questions can now be passed upon
by the Senate." The Chancellor then sent the following letter to all members of
the Senate:
Referring to my circular letter calling a meeting of the Senate of the University of
British Columbia on the second of July, which it was proposed subsequently should be
adjourned until the 9th instant in order to meet the wishes of some who could not
attend on the date first named, I beg to acquaint you that I have been informed by
the Honourable the Attorney General and others who have considered the question,
that in consequence of the failure of a sufficient number of Senators, constituting a
quorum, to assemble on that occasion and pass a motion of adjournment, no meeting
of the Senate can now be legally held. It would therefore appear that until some
legislative action has been secured, no further steps can be taken under the provisions
of the Act respecting the University of British Columbia.
In spite of this letter, Senate members from the Mainland came to Victoria
and met with the Chancellor in the Provincial Library on the 9th of July in an
effort to proceed with the meeting. Word of their intended action had got around
and the Chancellor read several letters which he had received from Victoria members, including the speaker of the Legislature, protesting the illegality of this
meeting. After prolonged discussion the meeting adjourned, at the Chancellor's
suggestion, for long enough to allow him to confer with the Attorney-General. to*./ft
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t*Jfc »4rU   «,    H^fa   U   (& er^^r^i^u V?e Attorney-General's reply to
/ i—i.        ,   A .   d   .   /?  . . •-  Chancellor Powell s letter of
£«^6   «A4Zr*s    r$ eGTA&Jt*<r*luZo    <U-     c^~ July 9, 1891, in which the
Chancellor Powell's letter of
- ,        -{AsfCur-O        CL4- (st<0
4sfefarv-&&6*Of  '<£c*t4str-^   ' Chancellor requested the
' * Provincial Government to submit
J W     c^ t0 ^ Supreme Court the
J. question as to whether or not the
University Senate's power had
"Cc£07 {- *jLU£-' !aPsed' snowing the alleged
f failure to comply with the
  0 University Amendment Act
k&£*Lf  "<d<l«£j UtCrZZsU/-  ~3i*Kgr*c£* of 1891. Press Controversy
On the advice of the latter, this rump gathering of Mainland Senators passed a
resolution requesting the Provincial Government to submit the question to the
Supreme Court for a decision as to whether or not the University Senate's powers
had lapsed. Such action was never taken. The British Columbia University
Amendment Act, 1891, was dead.
Mutual recriminations in the press of Victoria and Vancouver followed the
abortive meeting of the University Senators on July 9. The Victoria Daily Col*
ontst on July 1 o said, "The action taken by the Mainland graduates has made it
impossible that, for a good while, there can be any hearty co-operation between
the friends of higher education on the Island of Vancouver and many of those
who profess to be such on the Mainland." The Vancouver World on the same
day retorted bitterly, "It is charged by our contemporary that the sectionalism of
the Mainland has destroyed the usefulness of the University. ... The fact is that
the sectionalism is all on the other side of the Gulf." The crux of this fatal quarrel
seems to have been the selection of a site for the proposed University which, presumably, would be done by the Senate. Was it to be situated on the Island or on
the Mainland? Taking it for granted that "the attempt to establish a University
in British Columbia has for the present, at any rate, failed," The Colonist proposed to "establish in the Province an efficient College in which students can
prepare themselves for entering the well-established universities of the East," and
added, "There is nothing to hinder the establishment of such a college here, in
Victoria, almost immediately. . . . It might also be made to answer the purpose
of a normal school, which is very much needed in the province, and it would, no
doubt, as the province grows and prospers, develop into a university." To which
The World replied: "Practically the case stands thus: our Island friends' dictum
is that unless the University is established in Victoria they will not have anything
to do with it." No compromise was possible "on an amicable basis with such unreasonableness. The Colonist," continues The World editorial, "now advocates the establishment in Victoria of a good College. Well we suppose it is
needed there, but as far as this section of the Province is concerned we are well
supplied. Whetham College in this city, not yet six months in existence . . . will
compare favourably in every way with any institution of its kind on the Coast and
. . . will form a training school for the cap stone of the arch—the University of
British Columbia. It will thus be seen that the young city of Vancouver outrivals
the ancient capital in this, as in many other lines of progress. The Colonist clamors
for what we already have. New Westminster too in St. Louis College possesses
an institution of learning that is doing a grand work." And the Vancouver paper
concluded with words which show that resentment was still alive over the selection of Victoria as the provincial centre of government in 1868: "It is time that
11 Provincial High Schools
the people on this side of the Gulf rose to a thorough appreciation of the situation
and grasped it. The Capital will not forsooth support the University because it
is not to be located there; why should the Parliament buildings be placed across
James Bay, when the more central and more convenient place for them would be
on the Mainland where the bulk of the population is, and where it would suit
the convenience of the majority of the members to meet?" Three days later The
Colonist delivered the coup de grace: "The action of the Mainland senators is
capable of but one construction, and that is that their sectionalism got the better
of their common sense.... The question of a University for this Province is dead,
not to be resurrected while the present Government is in power."
The statement of the last sentence was indeed true. The University had now
entered the arena of provincial politics. The Legislature could consider and pass
the University Act which dealt with academic matters. It was quite a different
thing to deal, as it might have done at one stroke, with the thorny question of a
site for the institution. The Government of Premier the Honourable John Robson
had been elected in June 1890, on a promise of redistribution of electoral seats
in the Legislature, and had immediately passed such legislation in an effort to
mollify the regional contention of Island and Mainland. It was therefore politically inexpedient for the Government to take sides in the regional controversy of
the University Senators, and the Legislature allowed the Act to remain dormant
rather than take any action which would settle the question. There were many
persons, too, who believed that the Province was not yet large enough in population or wealth to support a university. There was to be no provincial university
on either Island or Mainland for nearly a quarter of a century.
But although the 1891 University Statutes were inoperative, the idea of a
provincial university remained alive in the minds of those who saw most clearly
the growing need for the provision of higher education in the Province out of
public funds. It is almost a law of nature in every civilized community that it is
the school teachers and school administrators who are most aware of educational
needs. They are the men and women who, more than any others, are in intimate
touch with the mental attainments and hopes of boys and girls at each stage of
school age development. It is not surprising that it was persistent effort within the
public school system which first brought publicly supported university education
within reach of British Columbia students.
In 1890 there was already four high schools in the Province, viz., Victoria
High School, New Westminster High School, founded in 1884, Nanaimo High
School, founded in 1885 and the youngest of them, Vancouver High School,
which welcomed the first students on January 6, 1890. These schools had a
total combined registration in this year of 244 students. Here was the natural
12 Private Colleges
seed-bed for planting a university. Slowly it came to be realized that the University could be developed as an extension of the work already being done
in the high schools. Affiliation of British Columbia high schools with an established university was, in the end, the magic key which unlocked the door
to higher education: McGill University, the fairy godmother who supplied
the key.
In the meantime, before any such affiliation took place, opportunity for studies
of university grade was provided under both private and denominational auspices.
In 1890 Whetham College was founded in Vancouver. The Principal, Charles
Whetham, Modern Languages and English Master, was supported by a competent staff. Whetham had taught Modern Languages in Toronto University and
Johns Hopkins, and was for two years, 1887 - 1889, a Master in Upper Canada
College, Toronto. The College prepared its students not only for the Army,
Navy and Civil Service examinations and for "Matriculation Examinations in
any University or College," but also "for First and Second year examinations in
Arts leading to the degree of BA. in any University." * The College was located
in the Sir Donald A. Smith Block, where the Birks Building now stands at the
corner of Granville and Georgia Streets. Three years after its foundation, this ambitious educational undertaking was forced to close, owing to shortage of funds.
Hard times set in after the collapse of the Vancouver real estate boom in the early
'90's and few parents could then afford the luxury of such college education for
their boys.
The closing of Whetham College in 1893 did not leave the young people
of the Province entirely without local facilities for higher education. As soon
as it became evident that the 1891 University Act was not likely to be implemented by the Legislature in Victoria, the Methodist Church of Canada established Columbian Methodist College in New Westminster, as a denominational
co-educational institution which later became affiliated with Toronto University.
Work in the College began in 1892 and in the following year the College was
incorporated by a Provincial Act, with power to grant degrees in Theology. As
the work progressed, the College was entrusted by Toronto University with the
work of all four years in Arts. Following the pattern set by denominational colleges elsewhere in Canada, the aim was to establish a liberal arts college, which
would correspond in British Columbia to Victoria University in Ontario and her
offspring, Wesley College, in Manitoba. Both these institutions federated with
their provincial universities. It was no doubt the hope of the founders of Columbian College that a similar course would be followed, under the University of
British Columbia Act, when the University came into being. Classes in Arts were
1  Whetham College Calendar, 1892-3, p. 10.
13 Plan for University Premature
continued in Columbian College until the trend of students toward the University
of British Columbia had established itself and the decline in attendance gave clear
indication that Arts instruction was no longer required there, except for a diminishing number of students. Degree work in Theology, formerly taken in Columbian College, was continued in Ryerson College, Vancouver, until the Church
Union Movement led to the creation of Union Theological College on the University of British Columbia campus.
MOVEMENT TOWARDS McGILL: 1891 - 1906
The fifteen years following the first attempt to found a provincial university,
which ended so ignobly, are years of groping to find a satisfactory substitute. Private and denominational agencies courageously did their part but failed to satisfy
the higher education needs of a rapidly growing number of high school graduates. The Law Society and the Pharmaceutical Association secured provincial
legislation which enabled them to train students for the practice of Law and
Pharmacy, with diplomas but without degrees. For all other professional training, except in Theology, British Columbia students were obliged to go beyond
the Province. Manitoba University provided the nearest College of Medicine.
For Applied Science and Agriculture, urgently needed for industrial development, it was necessary to go to the older universities of Ontario, Quebec and the
Maritimes. Help was not forthcoming from the Legislature in Victoria. When,
from time to time, the question of reviving the moribund University Act was
raised by friends of higher education in the Legislative Assembly, the majority
of speakers declared that the time was not yet ripe.
Such sentiments seem less strange when it is remembered that during most of
this period the cost of provincial administration was met, in part, each year on
borrowed money, and the Province was going deeper and deeper into debt. The
gloomy financial picture is painted in sharp colours by His Honour Judge Howay,
in his fine little book, British Columbia, The Making of a Province:
In June, 1903, Richard McBride formed the first Conservative Government. He
found an empty treasury, an immense overdraft, and an almost exhausted credit.
Confederation had now existed for thirty-two years, yet, with negligible exceptions,
each year had shown a deficit. And, in that time, the gross debt had grown to the
enormous sum of $12,542,086, of which about twelve millions represented the
increase in the last twenty years.
This situation was quickly righted with the advent of a stable government. By
increasing taxes, and following a policy of economy, aided by the growing prosperity of the Province, the McBride Government converted yearly deficits into
surpluses which, "from 1905 to 1911, amounted to more than ten million dol-
14 Alexander Robinson
lars." Still the administration hesitated to embark on the costly work of building
the University which the Government had envisaged in the Acts of 1890 and
1891.
As late as 1905, the year of the first provincial revenue surplus, Dr. Alexander
Robinson, Superintendent of Education, in the Sixteenth Annual Public School
Report declared himself opposed, both on financial and educational grounds, to
the Government taking affirmative action on the University. He wrote:
I see no reason to change the opinion expressed three years ago, in the
Thirteenth Annual Report, that the time has not yet arrived for the establishment
of a Provincial University . . . Apart altogether from the initial cost for buildings and
apparatus, the amount required for salaries of professors and for maintenance would
not be less than $18,000 a year, a sum sufficiently large to maintain at McGill or
Toronto University 60 British Columbia students, allowing each a scholarship of
$300.00 a year. Even were our population large enough to support a University, it
is a question if the money required for its maintenance could not be more judiciously
expended in granting scholarships at McGill or Toronto to poor but deserving students
of this Province.
This opinion of the senior civil servant in the Department of Education, published
in the Sessional Papers for 1905, probably expressed the view of the Government at that time.
Dr. Robinson was a member of the University Convocation of 1891. He was
for a short time Principal of the Central School in Vancouver and Supervising
Principal of that City's elementary schools. After eight years as Principal of Vancouver High School, 1891 to 1899, he succeeded Dr. Steven Pope in the latter
year as Provincial Superintendent of Education, which post he held till 1919. He
was a graduate in Classics of Dalhousie and had special gifts as a teacher. Because
of his great abilities, his wide experience in educational life and his forceful personality, Dr. Robinson's opinions were always treated with respect. His duties
brought him into touch with the schools and their teachers in every part of the
Province. He believed in the importance of expanding the facilities for higher
education. But in 1905, viewing the problem as one of relative administrative
costs in a large province with a small population, Dr. Robinson regarded the
establishment of a university as still premature.
In the meantime an alternative plan had been devised for bringing university
education within the reach of the young men and women of the Province by
establishing relations with some one of the existing Canadian Universities. This
plan resulted in the affiliation with McGill University, Montreal, first of Vancouver High School, then of Victoria High School, and eventually in the establishment of McGill University College of British Columbia in both Vancouver
and Victoria, giving up to three years in Arts and two years in Applied Science.
iS Affiliation with McQill University
The plan was conceived among the teaching staff of Vancouver High School.
The man to whom, more than any other, the credit is due for the inauguration
and successful organization of the scheme of affiliation was the High School
Principal, J. C. Shaw. The first step was taken in 1894 when the Public School
Act was amended to empower the four high schools of the Province—Victoria,
New Westminster, Nanaimo and Vancouver—to affiliate with recognized Canadian universities. In 1896 a further amendment was made to the Public School
Act, 1891, enabling Boards of School Trustees in these cities to be granted
charters of incorporation as "Boards of Governors" to administer the "College"
work which might be done in their respective high schools. This change was
found necessary because, as stated in the amendment, "the charters and constitutions of certain of the said universities only allow to be admitted into affiliation
schools managed by an incorporated Board of Governors."
The Vancouver School Board took the initiative. Enquiries were directed to
the universities of Toronto and McGill regarding terms of affiliation. Toronto
took no action for reasons which are readily understood. As stated by President
Loudon, "the University of Toronto, which is a Provincial Institution, cannot
spend money outside the Province, although we can hold examinations and affiliate with Western Colleges and collect fees." Toronto already had a denominational affiliate in Columbian Methodist College, New Westminster. Also, being
a provincial university, she could scarcely avoid embarrassment by allying herself with units of the public school system of another province. McGill, as a
private, secular institution, had no such political inhibitions, and entered at once
on negotiations with the Vancouver School Board, through Trustee A. H. B.
MacGowan, M.P., who met the McGill authorities in Montreal for discussion
of details. Formal application for affiliation was made in December, 1897, was
approved by McGill, and came into operation in September, 1899. In order to
effect the new relationship with the educational system in British Columbia, the
statutes of McGill had to be altered in this interval to include permission for
affiliations outside the Province of Quebec. University work in Vancouver, to begin with, consisted of First Year Arts only; teaching was done by the staff of the
High School, renamed Vancouver College. Subjects on the curriculum were
English, History, Mathematics, Physics, Classics (Latin and Greek) and Modern Languages (French and German). Courses given duplicated those of McGill.
Examination papers were set and marked by the McGill Examining Board and
successful candidates were admitted ad eundem statum at McGill. Maintenance
of identical standards was made easier by the presence on the College staff of
Lemuel F. Robertson, a brilliant Classics graduate of McGill, Arts '99. Senior
high school students were prepared for the McGill Matriculation examinations
16 Vancouver and Victoria Colleges
which were generally accepted as qualifying for admission to other universities
as well. The fine quality of the staff ensured the success of this venture from the
beginning. McGill was pleased with the results of this experiment and, in 1902,
yielded to the request from the Vancouver School Board for an extension of the
curriculum to include her courses in Second Year Arts.
In the same year, the School Board in Victoria decided to take advantage of
the affiliation amendments to the Public School Act. They applied successfully
to McGill and were given the right to teach the First Year Arts courses. The first
class of seven students assembled in the autumn of 1903 as Victoria College,
meeting in the classrooms of Victoria High School, whose teachers they shared,
viz., Principal E. B. Paul, A. J. Pineo, E. H. Russell, S. J. Willis and Miss
Rosalind Watson who left to become the wife of Dr. Henry Esson Young toward
the end of the first term. She was succeeded by Miss Jeanette A. Cann.
By 1904 the movement for higher education, fostered by McGill through
the medium of city school boards, was ready for a further advance. It was not
yet clear which direction this advance would take. Among the friends of higher
education were those who actually thought that a provincial university might
be constituted as a Federation of High Schools situated throughout the Province,
each doing university work along the lines of Vancouver and Victoria Colleges
affiliated with McGill. The Vancouver News Advertiser, saw Vancouver College
of McGill University becoming "one of several attached to a Provincial University of British Columbia." There were those also who thought it was time to set
up a centre for professional training in science as applied to industry. The mining boom in the Kootenay and Boundary District during the previous twenty
years had produced the cities and towns of Nelson, Rossland, Trail, Greenwood,
Phoenix, Grand Forks, Kaslo, Slocan. Early in 1904 the Nelson University
Club passed a resolution recommending that "the Government should establish
as soon as possible, a thoroughly equipped School of Mines, and should add to
it, as fast as possible, departments for the teaching of Applied Science which are
of special value in the development of the industries of the Province .. . We beg
to point out," the resolution added, "that in the absence of such institutions a
hardship is inflicted upon the boys and young men of British Columbia inasmuch
as they must either leave the Province to secure such training as will qualify them
for the leading positions in any profession or submit to permanent disqualification for such positions." The university graduates at Nelson, in the heart of the
Kootenay mining district, very naturally regarded a School of Mines as an appropriate first teaching unit of a university for the Province, and urged "that immediate steps be taken to provide by endowment for the establishment, equipment
and maintenance in the near future of a Provincial University."
J7 (graduates' Interest Revived
University graduates in Vancouver also showed a quickened interest in the
university question during the spring and summer of 1904. A University Graduates' Society was formed whose chief object was "to make and co-operate in all
efforts to secure a University (with endowments) for British Columbia." Officers
of the Society were: President, J. C. Shaw, Principal of Vancouver College;
Vice-President, C. C. McCaul, k.c; Secretary, F. M. Cowperthwaite; Committee, William Burns, Rev. Robert Laird, George E. Robinson, Stuart Livingston, Dr. F. X. McPhillips. Several meetings of the Society were held. Uppermost in their discussions was the proposal for land endowment for a provincial
university and a University Endowment Bill was prepared and approved by the
Society. This movement was prompted by McCaul, son of Dr. John McCaul,
President of Toronto University who, in a letter to The News Advertiser, cited
the importance of early land endowment in the development of Toronto University. McCaul wrote that he
would like to see the press and the public more alive to and interested in the importance of establishing at once a land endowment for the university of the future . . .
Once a liberal endowment is made by the Province and vested in a strong Board of
Management, the friends of higher education can afford to lie back and wait till the
progress and growth of the Province will justify the establishment of a Provincial
University.
The idea of a university endowment received wide support and various amounts
of land were suggested as adequate. The Vancouver World "approved the immediate reservation of a million acres of the wild lands of the Province for the
purposes of advanced education." The University Club of Nelson thought that
"such endowment, to be ample for the needs of a Provincial University, should
consist of the revenues from not less than ten million acres of land."
To those who watched these discussions, and who knew the feeling both of
the public and of the Legislature, it was apparent that improvement of facilities for higher education in Arts or the introduction of university courses in
Applied Science would not be forthcoming by government action. Even large
land endowments, if provided, would not supply immediate capital funds sufficient to establish a university, and there was no sign that the Government was
ready to sponsor such expenditure. Once more the need was presented to McGill
and again McGill gave an affirmative response. Prolonged and intricate negotiations resulted in the setting up of McGill University College of British Columbia
in Vancouver and Victoria. The initiative in this second approach to McGill
for her help in advancing higher education in British Columbia was taken by
Lemuel Robertson, who had studied Classics as an undergraduate at McGill
under Principal Peterson, a distinguished classical scholar. In the summer of
1904, Robertson had accepted the post for one year of Lecturer in Classics Movement for Extension of McQill
in McGill. During the session 1904 - 05, he was invited by Dr. Peterson to
assist him with the edition of Cicero's Verrine Orations on which he was then
engaged. For this and other research work Robertson received the degree of M.A.
In going to McGill, however, he had a further purpose, in addition to teaching
and graduate study. He saw an opportunity, too, of pleading the stagnant cause
of university education in British Columbia. The difficulty of finance, which lay
at the heart of the problem, would be circumvented if his generous-minded Alma
Mater could be induced to extend her work in Vancouver College. Little by
little during the autumn and winter he conveyed his ideas to members of the
McGill staff, as occasion offered. In a paper which he was asked to prepare setting
forth his ideas, he pointed out that, in the sphere of secular university education,
"a virgin field existed from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean and that the
Universities of Eastern Canada might well take a lead in shaping the course of
higher education in the West." Robertson's ideas were publicized in The
Montreal Witness and received very favourable comment.
The project was given study through the winter of 1904-05 by Principal
Peterson and the McGill authorities. Robertson was more than satisfied with this
encouraging reaction and wrote to Principal J. C. Shaw of Vancouver College,
telling of McGill's interest in a plan for extending her work in British Columbia
and asking for assurance of approval from Shaw and others most intimately concerned. Shaw replied that they had held a conference with Dr. Alexander Robinson, Superintendent of Education, who had exclaimed on hearing of the extension
proposals, "There is the University of British Columbia on a sound educational
basis!" Such a plan fitted very well his own thinking on the establishment of a
provincial university as already described in the Sessional Papers of 1905. In
any event, the way was clear in British Columbia, and Dr. H. Marshall Tory,
d.sc, a graduate of McGill, gold-medallist in Mathematics of Arts 1890, and
then Professor of Mathematics, was selected by Dr. Peterson to proceed to Vancouver, with instructions to study the situation carefully and report back to the
McGill Board of Governors. Dr. Tory arrived in Vancouver about mid-April
and plunged into his task with characteristic energy, insight and despatch. A
month later on May 15, writing from Nelson, B.C., he gave a full report to
Principal Peterson.
In November, 1905, the Faculty of Arts at McGill, after hearing a report
on his western journey from Dr. Tory, in a special meeting, passed a resolution
viewing "with great favour the further extension of academic work in British
Columbia," a resolution which received the subsequent approval of McGill
Corporation and the Board of Governors. In a personal appeal to Sir William
Macdonald, McGill's unfailing benefactor, Dr. Tory received a promise of
*9 Vigorous Debates
$5,000 a year for three years, the sum necessary to maintain the proposed
College, and the required legislation was drafted for presentation to the British
Columbia Government.
On February i, 1906, the two Bills, as drawn up in Montreal by McGill's
solicitors, were introduced in the Legislature by the Honourable F. J. Fulton,
Minister of Education. The first, "An Act respecting McGill University," gave
McGill the right to establish a University College or Colleges and to enjoy the
privileges and functions conferred in her own charter. The second Bill, "An Act
to Incorporate the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning," was, in
effect, an Education Act in miniature, setting forth, in eight sections, the proposals "for increasing the work of higher education" in the Province. The Board
of Governors were "constituted a body politic and corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal under the name of 'The Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning'," which was the official title of the Board of Governors
of McGill University. McGill University was given the right to decide where
the College would be established. The College was to be named "University
College of British Columbia." Courses given were to be those "leading to degrees
of McGill University." Instruction was to be "of a similar standard to that given
in like subjects at McGill University and as announced from year to year in the
Calendar of McGill University." Provision was made for extension of the college
responsibility for university work. The Royal Institution was given the right to
negotiate with school boards in the Province for the taking over of "any part of
the higher education work" done under their control.
The first Bill passed with little discussion in the House. The second Bill met
with strong opposition both on the floor of the House and among university
graduates in Victoria and Vancouver, and its passage into law was delayed
for three weeks. Some of the opposition in the Legislature was purely political
and partisan. Among university graduates in Vancouver and Victoria the chief
opposition came from alumni of the University of Toronto. Public meetings
were held in protest. Impatience was expressed over the secrecy with which the
negotiations had been carried on. Disapproval of the Bill came from President
Loudon of Toronto University who said: "If the Bill goes through it simply
means that the College will be a feeder of McGill. I think it quite unfair that
they should receive such an advantage over other Eastern Universities." Chancellor Burwash of Victoria University came to the rescue of Columbian College:
"If the Legislature has changed its programme and does not wish to establish a
Provincial University, and is going to let Eastern Universities come in permanently, then the Methodist College, which has been doing the work for the
past eight years, should have the same opportunity as any other." Stronger
20 Controversial Bill Passed
still was the action of the General Committee of the Methodist Church which
adopted, at a meeting in Toronto, a resolution "calling upon the Lieutenant-
Governor of British Columbia to veto the Bills after they had passed the
Legislature."
Principal Peterson explained what McGill was trying to do in a statement
printed in The Vancouver Province of February 9:
We are not looking at Vancouver College, as President Loudon seems to suppose,
to be merely a feeder for McGill. We intend to help the Vancouver people to do good
University work. . . .The whole project is the best possible illustration that Canada can
have of co-operation in higher education, and I regret very much that it should appear
to be criticized from the point of view of rival commercial concerns.
Speaking in the House of Assembly, Premier McBride dealt simply and forcefully with opposition to the measure:
The proposal did not in the slightest degree clash with other Universities. The
Government would hold out both hands to anyone who would offer similar advantages.
But that was no reason for mistrusting McGill. Her reputation was second to none and
she had done more than all other Canadian institutions put together to give the
Dominion a status in the eyes of the educational experts all the world over. What more
did the opposition require? Something better? Where would they find it? Surely at
this stage the opposition would cease and gracefully allow it to go through without
party opposition.
The dissatisfaction of university graduates with the Bill was found to centre
in the name proposed for the new College, for it seemed to very many of them
to indicate that the Government was giving up their long-cherished idea of a
provincial university. When this was realized, the Honourable F. J. Fulton
admitted an amendment to read "McGill University College of British Columbia," instead of "University College of British Columbia," and, with two or
three other changes, the Bill passed its third reading on February 20. Informed
comment coupled with experienced understanding of higher educational needs
and how they could best be met triumphed over the careless feuding of political
parties and the jealous, futile striving for advantage of rival university factions.
Thus McGill B.C. was born.
McGILL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1906 - 1915
The obvious first task of the Royal Institution, as the Board of Governors of
McGill University College of British Columbia, was to complete its own organization. This was done at a meeting held in the Vancouver School Board Offices
21 Royal Institution : Chancellor Elected
on March 19, 1906, less than a month after the Act of Incorporation was passed.
Section 5 of the Act fixed the membership of the Royal Institution at "not less
than eight and not more than fifteen members," and gave them power, "in addition, to give such representation to any School Board or other bodies in charge
of public education as may be agreed upon." Members ex officio were the Minister of Education, the Superintendent of Education, the Principal of McGill University and the Principal of McGill University College of British Columbia.
Lemuel Robertson, of the Vancouver College staff, although not a member of
the Board, was invited to attend the first meeting, as the author of the idea of
McGill College, now rapidly coming to fruition. Dr. Tory attended, as representing Principal Peterson. The Honourable F. Carter-Cotton, owner-editor of
The News Advertiser, Vancouver, was elected President, and became known
as Chancellor of the College; W. P. Argue, Superintendent of Schools for
Vancouver, was elected Secretary, and A. C. Flumerfelt, financier, Victoria,
Treasurer. Seven of the original fourteen members, including the Chancellor and
the Secretary, remained members throughout the entire life of the Royal Institution. As the Secretary's work increased, Lemuel Robertson was appointed Assistant Secretary.
A carefully prepared statement of aims and plans for the new College, submitted by Dr. Tory, was referred to a small committee, and published in the
press on March 21. It was designed to bring satisfaction to the friends of the
Royal Institution and to calm the fears of those who had opposed it. Quite generally, the publication, in simple non-technical terms, of the main features of
McGill University's plans for her Western College served to clear the air after
the storm of controversy of the preceding month. The Royal Institution, though
brought into being by McGill University, was, in reality, a British Columbian
foundation, managed by British Columbians. The only non-resident member of
the Board was Principal Peterson. The College would be situated in Vancouver;
its instruction would be based on the two years of an Arts course already given
there, with increase in the number of optional subjects; two years of Applied
Science courses would be added — studies "which lie at the basis of the industrial
and economic development of the Province." Third and Fourth Years in Arts
would be provided when the number of students justified the additional expenditure. The new university work to be undertaken would involve costs in excess
of those incurred in the courses already given in Vancouver College, in affiliation
with McGill. This latter instruction, given by the High School staff, had been
paid for jointly by the Vancouver School Board and the Department of Education, as being "necessary for the highest teachers' diplomas." This support would
be continued and the McGill authorities would supply the Royal Institution, for a
22 Registration : Curriculum
limited period, with funds sufficient to carry on the new courses in the curriculum.
A plea was added for public support necessary to enable the Royal Institution to
realize its hopes for the College.
Publication of the names of the Board of Governors, all leaders in educational,
business or professional life, inspired public confidence; the Board's altruistic
declaration of aims disarmed criticism. Whatever may have been McGill's
intentions or the expectations of her friends when she entered the field of
higher education in British Columbia, she adapted her policy, at each stage, to
changing needs in the Province during the nine years that followed until, in
1915, the daughter College of McGill was merged in the University of British
Columbia.
The College began work in the autumn of 1906 with an enrolment of 48
students, of whom 7 were in Second Year Arts, 26 in First Year Arts and 15
in First Year Applied Science. The Matriculation class, which, to begin with,
was conducted by McGill College, had an enrolment of 62. Students were not
accepted for Second Year Applied Science until the following session. In 1907
the Act was amended to permit the Royal Institution to establish colleges in other
cities in the Province and in 1908 Victoria College, till then affiliated to McGill
University, was brought under direction of the Royal Institution, as a part of
McGill University College of British Columbia, adding Second Year Arts to
its curriculum. In 1908, also, courses in Vancouver were extended to include
Third Year Arts: English, with any two of Mathematics, Physics and Latin,
constituted a full year's course. To the three optional Third Year subjects were
added, in later sessions, French, Greek and Philosophy. No courses in History
were offered by McGill University College except in Greek and Roman History,
as part of Classics courses, and in European History, as part of the First Year
course in English. Courses in German were given in First and Second Year Arts
only. In Second Year Arts, a course in General Chemistry was offered. Applied
Science courses followed closely the work of First and Second Year in McGill
University. Instruction was mainly devoted to Mathematics, Mechanics, Physics,
Chemistry, Drawing and Shop Work and was intended "as a foundation for the
specialization carried on in the Third and Fourth Years in the various branches
of Engineering."2 Students entering the Second Year of Applied Science were
required to pass a credit course in five named "English Classics." The books were
read during the summer vacation. A course in English Composition was prescribed for all First Year Engineering students, except those who passed a test,
held at the beginning of term, in the writing of English. A special selection of
2 Annual Calendar of the McGill University College of British Columbia,  Session
*9*4'1$> P- s8.
23 Progress of McQill B.C. Checked
studies was prescribed for students who wished to proceed to a Double Degree
in Arts and Applied Science, in Arts and Medicine or in Arts and Theology.
As at McGill University, women were not admitted to courses in Applied
Science. This was nowhere stated positively in the M.B.C. Calendar. It was left
to be inferred from a single sentence in a paragraph bearing the heading, "Courses
of Study." After a general description of the work, standards, examinations and
status of successful students, there followed this pronouncement: "The Courses
in Arts are open to men and women on equal footing."3
From the very beginning high hopes were entertained by the Board of Governors and staff that a full Arts course would soon be given in Vancouver. Generous public support and the prospect of increased enrolment for the second session
encouraged this optimism to such an extent that the Calendar for 1907-08
expressed the hope of the Royal Institution "to make provision that the First
Year in Arts of 1907-08 shall receive its full course in the College and be admitted locally to the B.A. Degree in 1911." Permission to offer full Third Year
work in the session 1908-09 further strengthened these hopes. As we shall
see, however, in the next chapter, the current was already setting strongly in the
direction of a provincial university. The passing of the University Act in the
spring of 1908 and the subsequent course of events in connection with its fulfilment imposed a policy of cautious restraint on the Royal Institution. McGill
University College had reached the zenith of her development, and had now
become a caretaker institution, waiting patiently until her successor was ready to
relieve her.
These seven years, 1908 - 1915, were a time of uncertainty and anxiety for
staff and students alike, caused by the repeated changes in the projected opening
year for the new University. It appeared for a short time during the winter of
1913-14 that the College might realize its dream of offering a Fourth Year in
Arts for one session at least. The Provincial University Board of Governors,
hoping to compensate the students for the prolonged delay, proposed to the
Royal Institution at a conference on September 29, 1913, that they give Fourth
Year work in McGill College during the session 1914-15, in order to enable
students to graduate with the degree of B.A. in the spring of 1915. This suggestion was approved by the Royal Institution, but their request for permission to
do the work was refused by McGill University.
Providing instructional staff for McGill University College was an easy task
for its Board of Governors. The quality of scholarship and teaching abilities of
the staff in Vancouver and Victoria Colleges were proved during the preceding
years of affiliation and from their numbers the first appointments to McGill B.C.
3 Op.cit, p. 13.
24 McQill B.C. Staff
were made. In Vancouver, Principal J. C. Shaw, as already indicated, was made
Acting-Principal and Dean, Professor of Latin, Lecturer in Greek. With him
from Vancouver College were associated Lemuel F. Robertson, Registrar, Professor of Greek, Lecturer in Latin; George E. Robinson, Professor of Pure
and Applied Mathematics; J. Kaye Henry, Professor of English, Lecturer in
Physics, and Henri Chodat, Professor of Modern Languages. For the First Year
work in Applied Science, H. K. Dutcher was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering and David Blair was engaged to teach Mechanical Drawing. Dr. Tory,
on leave from McGill, remained in Vancouver, installing the Physics Laboratory
equipment he had acquired in England during the summer and teaching until
J. G. Davidson was appointed Professor of Physics in November.
Principal Shaw did not long survive to enjoy the headship of the College he
had worked so hard to establish. Despite failing health, he continued in the dual
capacity of High School and College Principal until his death in April 1907.
Professor George E. Robinson succeeded him as Dean.
Further appointments to the Vancouver staff were made as the number of
courses and students increased: In 1907-08, W. B. Burnett lectured in
Biology; G. E. Piper became Professor of Mechanical Engineering and, on
his untimely death a year later, was succeeded by D. W. Munn. During the
session 1909 - 10, A. E. R. Boak, in later years Chairman of History at Ann
Arbor, was Lecturer in Greek. In 1909 James Henderson became Professor of
Philosophy. Other appointments included: in 1910, R. E. Macnaghten, Professor of Greek; in 1911, Isabel S. Maclnnes, Lecturer in Modern Languages;
O. S. Tyndale, later to be elected Chancellor of McGill, lectured in French for
one session; in 1912, E. E. Jordan, Lecturer in Mathematics; in 1913, H. T.
Logan, Lecturer in Classics; in 1914, Lawrence Killam, Professor of Mechanical
Engineering, E. G. Matheson, Lecturer in Civil Engineering. G. R. Kendall
was appointed Lecturer in Chemistry and Registrar.
When Victoria College became a branch of McGill University College in
1908, the staff appointed was composed of: S. J. Willis, Dean, Professor of
Classics; E. H. Russell, Professor of Mathematics; Jeanette A. Cann, Lecturer
in English; Alice O. E. Henry, Lecturer in Modern Languages; P. H. Elliott,
Lecturer in Physics and Chemistry.
The Royal Institution was, in all important respects, a self-governing institution. Nowhere is this more evident than in the method of examinations. In the
days of affiliation, examination papers were set and all marks checked in Montreal. With the advent of the Royal Institution, all members of the local staff
automatically became members of the McGill University Examining Board, the
body responsible for conducting McGill examinations and maintaining her stand-
*5 Buildings : Fairview 'Campus'
ards. Examination papers were set and students' papers marked in McGill B.C.
and equivalent status given in McGill, Montreal, to students passing their examinations in British Columbia.
McGill College classes in Victoria began and continued to be held in the
High School. In Vancouver the problem of finding suitable accommodation was
more difficult. The first plans had envisaged a new building to be constructed
within two years at a cost of $100,000. Through Dr. Tory's efforts, Andrew
Carnegie was induced to promise $50,000, conditional on local contributions giving an equal amount and a sum sufficient to provide an endowment of $20,000.
The $50,000 necessary for the erection of the building was subscribed, a site,
provided by the Provincial Government in Point Grey, west of Alma Road and
north of Fourth Avenue, was being cleared, and competitive building plans had
been invited. At this point came the passage of the University Act and the Board
of Governors decided not to proceed. All thought of having their own college
building was given up. Subscriptions received for the building and endowment
fund were returned to the donors.
Classes were held during the first session, 1906-07, in unused rooms of
the new Vancouver High School, since re-named King Edward High School,
erected in 1905, occupying the city block bounded by Laurel Street, 12th
Avenue, Oak Street and 10th Avenue. Owing to pressure for more classroom
space for the High School in the autumn of 1907, McGill College was obliged
to move. New quarters were occupied in time for the opening of the 1907 - 08
session in the vacant brick buildings formerly occupied by the City Hospital, at
the southeast corner of Cambie and Pender Streets. Here, in this ivy-clad
structure, staff and students found a cosy, if inadequate, college home until the
building was condemned by the City Health Officer in January 1911 and
another move became necessary. Temporary classroom space was the best
that could be expected, now that the erection of the Provincial University at
Point Grey seemed imminent. Realizing the urgency of the situation, the Provincial Government provided the Royal Institution with funds to build two frame,
shingled-sheathed structures on the site of the Vancouver General Hospital,
whose fine, stone buildings were then beginning to rise. These first two units
of what University of British Columbia graduates now speak of as "the Fair-
view Shacks" were situated at the southeast corner of Laurel Street and 10th
Avenue. They became known as the Physics Building and the Chemistry Building. They were occupied in September 1912. Shop-work was done by Applied
Science men in a roughly-built structure to the east of the buildings.
Accommodation was already at a premium when lectures began in the 1912-
1913 session, with a registration of 190 students. It had now become clear that
26 Opportunities and Limitations
the Provincial University could not fulfil its plan to open on the Point Grey site
in the following September, and, in April 1913, the Royal Institution was requested by the University of British Columbia Board of Governors to continue
its work for two more years, i.e., until the end of the session 1914-15. The Provincial University contributed $5,000 each year to the college budget. To provide the required additional accommodation for what was expected to be a brief
period, an ingenious scheme was devised. The Government would give generous
aid to the City toward a permanent building for the Vancouver General Hospital,
on a site adjoining the Physics and Chemistry Buildings, and permission would
be given McGill B.C. to make use of it until the move to Point Grey in September
1915. This granite structure, now part of the Division of T.B. Control for British
Columbia, known as the Willow Chest Headquarters Centre, was completed in
time for use in 1914-15, the last session of McGill B.C. To the teaching staff
of 15 members and the student body numbering 290 it seemed large, even
luxurious. It provided much-needed space for Library, Faculty offices and lecture
rooms. Fate willed it to be the first Arts Building of the University of British
Columbia.
McGill B.C. did indeed prove for many students in her Victoria and Vancouver Colleges to be an avenue of opportunity along which they moved toward
professional degrees in McGill or other eastern universities. It is obviously impossible to know precisely how many students completed their degree courses,
for no such records were kept, but it is known, e.g., that, in the session 1913-14,
45 British Columbia students were attending McGill University, 23 of them in
Arts, 17 in Applied Science, and 5 in Medicine. Of course, no government
bursaries or loans were available, though a few scholarships had been donated
by private benefactors. But success in their studies in McGill B.C. whetted the
mental appetite and ambition of large numbers of students who, as always, were
ready to make every effort of thrift and sacrifice to attain the goal of a degree. A
few of them for personal or family reasons continued their studies at Manitoba,
Queen's, Toronto, Dalhousie or elsewhere. The great majority, quite naturally,
attended McGill University, whose songs and slogans they had learned as undergraduates in British Columbia and whose insignia they had worn on their athletic
sweaters and gym shirts in Vancouver and Victoria.
It was not possible to develop a normal college life in the circumstances
which surrounded McGill B.C. For seven of her nine years the College lived in
the shadow of death, which, from 1908, appeared at no time farther off than two
or three years. She had no playing fields of her own, no gymnasium. Her Arts
courses stopped at the Third Year, her Applied Science courses at the Second
Year. The addition of a Fourth Year, expected annually, failed to materialize—
*7 Foundations Laid for U.B.C.
there were no Seniors to complete the framework of her undergraduate structure.
Her last year, which, with increased enrolment and accommodation, began so
auspiciously, was clouded over with the outbreak of World War I in the summer
vacation. Undergraduate life, during the session of 1914-15, became engrossed
with the novel activities of the Officers Training Corps and Red Cross, and was
progressively weakened by the numerous enlistments of her older students for
overseas service, 30 of whom left in March to join the First McGill University
Company in Montreal, followed by a second detachment of 25 at the end of the
the session.
But while McGill B.C. suffered from many disadvantages, her handicaps were,
in the main, external. Her achievements were by no means insignificant. Her students, men and women, established for British Columbia, at McGill and elsewhere, a reputation for scholarship and character. Her athletic teams, including
basketball (men and women), grass hockey (women), ice hockey, rugby
football and track, added much to the fine tradition of sportsmanship built up
through the years by the high schools and private athletic clubs in Vancouver,
New Westminster and Victoria. An organized Alma Mater Society was making
rapid progress toward student self-government. The essential spirit of the College
was revealed in the generous response of her young men and women, still in their
teens, to the call for overseas service. In academic matters, the achievement of
McGill B.C., within the limits of the courses given, was outstanding. Here she
competed, at least on even terms, with her own Alma Mater, McGill. The reason
is not far to seek. In a small unit of instruction, about the size, in numbers, of an
Oxford college, her students came into close daily touch with a staff of wise and
devoted teachers. This finely-groomed, well-knit group of staff and students, by
the mechanical process of legislative action, became the University of British
Columbia. The foundations had been laid, as we have seen, sixteen years earlier,
with the first affiliation with McGill. In 1915 the College was, in fact, herself a
university in all but name, with every member thrilled at the prospect of entering
at last upon a wider field of educational opportunity.
When McGill University College ceased operations it had assets to the value
of $32,000, most of which it turned over to the University of British Columbia
as an endowment for the scholarships bearing the name of the Royal Institution.
Two of the donors to the short-lived McGill B.C. endowment fund, the Honourable James Dunsmuir and the McGill Graduates' Society, consented to the same
use being made of their contributions. Money was made available also to add to
the Scholarship Subscription Fund in memory of Principal J. C. Shaw, and to
provide a Royal Institution Prize in Victoria College. These scholarships and
prizes form a perpetual link with McGill's pioneering enterprise in higher educa-
28 McQill's Achievement
tion in British Columbia. Two thousand dollars were given to McGill University's endowment Fund as a token of gratitude.
The feelings of the Board of Governors of McGill B.C., at the end of their
nine years' tenure of office, were eloquently expressed in a letter of their Chancellor, the Honourable F. Carter-Cotton, addressed to Sir William Peterson,
Principal of McGill, in part as follows:
The benefit our Province has derived from your University's connection with it,
it would be impossible to estimate. Many young people have received a University
education for whom otherwise it would have remained an unaccomplished dream. An
interest in higher education has been fostered, not only in the young, but in our
people generally, and our sense of unity with other parts of the Dominion and with
the Empire as a whole, and of the possession of common ideals of citizenship and
culture, has been deepened.
McGill University has left a lasting impression on our Province and in closing I
would express the hope that the connection may prove a guarantee of interest for the
future on the part of your old and distinguished University in our newly established
institution in the West.
29 O iiJ'<>(*a»^«
IS BORN
1908
I am the new, and hold the Book of Fate;
Pulsing with newborn life, I sit and gaze
Adown the bandit years which lie in wait
To trap these haunters of my youthful days.'
DURING the nine years when McGill University College carried the torch of publicly-
supported higher education in the Province, the movement for a provincial
university continued unabated. It seems to have needed only a strong leader and
the right time to bring it success. That leader was found in the person of Henry
Esson Young, who, with unflagging zeal, as Minister of Education from 1907 to
1916, finally set the University of British Columbia on her tortuous way.
As we have seen, university graduates in British Columbia were divided in
their views with regard to the Act, passed in February, 1906, establishing the
Royal Institution: there was no division among them at any time on the question
of a provincial university. The storm of debates which surged around the McGill
University College Act had the effect of giving new vitality to public interest in
higher education generally and intensified demands on the Government for a
provincial university. At a meeting of graduates in Vancouver on February 26,
six days after the Act was passed, it was resolved unanimously
to prepare and have circulated and signed a petition to the Legislature, asking that
1  "U.B.C. Speaks," by A.J.A., U.B.C. Annual, 1916, p. 37.
3i Demands for a University
body to revive the British Columbia University Act, so far as it needs revival, and
to grant under that Act power to the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council to endow the
University with a grant of land.
On March 2 a letter embodying the resolution was sent to the Premier, the
Honourable Richard McBride. The resolution had been moved by Mr. George
H. Cowan, k.c, and the letter to the Premier was signed on behalf of the Committee of Graduates by His Honour Judge Alexander Henderson, both of whom
had strongly opposed the McGill University College Act.
The letter to the Premier expressed the feelings of Vancouver graduates:
Although there have been differences of opinion as to the light in which Bill 23
(establishing the Royal Institution) should be viewed, there has been absolute
unanimity in favour of the immediate endowment of the Provincial University. It is
felt that a step like this should be taken when the lands of the Province are of comparatively little market value and that every year's delay can only increase the difficulty
of setting aside an ample endowment. This had been the policy adopted in the other
Provinces of Canada, and has, it is submitted, been a sound one.
The letter concluded with an appeal for immediate action by the Government.
A strong committee was appointed by the University Graduates Association to
gain public support for their resolution. The committee, which consisted of His
Honour Judge Alexander Henderson, Mr. F. C. Wade, k.c, Mr. George H.
Cowan, K.c, and Dr. R. Pearson, went to work with a will. By the end of the
summer of 1906, largely owing to the effort of this quartette, the provincial
governing bodies of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches voted to
memorialize the Government. The Synod of the Presbyterian Church advised "the
establishment of a Provincial University through the revision of an Act (1891)
which is still on the Statute books and the setting apart of a suitable tract of land
from the public domain as an endowment for such a University." The Methodist
Conference urged "the necessity of establishing a University and setting apart of
a sufficiency of public lands for the endowment of the same." The Conference,
bearing in mind the Columbian Methodist College in New Westminster and
McGill University College now authorized in Vancouver, saw in a provincial
university, "with which Colleges established by the various denominations or
other bodies may affiliate," a means to "promote the unification of the educational
system of the Province." The Baptist Convention "declared itself in favour of the
immediate establishment of a Provincial examining University with which all Colleges within the Province attempting University work could become affiliated."
At the same time it resolved "that the Government of British Columbia be requested to set aside one-fourth of all public lands in the Province to be known as
"educational lands', the proceeds of the sale or lease of such lands to be devoted to
the maintenance of secondary and University education within the Province." The
3* Henry Esson Young
resolutions of these important religious bodies were sent to the Minister of Education and committees of church leaders were chosen to wait on the Government.
This revival of public interest in a provincial university came as a surprise to
the Government. When the Act to incorporate the Royal Institution had been
under discussion in the House of Assembly in February, the Honourable F. J.
Fulton, Minister of Education, referring to the defunct University Act of 1891,
expressed his belief that feeling regarding it "has since nearly all died out." The
Province, he felt, was still not ready for it. As Minister of Education he had welcomed McGill's offer to extend her own work in British Columbia because, as
he said, "it would be at least 15 or 20 years more before we would find it possible
to establish a University of our own." He could not foresee that the McGill University Act, which he so ardently and patiently piloted through the legislature,
would itself be the means of revitalizing the very movement which it appeared to
the Minister to be replacing. At the end of the 1906 session, Mr. Fulton received
the portfolio of Attorney-General, being succeeded at the Education Office by the
Honourable William M. Manson. By the Provincial Election of February 2,
1907, the McBride Government was returned with a comfortable majority of
15, and the member for Atlin, Dr. Henry Esson Young, was made Provincial
Secretary and Minister of Education. To him the Premier entrusted the task of
dealing with the new and insistent demands for a provincial university.
Dr. Young was well qualified for the task. He brought to it a deep interest in
the problems of secondary and higher education and a conviction of their values
in modern community living. Born at Valleyfield in the Province of Quebec on
February 24, 1862, he graduated in Arts from Queen's University, Kingston,
and in Medicine from McGill in 1888. In the Summer Session of 1887 he
studied in Sir William Osier's clinics and practice wards in the University of
Pennsylvania Hospital and in 1890 spent some months in the United Kingdom.
He practised medicine for a few years in St. Louis, Missouri, before coming to
British Columbia in 1901. After two years as a general medical practitioner he
was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1903. The story of Dr. Young's great
work for public health, as Provincial Secretary, from 1907 to 1916, belongs
elsewhere. The same period, during which he served also as Minister of Education, saw the reorganization of the entire school system of the Province. We are
specially interested here in his association with higher education and it is significant that, when he was offered the Portfolio of Minister of Education, "the
inducement held out to him by the Premier was that he should have a free hand
in founding a University in British Columbia."2 His mind appears to have been
2 W. C. Gibson: "Makers of the University—Henry Esson Young." U.B.C. Alumni
Chronicle, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer, 1955, p. 16.
33 University Endowment Act, 1907
made up already on this question. He would direct his efforts toward removing
the "colonial status" and establishing the independence of the Province in the
area of higher education.3 He accepted the challenge to action issued by the
university graduates, representatives of the churches and by a large section of the
press of the Province, and threw the weight of his political influence behind the
movement.
Hopes for any substantial advance in university policy rested then, as they
do now, fifty years later, on the readiness of the Government to supply necessary
funds. In the annual budget battle in the Government caucus, the voice of education is likely to be drowned in the louder clamour for roads, railways, public
works, etc. Dr. Young was attracted by the proposed scheme of land endowments, first advocated in 1872 by Superintendent of Education Jessop, as a means
of financing a university, making it independent of annual votes from the Provincial Treasury.
The first public announcement of his purpose came in the Speech from the
Throne, delivered by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable James Dunsmuir,
to the newly-elected Legislative Assembly on March 7, 1907:
In order that the youth of the Province may be enabled to perfect themselves in
the arts and sciences without having to seek abroad the facilities for Higher Education,
a measure will be submitted for your consideration authorizing the setting apart of a
sufficient portion of the Crown Lands to create a fund for the establishment and
maintenance of a provincial University.
On March 25 Dr. Young presented Bill No. 25, "An Act to Aid the University
of British Columbia by a Reservation of Provincial Lands," to be "cited as the
University Endowment Act, 1907." The Bill provided that the Lieutenant-
Governor-in-Council should set apart within three years "lands not exceeding two
million acres," to "be administered and disposed of under the provisions of the
'Land Act'." All revenues "derived from the sale or other disposition of said lands,
not including, however, any taxes or royalties," were to be "devoted to the maintenance by said University" of the four Faculties of Arts and Science, Medicine,
Law and Applied Science. This Bill, with minor amendments, became law on
April 25. Even its proponents had only vague ideas of the location of the areas
to be set apart and the amount of the endowment to be expected from them. The
Premier, the Honourable Richard McBride, stated "that the reserved lands,
which would be in the northern and interior parts of the Province, would perhaps
have a value of from $2.00 to $3.00 an acre," and he thought "that the reservation proposed would produce an annual income of perhaps $200,000." These
forecasts proved to be far too optimistic but the Land Endowment Act was im-
3 Loc. cit.
34 The University Act, y March, 1908
portant evidence of the Government's goodwill. In addressing a committee of
school trustees in the autumn of 1907, the Premier declared that by this Act
the Government had "completed the ground-work" of the University; it would
now "start on the super-structure."
Dr. Young had already been busy during the summer months drafting a
Constitution for the new University. After consultation with the Chancellor of
Toronto and the Principals of Queen's and McGill, a final draft was ready for
presentation to the legislative session in the following spring under the title of
"An Act to Establish and Incorporate a University for the Province of British
Columbia." The Act with its 104 Sections was so carefully and skilfully prepared
that it passed in the Legislature without amendment. It bore the date of 7 March,
1908. Experience of the intervening fifty years has revealed the advisability of
numerous amendments, but the Act of 1908 forms, basically, the constitution
of the University of British Columbia to-day. An outline of the measure, for convenient reference, was published in the University Calendar for the first session,
1915-16, and, with amendments, has appeared each year in the Calendar under
the heading "The Constitution of the University."4
The Act of 1908 (slightly amended in 1912) provides:
That the University shall consist of a Chancellor, Convocation, Board of
Governors, Senate, and the Faculties; that the first Convocation shall consist of all
graduates of any university in His Majesty's dominions resident in the Province two
years prior to the date fixed for the first meeting of Convocation, together with
twenty-five members selected by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council; after
the first Convocation it shall consist of the Chancellor, Senate, members of the first
Convocation, and all graduates of the University; that the Chancellor shall be elected
by Convocation; that the Board of Governors shall consist of the Chancellor, President and nine persons appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council; that the
Senate shall consist of: (a) the Minister of Education, the Chancellor, and the
President of the University, who shall be Chairman thereof; (b) the deans and two
professors of each of the Faculties elected by members of the Faculty; (c) three
members to be appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council; (d) The Superintendent of Education, the principals of the normal schools; (e) one member elected
by the high-school principals and assistants who are actually engaged in teaching; (f)
one member elected by the Provincial Teachers' Institute organised under subsection (e) of Section 8 of the Public Schools Act; (g) one member to be elected by
the governing body of every affiliated college or school in this Province; (h) fifteen
members to be elected by Convocation from the members thereof:
That the University shall be non-sectarian:
That the instruction shall be free to all students in the Arts classes:
That the women students shall have equality of privilege with men students:
That no other university having corporate powers capable of being exercised
4 Calendar of the University of British Columbia, First Session, 1915-16, pp. 14-15.
35 Board .• Senate : Faculty
within the Province shall be known by the same name, nor have power to grant
degrees.
An examination of the new Act reveals important differences from the Acts of
1890 and 1891. Chief of these was the creation of a new administrative body,
the Board of Governors, and the division of powers between this body and the
Senate, "so that," in the words of the Minister, in describing the innovation, "the
business side would be in the hands of the Board of Governors and the teaching
portion would be managed by the Senate." No member of the Provincial Cabinet,
no appointee of the Board of Governors, except the President, no employee of
the Education Department was eligible for membership on the Board of Governors. The Board possessed the general powers of "management, administration
and control of property, revenue, business and affairs of the University." Among
its powers were those of fixing fees, of appointing, promoting, and removing,
upon recommendations of the President, members of the teaching staff, of creating
Faculties and Departments and of directing financial policy. The Board had also
semi-judicial powers in being the final court of appeal upon any question concerning the powers and duties of the Chancellor, the Faculties, the Convocation,
or any officer or servant of the University. The Senate, on the other hand, was
charged with the "government management and carrying out of the curriculum,
instruction and education afforded by the Board." The administrative powers
given to the Senate under the earlier Acts were now removed and it became the
guardian of educational policy only. Its powers under the 1908 Act were intended to make the Senate a connecting link between the Faculties and Board of
Governors. It was to deal with all matters reported by the Faculties, and "to consider and take action upon all such matters as shall be reported to it by the Board
of Governors." No rules or regulations of a Faculty could become effective until
approved by Senate. Perhaps the most significant feature of this administrative
structure is the elimination of Faculty from membership in the Board of Governors. Under the Acts of 1890 and 1891, as we have seen, Deans and Professors were members of the senior governing body. The composition of the Board
of Governors under the 1908 Act brought the University of British Columbia
into line, in this respect, with the constitutional policy generally prevailing in other
Canadian universities.
The tasks and duties of the University were set out in general terms in Section
9. The Land Endowment Act of the previous year provided for the maintenance
of four Faculties. The University Act made no mention of any specific Faculty.
The number of Faculties and the instruction given would be determined, in due
course, by the Board and Senate. But the Act left no room for doubt regarding
the high place which the University, as an instrument of higher education, was
3<5 Functions of the University
intended to fill in the life of the Province. The scope of its work was to be as wide
as the intellectual and practical interests of every citizen, and the extent of its
activities was to be limited only by its resources. Because the sentences of the Act
still remain a directive to the University in the service it must render to the community, the Section is quoted in full:
The University shall, so far as and to the full extent which its resources from
time to time permit, provide for: (a) Such instruction in all branches of liberal
education as may enable students to become proficient in and qualify for degrees,
diplomas and certificates in science, commerce, arts, literature, law, medicine, and
all other branches of knowledge;
(b) Such instruction, especially, whether theoretical, technical, artistic, or otherwise,
as may be of service to persons engaged or about to engage in manufactures, mining,
engineering, agricultural and industrial pursuits of the Province of British Columbia;
(c) Facilities for the prosecution of original research in science, literature, arts,
medicine, law and especially the applications of science;
(d) Such fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, prizes and rewards and pecuniary
and other aids as shall facilitate or encourage proficiency in the subjects taught in the
University and also original research in every branch;
(e) Such extra-collegiate and extra-university instruction and teaching as may be
recommended by the Senate.
The promise of such services, as objectives of the University, were certain to
bring widespread support for the Act. Two popular features were the exemption
of Arts undergraduates from payment of tuition fees, except for laboratory instruction, and the protection afforded to the interests of women, who were to enjoy
equally with men the advantages and privileges of the University. It was explicitly
provided also that women were eligible for membership in the Board of Governors
and Senate. These provisions meant, of course, that women students might enrol
in any Faculty. The first woman student, Margaret Louise Healy, was enrolled
in the Faculty of Applied Science in the session 1916-17. The interest of school
teachers throughout the Province was assured by a special clause giving permission to affiliate with the University to "any Normal School organized by the
Department of Education for the instruction and training of teachers in the service
of education and the art of teaching."
The University to be set up by this Act was quite obviously no "ivory tower."
It was to be administered by business and professional men. It was to assist in the
development of the Province. Premier McBride and Dr. Young in their public
speeches stressed its utilitarian possibilities. In introducing the Bill in the House,
Dr. Young declared that "the first thing they had borne in mind in providing for
the University was the development of the mining, forestry and agricultural resources of the Province, and an education that would aid in this." And he added
that the aim of the Government was "to bring about some immediate good instead
37 Delay in Implementing the Act
of wasting money upon expensive buildings." The Minister expressed the hope
that a Faculty might be set up within the year—a hope destined to be deferred
for seven years.
The length of time taken in implementing the Act was the result of several
factors. The passage of the Land Endowment and the University Acts had relieved the public pressure put upon the Government by graduates and others, and
had removed the sense of political urgency. McGill University College was satisfying much of the need for higher education and winning golden public opinions,
meanwhile, for its work. Both the Premier and Dr. Young, in their public utterances, encouraged people to believe that the Provincial University would get
under way in 1911. Premier McBride promised, before the 191 o session of the
Legislature, that
just as soon as the site is selected for the University and other preliminary work
accomplished, we will be prepared to bring from the East an efficient Staff and give
the people educational work that will compare with Toronto and McGill.
In February, 191 o, Dr. Young told the Legislature that he hoped to announce
next session that the government was ready to lay the corner-stone of the University. Some time later the Royal Institution was given to understand that the
University's "doors would be opened in September, 1913."5
It is probable, however, that Dr. Young's advocacy of the University was
impeded chiefly, during these years, by the pre-occupation of the Government
with the immense financial undertakings of the McBride Railway Policy, for
which the Premier had won an overwhelming mandate in the election of 1909.
In the years 1909-1915 were constructed the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway Company line, now a part of the Canadian National system, from Yellow-
head Pass, along the Fraser and Thompson Rivers to Vancouver; the Dominion
Government's Grand Trunk Pacific line through Northern British Columbia to
Prince Rupert; the Kettle Valley Railway from Coldwater Junction to connect
with the Canadian Pacific Railway at Hope; and portions of the Pacific Great
Eastern Railway to connect the head of Howe Sound with Fort George. It was
a time of great growth of population, business and industry. The railways formed
a vital part of the spacious government planning. The generous terms offered
the railway companies proved greater than the Provincial Treasury could bear.
The era of deficits, which had ended in 1904, returned in 1912 and continued through
the remaining years of the McBride Ministry. . . . The surplus of seven years was
swallowed up; the bright days of expansion were gone; and the financial depression,
aggravated by the Great War, weighed heavily upon the Province. The railway
5 Annual Calendar:  The McGill University College of British Columbia:   Session
1914-15, p. 12.
38 Choosing a Site : Public Interest
enterprises, including the unfinished Pacific Great Eastern, and the large expenditures
undertaken in the development period, added much to the public debt. *
It is against this background of overriding government policy and provincial
expenditures that we must view the prolonged delay in carrying out the procedures necessary to establish the University. Because of the slow progress made,
and, finally, the intervention of World War I, the University was forced to find
a temporary home in the Fairview quarters of McGill College and the move to
its permanent site at Point Grey was deferred for another ten years.
Two years were allowed to slip by before government action was taken on the
choice of a site for the University. This question, which had precipitated the
fiasco of the 1891 Education Act, still had political overtones, though these had
now less serious political implications for a strongly-entrenched Government.
How loud these overtones were Dr. Young discovered when the University Land
Endowment Act was passed. He told the Legislature, three years later, when
introducing the site Act in 1910, that,
following the Bill providing for the endowment of a University, the Government
was besieged day and night by delegations from different parts of the Province; they
were inundated by correspondence and swamped by editorials regarding sites for the
University.
With the passing of the University Act in 1908, meetings were held and strong
committees were established in Vancouver, Victoria, New Westminster, and
other cities throughout the Province, to formulate their claims for consideration
as the ideal location for the University. From the Victoria committee came the
suggestion, made by their Chairman, Chief Justice Hunter, that, in view of the
popular local feeling over the issue, the Government should "select a Committee
of prominent educationists from the East and bring them out to decide as to the
proper site from every point of view." The Chief Justice felt that the people of
Victoria should support such a course of action "for our case is so strong that we
have nothing to fear from any other city when we present it." The organization
of public opinion, locally, continued through 1908 and 1909, often under the
leadership of alumni of various universities, now united in a common purpose.
The University Women's Club of Vancouver took an active part. Added strength
was given to the arguments of the advocates for Vancouver, by a resolution of
the Royal Institution, passed on May 14, 1909, "that should Vancouver or immediate vicinity be chosen as the site of the Provincial University, the Board is
prepared to hand over the work now being carried on by the McGill University
College of British Columbia!" This was indeed special pleading for when McGill
6 F. W. Howay: "British Columbia: The Making of a Province," p. 248.
See also pp. 257-8.
39 Site Commission Selects Point Qrey
University had negotiated the establishment of her College in Vancouver, there
was a "gentleman's agreement" to the effect she would step out when the Provincial University was ready to step in. University graduates in Vancouver set up
a committee consisting of Principal Robinson of McGill College, W. P. Argue,
Superintendent of City Schools, F. C. Wade, k.c, Miss A. B. Jamieson, Rev.
George Pidgeon and E. W. Burwash. All sections of the lower mainland from
New Westminster to North Vancouver agreed first, to unite on advocating a site
in or around Vancouver, and then to argue, individually, for the site of their
own preference. The Secretary of the Lower Mainland Committee, Dr. J. G.
Davidson of McGill College, wrote for their opinions to the presidents of the
leading American universities, including Woodrow Wilson of Princeton, the
great majority of whom supported, as the best location, a large city or a suburb,
an area adjacent to a city of varied industrial activities.
At last, on 25 February, following Chief Justice Hunter's proposal, the Government secured "the University Site Commission Act, 191 o," to set up a board
of "disinterested educationalists residing outside the Province of British Columbia"
to choose a suitable location for the University, "which selection when made,
shall be final." The names of the Commissioners, announced in April, were a
formidable list. At their head was R. C. Weldon, Dean of the Law School at
Dalhousie University, of which Premier McBride was a graduate; the others were
Chancellor Cecil C. Jones, University of New Brunswick; Canon G. Dauth,
Vice-Rector, Laval University; President Walter C. Murray, University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. Oscar D. Skelton, the Head, Department of Economics,
Queen's University, later Deputy Minister, External Affairs, Ottawa. The Commission held its organization meeting on May 26. Between this date and the end
of June, when their investigations were concluded, the members visited Victoria,
Nanaimo, Vancouver, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Chilliwack, the
Okanagan Valley, Prince Rupert, etc., examining possible sites and hearing evidence of those who presented briefs. The report of the Commission, dated June
28, was published on September 25, 1910, in part, as follows:
The University Site Commissioners are strongly of the opinion that the University
should not be placed on a site which may in turn be completely surrounded by a
city. They respectfully suggest that not less than 250 acres be set apart for the
University Campus and 700 acres for experimental purposes in agriculture and
forestry. This is exclusive of a forest reserve for forestry operations on a large scale.
The Commissioners are of the opinion that the most suitable site is at Point Grey
unless the soil there and that of the delta land adjacent are found to be unsuitable for
the experimental work of the College of Agriculture. Should Point Grey prove
impossible, the Commissioners suggest—first, a site along the shore west of North
Vancouver, provided the tunnel and bridge are constructed; second, St. Mary's Hill
overlooking the Pitt, Fraser and Coquitlam Rivers, provided residences are erected
40 iyS Acres Reserved
for the students. Central Park, though conveniently located, will probably be surrounded by the Cities of Vancouver and New Westminster, and because of this and
the absence of outstanding scenic advantage is undesirable.
So it was that Point Grey, which has often been declared by visitors to be
the most beautiful university site in the world, was selected for the University of
British Columbia. The decision was hailed with joy by Vancouver, with bitter
disappointment by Victoria and with tolerant or unconcerned satisfaction elsewhere in the Province.
The Site Commissioners, probably at the request of the Government and Dr.
Young, included in their report expressions of their opinion as educationists on
matters which, while lying outside their immediate terms of reference, were certain very soon to be the subject of important policy decisions by the University.
They supported their proposal for a large acreage (700) for experimental purposes in agriculture and forestry with their expressed conviction that it was "of
the highest importance to have all the Faculties of the University doing work
of University grade located together," but they thought agricultural education
should be divided "between the College of Agriculture at the University and
Schools of Agriculture of secondary grade located in different centres ... in conjunction with the Demonstration Farms." They advised the opening of "technical
evening schools in the different coal-mining centres . . . and in the metal-mining
districts." And, finally, "impressed by the very generous provision made for the
endowment of the University," they suggested salary grades for the professors of
$3,000 to $5,000 which, if adopted, would "attract men of the highest ability
who . . . will place the University on an equality with the best Universities in
America."
The Government acted at once, in partial compliance at least, with the recommendations of the Commission, and, in December 1910, reserved 175 acres for
the University on the Point Grey site, less than one-fifth of the total acreage
suggested (950), but the action was a practical demonstration of interest in the
university project and meanwhile did not involve the Government in financial
outlay. At the same time the Land Endowment Act of 1907 was amended to
extend from 3 to 6 years the period within which the 2,000,000 acres were to
be set apart for university endowment.
When the controversial question of the site had been settled, the Minister of
Education turned his attention to the search for a President, who, under the terms
of the Act, in the first instance, was to be appointed by the Government. The
finding of the right man took a long time; it was just over two years before the
appointment was made, in January 1913. Because of the seeming lavish endowment of the University and the spacious plans for its future, wide interest was
41 Appointment of President Wesbrook
aroused in the appointment. As early as June 191 o the first letters of application
and recommendations began to reach Dr. Young. These increased in number
and continued to arrive from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom
until after the President was selected. The choice was made more difficult by the
lofty ideal which Dr. Young had set before himself in the qualities of the first
President. He agreed with the opinion of Dr. S. D. Scott, editor of The News
Advertiser in Vancouver, who was to become one of the first Governors, when
he wrote that, in choosing a President,
The Government should act with the utmost care, since in this they were facing
the largest question to be settled and the one which will have the most influence on
the future of the Province.7
Extensive enquiries were made of prominent educationists. Dr. Young attended
the First Congress of the Universities of the Empire in England in the summer
of 1912 at which he represented the University of British Columbia, numbered
53 and last on the roll of universities represented. Early in the same summer, in
company with Dr. Alexander Robinson, Superintendent of Education, and Dr.
S. D. Scott he visited Eastern Canada and the United States to interview possible
appointees. How great were his ambitions is shown by the fact that he offered the
position to Dr. R. A. (later Sir Robert) Falconer, President of Toronto University. Equally great was Dr. Young's disappointment at Dr. Falconer's gently-
worded but firm refusal. He had been less than five years in Toronto and did not
feel he could properly give up his responsibilities there. Finally, after many names
had been canvassed and many interviews held, the decision was made, and at a
meeting of the Provincial Cabinet on January 27, 1913, the office of President
was tendered to Frank Fairchild Wesbrook.
In announcing the appointment to the Legislature on February 16, 1913,
Dr. Young said,
What we wanted was first of all a Canadian, young enough to take charge
vigorously, a man thoroughly capable for the hardest job outside that of the Premier
in British Columbia. And I say tonight we are getting that man. He is a man in
the prime of life. He is a Canadian. Dr. Wesbrook is his name, and he is at present
Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University of Minnesota, a man who has fought
his way up and holds an academical reputation second to none.
Dr. Wesbrook was 45. The foundation of his medical career was laid on degrees
in Arts and Medicine in Manitoba University. After a summer session at McGill,
his studies took him for five years abroad to Dublin, to Cambridge, as a scholarship student, and for a few months to Marburg, Germany. He returned to his
7 Sydney Scott: "Makers of the University—Snowdon Dunn Scott"; U.B.C. Alumni
Chronicle, Vol. n, No. 2, Summer, 1957, p. 23.
42 Competition in Design for Buildings
Alma Mater in Winnipeg as Professor of Pathology. Then, at the age of 28, he
accepted appointment to the Chair of Pathology, Bacteriology and Public Health
in the University of Minnesota. At the age of 39 he was made Dean of Medicine.
His administrative abilities were also recognized by his appointment as Director
of the State Board of Health. He was elected President of the American Public
Health Association in 1905. In his 17 years at Minnesota he had won an enviable
place in the minds and hearts of his colleagues and students. One who knew him
through this period wrote of him much later:
The influence of this great character and personality became apparent early. The
intervening years only attested Wesbrook's great capacity to stimulate others. He was
the most attractive personality I have ever met.8
Minnesota's loss, deplored by university and city circles when his appointment
was announced there, was gain to U.B.C. and British Columbia, where, in
1913, he was almost an unknown person. In the five short years of his presidency his strong idealism inspired all those who knew him, and set the University
on a broad and liberal path from which it has never since deviated.
During the year preceding the appointment of the President, the Government
went forward with other important arrangements for the University. In the 1912
session, $500,000 was voted for construction of buildings, and $200,000 for
organization purposes. These appropriations, it was thought, would "permit a
formal opening of the University at the Fall Session of 1913." Amendments
were made to the University Act, aimed chiefly at improving administrative
details. Plans for university buildings were selected by a competition open only
to architects resident in Canada, with a prize of $4,000 for the successful competitor, and three other cash prizes. Architects were invited to submit a sketch
of a general design for the whole University and plans for four buildings to be
erected at once, viz., Arts and Science, Agriculture, a dormitory to house 100
to 150 students, and a power house. As judges for the competition the Government appointed the Minister of Education, the President of the University, the
Chairman of Convocation, two resident architects, Mr. Samuel McClure, of
Victoria, and Mr. A. Arthur Cox, of Vancouver, who were not competing, and
a leading British architect, Mr. W. Douglas Caroe, as Chairman. The report
of the judges, submitted on November 13, 1912, declared Messrs. Sharp and
Thompson the winners. In this way began the association of the well-known
Vancouver firm of architects with the University of British Columbia — an
association which has continued down to the present.
Perhaps the most important among the University calendar of events in 1912
was the election by Convocation of the Chancellor and of the 15 elective mem-
8 E. L. Tuohy, in Minnesota Medicine, Vol. 26, No. 1, January, 1943.
43 First Meeting of Convocation .' Chancellor Elected
bers of the University Senate. The choice, for Chancellor, of the Honourable
Francis Carter-Cotton was a happy one. His position as Chancellor of the Royal
Institution made easier the transition from McGill B.C. to U.B.C. In his newspaper, The News Advertiser, he had given a constant support to the cause of
higher education in the Province. His membership in the Legislative Assembly
for upwards of fifteen years, for six years of which he was a Cabinet Minister,
proved of great value to the University Board of Governors.
The results of the election were announced at the first Convocation, held in
Victoria on August 21, 1912. This meeting, which was attended by over 400
of the 739 registered members of Convocation, was clearly regarded by the
Government as a sort of launching ceremony for the University. It was attended
by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable Thomas W. Paterson; the Premier,
the Honourable Sir Richard McBride; Dr. Young as Minister of Education;
the Honourable William J. Bowser, Attorney-General, and other members
of the Government. The Lieutenant-Governor and the Premier spoke briefly,
the latter painting, in eloquent phrases, a glowing picture of the University-
to-be.
Dr. Young gave the principal address. He stressed the advantages of the Government's Land Endowment policy for financing the University. He defended
the Government against those who criticized it for moving so slowly. The selection of 2,000,000 acres for endowment was, in its nature, a slow and difficult
undertaking. He emphasized the positive achievements so far—an immensely satisfactory Education Act, the site at Point Grey with plans to enlarge it, the budget
appropriations of the current year. All these advantages, he suggested, were
secured only after a fight. He spoke of the competition then being conducted for
building plans and described the qualities the Government was looking for in the
man to be chosen as President. He praised the work being done in McGill College and hoped that lectures in the Provincial University would begin in 1913.
After delivering his speech, Dr. Young then introduced Chancellor Carter-Cotton
who, in a few words, paid tribute to Dr. Young and modestly said the honour had
come to him not for personal merit but because of his work for McGill and the
Royal Institution.
Dr. Young, when announcing the President's appointment, at the 1913 session of the Legislature, said he was still hopeful that the University would begin
work that year. "We will have the organization perfected," he said, "to the extent
that it will be possible for us to open classes, and I hope that in 1914 the first
B.A. Degree will be given from the University of British Columbia." He did
not, of course, expect the University to be in its new buildings. No construction
had been done yet; the $500,000 of the previous year was re-voted for 1913.
44 Board and Senate Members
A second amendment to the Land Endowment Act was passed, further extending,
from six to nine years, i.e., to 1916, the period within which the Crown lands
might be reserved under the 1907 Act. The Government completed its part in
creating the University's administrative structure with the appointment of the
Board of Governors on April 4, 1913 and the naming of its three appointees to
the Senate on April 14.
The Board of Governors was composed of nine leading citizens of Victoria
and Vancouver, representing business, financial and professional interests. From
Victoria were two Members of Parliament, Robert Green, veteran member of
the House, formerly of the Slocan Riding, Kootenay West, and George H.
Barnard, k.c; from Vancouver, two members of the Royal Institution, R. P.
McLennan, prominent merchant, and Campbell Sweeny, a leading banker;
Dr. R. E. McKechnie, Lewis G. McPhillips, k.c, Robie L. Reid, k.c, Dr.
S. D. Scott, and George I. Wilson, a businessman.
The names of the elected members of Senate included many who had actively
supported the movement for a provincial university and a number who were to
render the University long and valuable service. An interesting feature of this
first election of Senate members, and one which distinguishes it from most of
its successors, was the wide geographical distribution of its members. Victoria
was represented by Chief Justice Hunter and Mrs. M. R. Watt; Summerland,
by E. M. Sawyer; Nelson, by N. Wolverton; New Westminster, by F. W.
Howay; Trail, by J. M. Turnbull, later and for many years Professor and Head
of the Department of Mining and Metallurgy in the University. Vancouver had
the lion's share with nine members: two strong opponents of the McGill University College Act of 1906, F. C. Wade, k.c, and Dr. J. M. Pearson; two of
the same Act's warmest champions, W. P. Argue and Dr. W. D. Brydone-Jack;
two future members of the Board of Governors, Mrs. Evlyn F. Farris and Dr.
R. E. McKechnie, who later became Chancellor; and E. P. Davie, k.c, J. S.
Gordon, later Vancouver Superintendent of Schools, and C. D. Rand, who died
not long after the election.
With these men as his advisers and helpers, President Wesbrook entered with
fresh and buoyant enthusiasm on the task of organizing the University, taking over
the leadership from Dr. Young at the point the latter had reached in April 1913.
It is interesting to observe that, when accepting the office of President, he secured
the promise that the University would be completely immune from political
influence. After looking over the situation he decided at once that it would not
be possible, as the Minister had hoped, to begin lectures in the autumn of that
year, and his Board of Governors agreed to request McGill University to carry
on for two more years, i.e., to the end of the session 1914 - 15. This realistic
45 President's Activities
decision was taken at the first formal meeting of the Board, held on April 18,
1913. The interval of two and a half years was welcomed by the President as
giving him breathing space and elbow room in his new environment. He had
time now to become acquainted with the community life of the Province in all
its phases and to think out, at greater leisure, the service to be rendered by the
University. More time also was available to plan the buildings, appoint staff and
deal with what he termed the "enormous initial work in financial and other organization." He was heartened by the cordial welcome given him by the Premier and
Members of the Cabinet, by the press, university graduates and by business and
professional men and women in all parts of the Province. He was embarrassed by
the number of requests he received to give addresses. The interest aroused in the
new University, outside the Province, and the respect with which the President
was regarded were shown when the universities of Manitoba and Toronto conferred on him the Honorary Degre of LL.D. He was invited to give the address
when the University of Manitoba installed Dr. MacLean as their new President
in November following his own appointment. He chose as his subject, "The
Provincial University in Canadian Development." He said:
The people's University must meet all the needs of all the people. We must
therefore proceed with care to the erection of those Workshops where we may design
and fashion the tools needed in the building of a nation and from which we can survey
and lay out paths of enlightenment, tunnel the mountains of ignorance and bridge the
chasms of incompetence. Let us pray that posterity may say of us that we builded even
better than we knew.
The records show with what tender care Dr. Wesbrook and his associates proceeded with the erection of his "Workshop" which was to be the University of
British Columbia.
An office was secured as temporary headquarters for the President in the
Carter-Cotton Building, which is now the re-modelled and enlarged Vancouver
Province Building on Victory Square. Here he met with his Board and planned
the University. Although the site had already been chosen and architectural plans
prepared for the first buildings, more than a year was consumed in further study
of the site and building design and in budget negotiations with the Government
before tenders were called for construction. At the Board of Governors' meeting
in April, the President made his first budget suggestions. He proposed an Arts
College of 13 Departments and the appointment of key men for the future Faculties of Agriculture, Forestry, Mining and Engineering. His building programme
for the first two years, based on the architects' plans, would include construction
of an Arts and Science building, a library, an Agriculture building, a power
house and 4 residences for President and staff. This programme would cost
$2,331,000. At the same time, the Board requested the Government to pro-
46 Commission on Buildings and Landscaping
vide a total of $8,000,000 for construction extended over a period of 8 years.
At this time, Dr. Young saw the possibility of setting up the Agriculture Faculty
at the Colony Farm, Coquitlam, and the President accordingly asked the Government for title to this property for the School of Agriculture.
The Government's reply to this first budget was unsatisfactory and a detailed
statement of a five-year programme was accordingly prepared. It was presented
by the Board of Governors to the Premier, the Minister of Education and two
other Cabinet Ministers on May 31, 1913. This was the first of many such
budget conferences to be held in Victoria in U.B.C. history. The cost of this
five-year plan— 1913-1918 — for building and maintenance amounted to over
$7,500,000. The response of the Government was generous. The Premier
promised $2,800,000 over a two-year period, of which $1,000,000 would
be charged without interest against the Endowment Lands. He spoke of a possible issue, in two years' time, of "land bonds" for $10,000,000.
With budget difficulties settled, for the time being, the Board turned to the
business of a site and buildings. Following up a suggestion of the judges in the
University plans competition, the President and Thornton Sharp, University
architect, were sent to inspect the campus arrangements in certain Canadian and
American universities. As a result of their report the decision was made to get
additional expert advice on the general design of the U.B.C. campus and on the
related question of the location of the Agriculture Faculty, before erecting any
buildings. Three consultants were appointed to study, with the University architects, the problems of buildings and grounds. These men were: Dr. Thomas
H. Mawson, city planner and landscape artist of London, England; Warren
Powers Laird, Professor and Head, School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania and Advisory Architect to the University of Wisconsin; and Richard J.
Durley, late Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University. Dr. C. C. James, Commissioner of Dominion Agricultural
Instruction, was engaged to examine the question of where the Faculty of Agriculture should be located. Both reports were submitted in mid-November, 1913.
The report of the Commission on buildings and landscaping was long and detailed. Their general design was for a university "comparable in the range and
magnitude of its activities to the seats of learning of any country in the world."
Their plans and drawings were approved by the Board of Governors and have
given continued guidance to the development of the campus ever since.
Dr. James, in his report, strongly recommended that agricultural study, both
lectures and field work, be closely associated with the University, and urged the
need for 200 more acres at Point Grey for this purpose. He even suggested that
agricultural teaching be abandoned unless it could be done under such condi-
47 Financial Stringency
tions. The Board of Governors was impressed by this report and set about to have
it implemented. So began what proved to be a long struggle for more agricultural
land at the University site. President Wesbrook, to begin with, seems to have
shared Dr. Young's views that the Faculty of Agriculture might well be established at Colony Farm; in fact, the five-year budget, presented earlier that year,
provided for the erection of the Agriculture Faculty buildings at Coquitlam. To
the Board of Governors, who met with the Premier and Cabinet in December to
press the case for agricultural teaching at Point Grey, Premier McBride, supporting his Minister of Education, wrote that the Government was "unable to give
the increased area of land asked for, considering the generous provision already
made by the Province for the purpose of instituting the University." He felt that
the University would have "no untoward difficulty" in commencing instructional
work in agriculture with the use of Colony Farm. The Board renewed its request,
asking for a lease, instead of a grant, of 200 acres, but the matter remained unsettled.
Before the 1914 session of the Legislature met early in the year, both the
Premier and Dr. Young spoke in glowing terms of the University to which special
attention was to be given by the Government. "The buildings," the Premier said,
"would be second to none on the Continent." To the Annual Convention of the
Farmers' Institute in January he promised that the University would have an
Agricultural College "to take care of our young men and women who intend to
take up the industry, instead of allowing them to go to Guelph, Winnipeg or
across the line." The Minister of Education predicted an enrolment of 1,000 at
the first session. Sir Richard expected from "1,500 to 2,000 students" within
three years. But the shadows of the Government's financial problems were already lengthening: in 1913 the Provincial Treasury had a deficit of nearly
$3,000,000; in 1914 it was over $5,000,000. And the University budget
had to be pruned substantially in the 1914 appropriations. Even so, the Premier
generously yielded to the urgent requests of the Board of Governors and promised
a grant of $500,000 with $1,000,000 to be expected in a year's time. It was
now March, 1914, and President Wesbrook drew up a budget on the basis
of a little over $1,500,000 to carry through to September 1916. The current
year's appropriation of $500,000 would be used for the erection of the Science
Building at Point Grey. Some thought was given for the first time also to the
possibility of holding some classes for one year in the quarters of McGill College
at Fairview. The Premier had promised that the Government would bear the
cost of temporary quarters which might be required until the permanent buildings
were ready. The way was now clear for action and, in June, 1914, the Board of
Governors called for tenders for the Science Building.
48 War : Final Efforts to Move to Point Qrey
It was too late. The storm-clouds of World War I were already gathering to
break two months later. For five years, Dr. Young had waged a battle in the
Cabinet to establish a provincial university in a home worthy of its high purposes
and where its function, as a servant of the state, could be adequately discharged.
Dr. Wesbrook had worked with careful, unremitting energy toward this end during his first year of office as President. Now, when success was in sight, the grim
spectre of war intervened and put an end to their endeavours. On August
13, after consultation with the Government, the Board of Governors returned
unopened the seven tenders submitted by the construction companies. It was
agreed, however, that a start might be made on the work at the Point Grey site.
At the end of August, the contract was awarded for the excavation and concrete
frame-work of the Science Building, and operations commenced early in September. The Board still did not despair of moving the University to Point Grey, after
not more than a year at Fairview. An examination was made in October of the
University Endowment Lands in the hope that they might provide a way out of
the financial impasse. Dr. L. S. Klinck, Professor of Cereal Husbandry at Mac-
donald College, McGill University, had been appointed Dean of Agriculture.
He had given assistance and advice to the President during the summer in the
problem of locating the Faculty of Agriculture. He was now commissioned by
the University Board to make a survey of some of the Endowment Lands. Dean
Klinck's reports on 100,000 acres in the Chilcotin country, and on other areas
which he either examined or on which he received reports from informed sources,
revealed the discouraging fact that significant revenues could not be expected from
these lands in the near future.
In December, the President began to prepare his first war-time budget. The
Premier told him of the critical financial situation of the Province and urged him
"to curtail expenditures at every point." In the face of an empty Provincial Treasury it was useless to argue that the University had so far cost a total of only
$204,067.69 and that out of its second annual appropriation of $500,000 it had
received only $ 100,000, of which it still had on hand almost $25,000. Without
knowing the amount which the Government was prepared to spend on the
University, in 1915-16, Dr. Wesbrook presented alternate budgets, both of
which visualized the move to Point Grey in 1916, and the completion of the
Science Building, at least, of the permanent buildings. The lesser of the two
budgets was for an expenditure of $996,540. The response from Victoria was
received on December 31, 1914, in a telegram from the Premier: the Government could do no more than pay for the completing of the concrete frame of the
Science Building, and for maintenance of the University in McGill University
College at Fairview. The Premier did not yet state what amount would be avail-
49 Decision to Remain at Fairview
able for the University session 1915 - 16. President Wesbrook's Board unanimously agreed with him "that a first-class institution cannot be inaugurated and
maintained for more than one year in the quarters now occupied by McGill
University College." In a last despairing effort the President prepared a plan
which would establish the University at Point Grey at once, i.e., in September,
1915, in temporary wooden buildings erected during the summer for Arts,
Applied Science, Agriculture, Library, Administration, and including a cafeteria.
The total cost would be slightly over $ 100,000; the plan would involve a budget
of $409,770.35, in addition to the balance of the 1914 appropriation.
A committee of the Board, with the President, met with the Premier and
Cabinet for a final discussion on January 15, 1915. Sir Richard expressed his
admiration for the efforts of Dr. Wesbrook and the Board of Governors but stated
that, on account of the War,
the grants . . . would have to be abandoned for the present and the whole effort of
the Government and the Board of Governors of the University would be directed
towards keeping the original scheme intact, pending the return of happier times.
This was the end. The President was now informed that the Government estimates would contain an appropriation of $175,000 for 1915 - 16, to cover Arts
and Engineering courses to be given in the McGill University College buildings.
Dr. Wesbrook prepared his sixth and last budget for that year to come within this
amount. The University would offer Fourth Year work in Arts and, possibly,
Third Year work in certain branches of Engineering, including Mining. The
teaching staff would be obtained by fusing members of the McGill College staff
with those engaged by President Wesbrook.
The vain effort during the years 1908-1915 to bring the University to its
destined home at Point Grey was over. The effort and its result bring to mind the
words of the Roman poet, Horace: parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus
(the mountains labour; a funny little mouse is born). And for 10 years the
skeleton of the Science Building stood, summer and winter, to the weather, as a
gaunt reminder of the futile but gallant labours of two practical men of vision,
Henry Esson Young and Frank Fairchild Wesbrook. It remained for others to
clothe the skeleton with granite and mortar.
More important than buildings in the life and achievement of the University
was the selection of a competent staff, which became one of the early tasks facing
Dr. Wesbrook, after he became President. McGill University College might
supply a nucleus of the University staff when the change-over took place, but the
increase in the number of Faculties and in the number and range of courses to be
given made it necessary to find men to fill the many new posts to be created by the
University. At the end of December, 1913, Dr. Wesbrook was sent for three
5° President Wesbrook Chooses his Staff
months to survey the university field in Eastern Canada, the United States and
the United Kingdom. His recommendations on his return led to the appointment
in the summer of 1914 of four men who were to exercise a large influence on the
life of U.B.C, viz., L. S. Klinck, Dean of Agriculture, R. W. Brock, Dean of
Applied Science, Douglas Mcintosh, Professor and Head of the Department of
Chemistry and H. Ashton, Assistant Professor of French. At the time of his
appointment, Brock was Director of the Canadian Geological Survey and Deputy
Minister of Mines in Ottawa; Mcintosh was Associate Professor of Chemistry at
McGill; Ashton, a distinguished French Scholar, member of Gonville and Caius
College, Cambridge, was a Lecturer at Birmingham University. Howard Barnes,
Professor of Physics, on account of war duties did not take up his appointment
and later decided to remain at McGill University. H. R. Fairclough, Professor
and Head of Classics, could not secure his release from Stanford University. J. T.
Gerould, Librarian of the University of Minnesota, was engaged to purchase
books for the University Library. After obtaining about 20,000 volumes in the
United Kingdom and France, he arrived in Leipsic, Germany, on August 3,
1914. On the advice of his bookseller there, he tried to leave the country because
of the war situation, but was forcibly detained for three weeks as a spy. Incriminating evidence, adduced by the German police as sufficient reason for his detention,
was a plan of the University at Point Grey which was found in his belongings!
The outbreak of war on August 4 created a sense of apprehension and urgency
regarding staff appointments, and, on August 1 o, four senior members of McGill
College staff were selected by the Board of Governors, viz., G. E. Robinson as
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Registrar, J. G. Davidson as Associate
Professor of Physics, Lemuel Robertson as Assistant Professor of Classics and
Henri Chodat as Assistant Professor of Modern Languages. After another trip to
Eastern Canada and the United States in the spring of 1915, Dr. Wesbrook
secured the services of E. H. Archibald as Assistant Professor of Chemistry and
of S. Mack Eastman as Assistant Professor of History. On July 5, 1915, the
Board of Governors received and accepted the President's recommendations about
the disposition of the McGill staff. Lemuel Robertson was raised to the rank of
Associate Professor and given a three-year appointment. H. K. Dutcher (Civil
Engineering), J. Kaye Henry (English), L. Killam (Mechanical Engineering),
James Henderson (Philosophy), R. E. Macnaghten (Greek) were appointed
as Assistant Professors; Miss Isabel Maclnnes (Modern Languages), E. E.
Jordan (Mathematics) and H. T. Logan (Classics) were appointed as Instructors. The University staff was further enlarged by the appointments of J. M.
Turnbull as Professor of Mining; E. Howard Russell, lately of Victoria College,
as Assistant Professor of Mathematics; F. G. C. Woods as Instructor of English;
5» Victoria College Closed : Informal Meeting of Senate
E. G. Matheson as Instructor in Civil Engineering, and W. H. Powell as Special
Instructor in Field Work. H. R. Kemp was appointed Instructor in Classics in
place of H. T. Logan, who was granted leave of absence in August for overseas
service. The final staff adjustment was made in October when S. J. Schofield was
appointed in Geology in place of Brock, who had been granted leave of absence
in July for overseas service. These were the staff members to whom, as teachers,
were entrusted the fortunes of U.B.C. at its birth.
Many other matters claimed the attention of President Wesbrook and his
Board of Governors during the summer of 1915, preparatory to the opening of
the University in September. Matriculation requirements were settled, in conference with the Department of Education. The Calendar for the University of
British Columbia, first session, 1915-16, was prepared by a joint committee:
Messrs. Brock and Mcintosh of the University, and Messrs. Robertson and
Robinson of McGill College. A committee, representing the University and
the Royal Institution Boards, worked out problems connected with the taking
over of buildings and property, the fusion of staffs and the status of students.
Two new wooden buildings, of the cheapest possible construction, were erected
at the Fairview site to house the new Departments of Geology and Mining. The
Fairview shacks were complete and ready for their new occupants.
One sad event occurred as the University took over the work of the Royal
Institution. In the final planning on its shrunken budget, the University Board
of Governors found their funds were insufficient to continue classes in Victoria
College for the 70 students who were registered there in the 1914-15 session.
A fruitless appeal was made to the Government for financial assistance to enable
the Victoria School Board to carry the load, and the College was closed. This
war casualty was keenly felt at the time and the friends of the College did not
rest until its classes were resumed in affiliation with the University when the War
was over.
Of special significance in the history of the University was the informal meeting of the University Senate, held on July 15, 1915. Members of Senate had
not met since their election in August, 1912. Their membership was still below
strength. There were as yet no official Faculty representatives and High School
Principals and Assistants and the Provincial Teachers' Institute had failed to
name their representatives. Eleven members, with the Chancellor and President,
attended. It was called together by President Wesbrook to report progress in
University organization and academic planning. Senate approval was given to the
President's proposal that degrees should be granted in the spring of 1916. Difficult conditions in undergraduate life, brought about by the war, were evident in
the discussion of the University curriculum. Senate was strongly of the opinion
52 The University Coat of Arms
that compulsory military training should be required of all male students, physically fit. The Board of Governors gave its approval to this suggestion in a regulation which added that military training must be taken for at least two years. This
feature of the curriculum would offer no problem as the Canadian Officers Training Corps was already functioning in McGill College, where military instruction
had been introduced in the autumn term of 1914. The University Calendar
appeared from the press of the King's Printer, Victoria, in August and the stage
was set for the curtain to rise on the first session of U.B.C.
Reference has been made earlier to President Wesbrook's idea of the function
of a provincial university; as an educational institution it existed to serve all the
needs of all the people. It was something therefore that belonged in a real sense
to the people of the Province. This idea found symbolic expression in the official
Coat of Arms, which was proudly displayed on the front cover of the first Calendar. It consists of the Provincial Coat of Arms as a base on which rests an open
book, inscribed with the two Latin words, Tuum Est (It is Yours), a motto
chosen by Dr. Wesbrook himself. By the many generations of students who have
since passed through the University, the words have been variously interpreted
as meaning: "The University is yours; make what use of it you can;" or, alternately, with a personal, ethical content, "It's up to you." To President Wesbrook
the words, no doubt, meant all this, but also much more than this. They were
addressed not only to future generations of undergraduates but also to their
parents and to all the citizens of the Province. "The University is yours." This
is the basic idea on which the University was founded; the spirit in which it has
served the Province during its first half-century.
Methinks I find in Time's still sealed pages
Records of those whom in my Halls I see,
Fighting the fight which stretches down the ages,
And all the better for their knowing me.
a.j.a., "u.b.c. speaks.'
53 REGIME
WORLD WAR I,
Kitsilano, Capilano, Siwash, Squaw,
Kh'HowYa Tilicum, Skookum Wah!
Hyu Mamook! Mucha'Mucha, Zip!
B.C. Varsity! Rip! Rip! Rip!
V'A'R-S-LT-r — Varsity! *
r
HE CEREMONY of transition from McGill
to U.B.C. took place on the first day of lectures, Thursday, September 30, 1915. In late August and early September the
usual autumn routine of supplemental examinations in Applied Science and Arts,
and the Summer School in Surveying, had taken place. A meeting of the entire
staff had been held on September 27, which was also registration day. The
number of registered students was 379; 318 were in Arts, 61 in Applied
Science. Of the 318 registrants in Arts, 151 were women. More than half of
the students were registered in the First Year. Members of staff numbered 34;
two of these were on leave for overseas service. In addition, 56 McGill B.C.
students who had enlisted, many of whom were already in the battle line in
France, wrote the Registrar that they would attend U.B.C. on the fulfilment of
their military service. The inclusion of these overseas men brought the total
registration of the first session to 435.
The opening of the University was in a very real sense a day of triumph for
1  Famous U.B.C. "Yell." See page 72.
55 First Day of Lectures
the President and his Board and Senate. It was the culmination of many months
of patient struggle and frustrating compromise. Yet, with an unerring sense of
fitness, Dr. Wesbrook realized that, in the prevailing anxieties and stress of the
War, now entered on its second year, this was not a time for public fanfare. Staff
and students celebrated the occasion with a simple domestic ceremonial in their
modest surroundings at Fairview. No formal assembly was possible because
there was no auditorium on the "Campus" large enough to hold them all. The
students were distributed in four groups to as many classrooms. Here in turn
they were visited by the President, Professor George E. Robinson, Registrar, and
members of the staff. To each group the President read a heartening letter of good
wishes he had received from Premier Sir Richard McBride:
This being the week upon which University work in this Province begins, I take
this opportunity of writing to you and expressing my pleasure at the fact that in
educational matters we have reached another milestone of progress. I want to congratulate you upon having entered upon the actual duties for which you have for
some time been so assiduously preparing, and to congratulate the people of British
Columbia upon their at last possessing an institution that will some day rank with
the great Universities of the Continent.
It is true that you are not yet fully equipped and much has to be done to properly
habitate your students and the members of your Faculty, but a University does not
consist of a series of fine buildings for which, unfortunately, we shall have to wait
until this War is well over. I am confident that, with your present well-selected and
able Staff of Professors, very excellent results will be achieved.
I want you, on my behalf, to extend greetings to your Colleagues and welcome
the Students, many of whom will undoubtedly occupy positions of great responsibility
in British Columbia, to fit them for which is one of the objects that gave the
University being.
After this undramatic opening ceremony, staff and students repaired to then-
assigned classrooms and the first session of U.B.C. was on its way.
The story of the four years that follow in the history of the University deserves
to be written in letters of gold. It should be read and studied by every member
and friend of the University in the modern days of its prosperity and greatness.
They were for U.B.C. years of "blood, sweat and tears," of trials, which she
shared indeed with other universities, but for her, on the very threshold of her
life, the period was a supreme test of her ability to survive. That she did so was
proof enough that she deserved to survive. The story is one of a child grown adult
almost over-night. If we are interested in looking for causes, we shall find them
to be mixed and varied. The qualities of her staff and students and the heritage
of the stock from which they sprang will provide a basic reason. The three upper
years were well-nurtured in the training and discipline of McGill B.C. and were
ready to give their best to their new Alma Mater. But this fine material required
56 THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
PRKIOIHrS OFFICE VANCOUVER.   B.C. Sept.     30-1915
Dr. H.E.Young,
Minister of Education,
Victoria,B.C.
My dear Dr.Young:
I cannot let the day go by without writing a word
to yon although you have not yet returned from the north.
I knew if you had been here that we should have had a word
of greeting from you on the opening day of the University
work and so I told the students and the staff this morning.
Owing to lack of an auditorium, we thought it
better to assemble ourselves in four of the different class
rooms and the various members of the staff,with the Registrar,
Mr. Robinson^mmd.  I visited each group, giving the neoessary
detailed information concerning time table,equipment and
such other matters.
We very much appreciated the Premier's letter which
I presented and at the same time gave the students every
assurance of your deep and abiding interest in their welfare
and that of the institution.  I took the liberty of telling
them that you were in the north but that we were all in your
thoughts.
I have written a letter to Sir Riohard MoBride in
acknowledgment and have given him a statement regarding
the students.  The letter was written.earlier in the day
since which time we have had to revise the list.  I. enclose
copy of it. There are still some students to hear from. In
any event, we are all very much gratified at the good start.
We have had greetings and good wishes as Well as congratulations upon our oalendar.  It oertainly does the
Province credit, particularly its press work and general
appearance.  The text leaves much to be desired but we are
making no apologies for it since it must be apparent to
every one that there were many difficulties in issuing a
calendar before the staff was assembled.
There are thirty-one members of the staff, of whom two
are on leave. In addition we have a clerical and teohnical
staff of twelve.
There is nothing but the finest spirit of appreciation
on the part of all of the staff and students at the opportunity
Letter of President Wesbrook to the Hon. H. E. Young, Minister of Education.
The letter was written at the end of the first day of lectures, September 30, 1915. Dr.H.E.Y.-2-
whioh £8 ours, despite the state of national and world
affairs owing to this dreadful war.  I think it is quite
true that we have been more fortunate in the commencement
of our work than any of the other Canadian Universities.
I do not now recall any which started with as many students
or with as large a staff. When you see our temporary
buildings and the provision which is ours, you will agree
that we should be in a position to do good work.
The postponement of any demonstration until a more
appropriate occasion, namely when we are able to present
graduates for their degrees, will I believe, meet with the
approval of every one as it did with yours.
We hope to make quite a feature of our military work.
It seemed wiser be fore developing our plans in regard to
student affairs, academic costume and other things which
should be based upon composite faculty recommendation and
senate aotion, that we should wait until now. Our Faculty
has met and various faculty committees with various duties
have been assigned, so that we hope it will only be a
short time until we may develop University procedure.
In the matter of academic dress, it has seemed to
some of us that perhaps this year, oaps and gowns for the
women students and khaki uniforms for the men might be very
appropriate, although no final aotion has been taken. Prom
present indications there seems to be no doubt but that
the University during its first year of existence, will be
furnishing its full share of men for overseas.
I cannot let this occasion go by without assuring
you of my own personal appreciation of your ever present and
always evident help and interest.  I shall look forward to
an opportunity of seeing you soon to report more in detail
and to discuss with you the nature of the formal report
which should be made by the Board of Governors through your
office to the Government. In addition, we should be discussing very shortly so far as we can at this time, next
year'8 programme.
On behalf of the Faculty, the Senate, the Board of
Governarrsand the students, I take the liberty of extending
to you our appreciation.
I am, Sir,
Yours very truly, Wesbrook's Leadership
organization and leadership, both inside the University and before the public, if
it was to create and maintain a new institution of higher learning worthy of the
name in a world war. With high courage maintained in frequent defeat, and
undismayed by innumerable disappointments, Dr. Wesbrook supplied the necessary leadership. Round him rallied staff and students, Board and Senate, in loyal
support of their leader throughout the few remaining years of life that were
granted him.
The ideals which Dr. Wesbrook cherished for the University and the spirit
in which he faced its problems in war-time are perhaps nowhere better seen than
in the Invocation he wrote for the U.B.C. Annual, 1916, published by the first
graduating class.
We, the present student-body, Staff, Senate, Board of Governors and members
of Convocation of this infant University, may well be envied by those who have
gone before and by those who will come after. To us has come the opportunity of
making our Province, our Dominion, our Empire and our world, a better place in
which to live. May those for whom we hold these gifts in trust rise up and call us
blessed. To meet in full our obligation, may ours be a Provincial University without
provincialism. May our sympathies be so broadened and our service so extended
to all the people of the Province that we may indeed be the people's
University, whose motto is tuum est.
Such was Dr. Wesbrook's vision of our University and in her darkest hours he
never lost sight of it. He saw the numbers of his staff and students decimated by
enlistments and he longed to follow. At the end of the first session, in the early
summer of 1916, he requested to be set free to accept an appointment in the
Canadian Medical Services at the Front. When the Board of Governors expressed
the opinion by formal resolution that his services were "imperatively required
here," he loyally accepted their view and threw himself with abandon into his
official duties. Under his inspiration, the University was in the forefront of the
community in every activity in which its services might conceivably be useful.
He qualified as a Field Officer and assumed personal command of the University
Contingent of the Officers Training Corps. He encouraged the establishment
of short courses in vocational, agricultural and mining subjects for returned
soldiers and recommended to the Board of Governors the appointment of Staff
Instructors whenever necessary to supply such services. His ambition to expand
the educational services of the University remained constant and active and met
with some success despite the shrinkage of available funds. He himself retained
the Professorship of Bacteriology and gave a course of lectures in this subject, of
which he was an acknowledged master.
He pressed continuously for the move to Point Grey and prepared alternate
budgets for 1916 - 17 and for 1918 - 19, providing for the migration to the
59 Financial Salemate : Fairview Campus
permanent site — all to no purpose. Each year at budget time the University
was faced with a financial crisis and only succeeded in maintaining itself intact by
ruthless paring of expenses which left facilities as they were and the staff without
salary increases at a time of rising costs of living. Three staff resignations occurred
on this account. In the 1917-18 budget discussions under Liberal Premier
the Honourable H. C. Brewster, the University had to deal with a new Government, elected in November, 1916. Sir Richard McBride had resigned the
Premiership to become Agent-General for British Columbia in London. The
Conservatives, under the leadership of the Honourable W. }. Bowser, had been
overwhelmingly defeated. Mr. Brewster's Government "faced heavy commitments and a shrinking revenue: from over $12,000,000 in 1912 the revenue
had fallen to about $6,000,000 in 1916."2 The new Minister of Education,
the Honourable J. D. MacLean, encountered severe criticisms of the University
among his own party in the House of Assembly. One point of criticism was
the President's salary; another was the necessity of certain advanced courses in
Geology and Mining and proposed new courses in Forestry; still another, a drill-
hall gymnasium, petitioned for by the students. Dr. Wesbrook at once offered
$2,000 of his salary to the general University expenses of 1917-18 and ruefully
submitted to the other reductions required to meet the government appropriation.
This meant, among other things, that no Fourth Year work in Mining could yet
be offered in the Faculty of Applied Science. Even more difficult was the struggle
over the 1918-19 budget — the last to be prepared by Dr. Wesbrook —
which was presented to the Government in February 1918. In July, after prolonged negotiations through the spring and summer, a supplementary grant of
$46,000 was secured from a reluctant Government — an amount barely sufficient to relieve the critical financial condition of the University.
The urgent desire of the President to effect the move to Point Grey is readily
understood when it is remembered that the work of the University was being
carried on during these years in surroundings which were inadequate to meet the
growing needs of the University. In the Arts Building, constructed as an adjunct
to the Vancouver General Hospital, were accommodated the President's office
and other administrative offices, Faculty offices, lecture rooms, students' reading room, and the Library. The other buildings, four in number, as described
in an earlier chapter, were cheaply-built, temporary structures. The entire group
were crowded together in a small space which could scarcely be dignified with
the name of Campus. Its inadequacies can perhaps be better understood from the
President's account of what it lacked of facilities regarded as normal in any of the
older universities.
2 F. W. Howay: British Columbia, The Making of a Province, p. 256.
60 Improvement : Faculty Organization
The students have no recreation or playgrounds, no gymnasium facilities, no
assembly or examination hall capable of housing more than one hundred and fifty
people, no common room or study room, no adequate locker space, and the present
sanitary arrangements render the University culpable from the public health standpoint.
The Library, as a result of the energy and enterprise of Mr. Gerould in the
summer of 1914, consisted of 22,000 bound volumes and about 7,000 pamphlets, and was rapidly made available for the use of students in its cramped
quarters by the Acting-Librarian and Cataloguer, John Ridington. The actual
shortage of accommodation was met to some extent, for the period of the War,
by alterations made in the summer of 1916 to the Mining, Science and Arts
Buildings, and by the erection of a new Chemistry Building and a new Assembly
Hall and lecture rooms, X, Y and Z, adjoining the Arts Building—all constructed of wood at minimum cost. Clearing of agricultural experimental plots
at Point Grey, under the supervision of Dean Klinck, had produced some 80
acres of cultivated land by the end of this year, but the separation of offices and
classrooms from field work areas was, and continued to be, a real hardship for
the agricultural staff and students.
The machinery of University organization received a thorough testing under
Wesbrook's regime. Here and there squeaks developed which required to be
lubricated by minor amendments to the University Act. Sensible administrative
procedures discovered few serious flaws. In internal arrangements, the President
believed in and applied the unitary principle of government. The University was
a whole of parts: Departments and Faculties existed to facilitate administration.
In performing their function they should work together as closely as possible.
Supporting this view, he wrote to his friend Walter Murray, President of Saskatchewan University, in October 1916:
So far as I can, I shall guard against the too strict autonomy of the different
Faculties, which should be regarded as general Faculty Committees established to
facilitate the transaction of business. Anything which divides Faculties too definitely
into groups which have a tendency to grow away from each other is to be discouraged.
In conformity with this principle, the three constituted Faculties of Arts, Applied
Science and Agriculture were convened as one Faculty for the conduct of all
business. To begin with, membership was confined to Deans and Heads or Acting-Heads of Departments. This restriction, apart from being too exclusive, was
soon found to place too heavy a burden of committee work on Deans and Heads,
and in 1917 Faculty membership was enlarged to include all staff members down
to the rank of Instructors with annual, as opposed to sessional, appointment.
In the meantime, the students themselves had been actively engaged with the
problems of organization. Following the pattern of the older universities, the
61 A.M.S. Constitution
University Act of 1908 treated the relationship of students to University as
mainly one of discipline, having to do with "the conduct of all students in their
respective Faculties in respect to all matters arising or occurring in or upon such
buildings and grounds as shall be assigned for their separate use."3 In such matters,
and with regard to "all applications and ceremonials by students and others in
connection with their respective Faculties," jurisdiction and decisions were in the
power of Faculties, subject to appeal to Senate. The Act reflected the prevailing
paternal attitude of universities toward Faculty-student relations, and took no
account of important developments already taking place in the area of student
government. The U.B.C. Calendar for the session of 1915-16 has this notice
under the heading of Special Fees:
In the interest of the student body and by the authority of the Board of Governors
of the University, $2.00 additional will be exacted from all students for the support
of the Student Activities Association.
The reference is, of course, to the Alma Mater Society and to the familiar Alma
Mater fee. The A.M.S. came into being at a meeting of the student body held
early in the first term, in 1915. Sherwood Lett was elected President by
acclamation, as he was similarly elected Chancellor in 1951. When he withdrew from the University a few weeks later, to proceed to active service, he was
succeeded in the office of A.M.S. President by J. E. (Eddie) Mulhern. Because
of the outstanding services which the A.M.S. has rendered to the University, the
account of its origin has more than a passing interest. The story, entitled Student
Self'Qovernment, was contributed by Eddie Mulhern to the U.B.C. Annual,
1916, and is, in part, as follows:
At the last meeting of the Alma Mater Executive (of McGill B.C.) a committee of three was appointed to act with a Faculty representative in drawing up a
constitution for the student body of the new University. Miss E. Story*, Mr.
Sherwood Lett, Mr. J. E. Mulhern and Professor H. T. Logan worked throughout
the Summer (of 1915), drafting a constitution of the Alma Mater Society of the
University of British Columbia, which was adopted provisionally till the beginning
of the fall term, 1916. This embodies a great departure from the old system (of
McGill B.C.) and provides for almost complete self-government.
The administrative body is known as the Students' Council, which exercises
supervision over all the interests of the students and also acts as a disciplinary body,
though this latter duty will probably be handed over to a new body, the Students'
Court, which is still occupying the attention of the powers that be. The Students'
Council as it exits now consists of eight members: the President of the Alma Mater
3 An Act to Establish and Incorporate a University for the Province of British Columbia;
Section 83; Sub-Sections (f), (g) and (h).
4 Later Mrs. Sherwood Lett, B.A. '17, M.A. '26, LL.D. 1958.
62 1
ccarriTUTTOH of A.ia\ matef BooBfj.
Clnnse 1.
Tbe
naae of the Society ehall be "THK UUK K4TKF rocr*T
OF !
rHK uir?KTFiTT 6? bpitish commbih."
Clause £.
Tho
Compooition of the Sooiety:-
(aj  The rooiety ehall he eonposra of Ordinnry and
Honornry Kerabere.
(b) Ordinary UoaberB ehall oorsprioe all registered
(students and graduates of th»   University,
(o) Honorary Members phill oooprise all neBters of,
tit   Faculty.
Clause 3.
the
Object of the Society shall be
to exercise supervision oror the Literary,  Athletic,
Social, Financial and other interests of the roolcty.
Clan oc 4.
Meetings of the society. . "
fa) A foral-annual Heetine will bo held within the first
ten days of the  fill 'tern,  at rhloh the Trennurer
vdll nake a flnaaclal statenont, and the Presidents
of the Alrsa Mater and affiliated Fooiotlrs will
■
give an outline of the activities of tho footety.
(b) The annual meeting will-be held In the last reek
of Maroh at whloh the reports of each affiliated
organisation will be presented and passed upon.
{«) Fpeolal moetines may }?e onllpd at nay tins by the
rrr.vl.ient on thv request of tho Students' Council
or <m tho written r^tvcst of trronty mentere of
t
the roolcty.
(d)  Only Ordinary Heaborp may vote at neetinpa of the
rooictr.    Honorary Henbera say not vote but »ay
take part la all dloouoeions.
1
'&.
i
Page one of the first Alma Mater Society Constitution, drafted in the summer of 1915.
(From copy in possession of Mrs. Sherwood Lett.) Keenness of Senate
as ex officio chairman of the Council; the Presidents of the three Undergraduate
Societies, Arts Women's, Arts Men's, and Science Men's; the Presidents of the Men's
Literary and Women's Literary Societies, and the Presidents of the Men's Athletic
and Women's Athletic Associations. These members represent the students and the
principal activities. The only additions that will be made to the Council are the
Presidents of other Undergraduate Societies, as Law, Medicine or Agriculture.
While all student organisations are affiliated with the Alma Mater Society and
consequently under the control of the Students' Council, still each organisation looks
after its own especial affairs through its own especial executive which is elected by
the members of that organisation . . .
Although the experiment of the first year has proved a decided success and the
assurance that it will be carried further gives us great pleasure ... it is of course
impossible to have a smoothly-running machine in one or even two years, but it is
sincerely hoped by those who have been here to see the beginning that student life in
all its aspects will keep pace with the development prophesied by all for our beloved
Alma Mater.
It is clear that, from its very inception, the U.B.C. Alma Mater Society aimed
at independence of higher authority, and certain it is that it has attained such
independence to a greater degree than is the case with most modern universities.
The University Senate was duly organized at its first regular meeting which was
held on February 16, 1916. Faculty had meanwhile completed its own Senate
membership with the election of two representatives each from Arts, Applied
Science and Agriculture. Keen interest was shown in the large agenda which confronted the members of whom 25 of a total of 34 were in attendance. In addition
to the formal organization of Senate, the business included an application for affiliation from the Anglican Theological College and from Westminster Hall, the
Theological College of the Presbyterian Church. Senate was doubtful what action
to take, and the President was asked to obtain legal advice. In consequence, the
University Act was amended giving Senate power, subject to the Board's approval,
to pass statutes of affiliation with "any incorporated Theological College in the
Province." There were also to be considered by Senate resolutions from the
Faculties dealing with courses and calendar for the 1916-17 session. Two adjourned meetings were required to complete the agenda. Even the financial interests of the University were not overlooked and a resolution was passed requesting
the Government to extend, for a further three years, the period for selection of
the University Endowment Land and urging expeditious action in the selection.
The Land Endowment Act of 1907 was so amended, for the fourth time, in
May 1916. The deep interest in the affairs of the University displayed by Senate
at this first meeting and the obvious determination of its members to see to it that
Senate discharge its function as an important component of the U.B.C. Constitution have continued to be notable characteristics of this body. At times they have
proved irritating or embarrassing to other elements of the administrative machinery.
64 New Board Members, Chancellor and Senators
On the whole the faithfulness of Senate in fulfilling its duties as the guardian of
academic interests has been a prime source of strength to the University.
In 1917 important changes occurred in the personnel of the Board of Governors. Two new members were appointed who were destined to give long and
distinguished service to the University: they were the Honourable Mr. Justice
Denis Murphy and Mrs. Evlyn F. K. Farris, the first woman member of the
Board and already a member of the Senate, elected at the first meeting of Convocation in 1912. Mr. Justice Murphy brought to the deliberations of the Board a
wide knowledge of the Province, gleaned as a pioneer citizen and as a representative, for several years, of the constituency of Cariboo in the Provincial Legislature.
For a brief period in 1902 he had held the Portfolio of Provincial Secretary. His
ripe wisdom and fine balance of judgment were to prove of inestimable value to
his colleagues. Mrs. Farris, a graduate of Mount Allison University, founder
of the Vancouver University Women's Club, possessed a lifelong interest in
higher education whose cause she has served with steadfast devotion, both in
the University and in the community at large.
Convocation elections, held in April 1918, gave the University a new Chancellor. The Honourable F. Carter-Cotton, Chancellor of McGill University
College during the nine years of its existence and elected first Chancellor of
U.B.C. in 1912, now expressed his wish to retire from the office. Members of
Convocation chose as his successor R. E. McKechnie, a graduate in Medicine as
Holmes Gold Medallist at McGill in 1890, who had done post-graduate study in
Vienna. For 25 years he had practised medicine in British Columbia, at first in
Nanaimo, as surgeon for the New Vancouver Coal Company, and, since 1903,
in Vancouver where he had won an enviable reputation among his fellow practitioners. He was appointed to the first U.B.C. Board of Governors in 1914 and
re-appointed in 1917. Thus began a connection with the University which continued unbroken until his death in 1944. To the teaching staff and to generations of students, his familiar greying figure, presiding as Chancellor year after
year over Congregation, became almost an institution, a veritable living part of
the recurring ceremonial, held in universal esteem and affection.
Members of Convocation also elected 15 of their own number to the University Senate. Twenty-nine candidates were nominated. This election is especially
notable because for the first time graduates of U.B.C. exercised their franchise
and because the first U.B.C. graduate5, Miss Shirley P. Clement, b.a. '17, was
elected as a member of Senate. In the summer of 1917, Convocation had been
busy, setting its own house in order in preparation for the elections. Rules of procedure were adopted providing for the annual meeting to be held on the evening
5 Later Mrs. C. P. Murison.
65
ERRATUM
Page 65 (Line 13)
For Mrs. Farris, a graduate of Mount Allison
University, read Mrs. Farris, a graduate
of Acadia University, Curriculum
of Congregation and for the election of a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Council of
15 members. The Government was requested to amend the University Act in
order to validate these rules of order and to reopen the lists of Convocation until
December 31,1918. These changes in the Act were promptly made in the 1918
session of the Legislature. The amending act also authorized addition to the roll
of Convocation, from time to time, of members of the University teaching staff
whose names were submitted by the President.
The University curriculum underwent important changes in these early years.
To begin with, no teaching was undertaken in the Faculty of Agriculture. A general course entitled "The Scientific Basis of Agriculture" was given by Dean
Klinck and was open to Third and Fourth Year Arts students. The first students
in Agriculture were enrolled in 1917-18, with a Freshman Class of seven. A Second Year was added in the following session. Agricultural subjects taught were:
Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture and Poultry Husbandry; the remaining subjects in the first two years were taken in the Arts Faculty. The Applied
Science Faculty added Third Year work in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering,
Civil Engineering and Mining to the two years previously given by McGill
College. Shortage of funds prevented further additions to their curriculum during
the War, except in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, in both oi which a
Fourth Year was offered. War work was undertaken by the Faculties of Agriculture and Applied Science in the form of short course classes in vocational
subjects for returned soldiers—a foretaste of what was to come thirty years
later on a much larger scale. Abortive plans were made by the Senate and
Board in 1917-18 for the establishment of a School of Forestry. The Vancouver Board of Trade got Senate and Board of Governors' approval of its
plan for a Faculty of Commerce, contingent upon the Board of Trade raising
$60,000 to finance the enterprise. This it was unable to do and the plan fell to
the ground.
The curriculum of the four years' course for the B.A. degree was subjected
to close, critical study by the Faculty in the light of each session's experience. The
original curriculum, which was followed in the opening session, was a brave
attempt on the part of the four members of the Curriculum Committee—Dean
R. W. Brock, Lemuel Robertson, Douglas Mcintosh and the Registrar, George
E. Robinson—to provide, with the available limited staff, a broad, liberal-arts
education, free from the traditional attachment to the languages of Greece and
Rome. Latin was not made a compulsory subject for the B.A. degree—an innovation in the practice of Canadian universities.6 For the session 1915-16,
6 Sir Robert Falconer: "The Tradition of Liberal Education in Canada," Canadian
Historical Review, June, 1927.
66 Curriculum
courses were offered in: Languages (Latin, Greek, French, German); Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry); Sciences (Agriculture, Bacteriology, Chemistry, Geology and Mineralogy, Physics); History (with Economics);
Philosophy. In 1916-17 were added Biology, Economics (taught in its own
Department), and a course in Spanish. The 1915-16 curriculum offered students
a choice of three patterns for the B.A. course, viz: Classical, based on Latin
and Greek; Modern, based on French and German; or Scientific, based on the
Sciences and Mathematics. All students were required to take Mathematics and
Physics in their First Year. Three years of work in English were obligatory for
all. Five full lecture courses constituted a complete First Year; four courses, a
Second Year; seven courses, the Third and Fourth Years, which were treated
as a unit. To avoid over-specialization, students in the Scientific course were
obliged, in the Third and Fourth Years, to choose at least one subject other than
scientific; Classical and Modern students, similarly, had to select a subject from
the scientific group. A six-year double course was offered in the Faculties of Arts
and Applied Science, leading to the degrees of B.A. and B.Sc.
For the 1916-17 session, the three-pattern-course plan was dropped and the
foundations laid for the subsequent Pass Degree curriculum. The First Year
course, comprising six subjects, was made almost uniform for all students—English, History, Mathematics, Physics and a choice of two subjects from Chemistry,
French, German, Latin, Greek. In the other years, there was a broad choice of
subjects. The Second Year consisted of four subjects, which must include English
and a language, other than English, taken in the First Year. The other two subjects were selective. The unit system of evaluating subject courses now made its
appearance for the first time, a unit being one hour-long lecture or a laboratory
period of not less than two or more than three hours in length. Full Third and
Fourth Year courses were made to consist of 15 units each, with free choice of
subjects, except that English Composition remained compulsory and one 3-unit
subject taken in the Third Year must be continued in the final year. Further modifications of the curriculum were made by Faculty during the sessions 1916-17
and 1917-18. The chief of these extended the unit system to the First and Second Years. Honours Courses had not yet been introduced but were foreshadowed
by the provision of Distinction Courses in the first two years, and continuation
courses in the other two years. A Distinction Course consisted of a Pass Course
of three units and a supplementary course of one unit. Distinction Courses were
necessary for first-class standing in any subject; all First and Second Year students
had to take at least two Distinction Courses and three Pass Courses—a minimum
of 17 units. In the Third and Fourth Years a total of at least 8 units must be
included of a subject taken in the Second Year. Generous provisions were made
67 Curriculum : C.O.T.C. : Registration
for the academic standing of enlisted students, not only in all University years
but also in the matriculation class of any high school in British Columbia.
Graduate study was not overlooked. Already, in November 1915, Faculty
adopted the report of a committee, of which Dean Klinck was chairman, giving
procedures of study for the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science,
which set the pattern of graduate study for many years to come.
The introduction of course credits, both for graduate and post-graduate degrees, calculated by mathematical units of value instead of by lecture courses and
subjects, reveals the influence of staff members who had received an important
part of their education in universities in the United States. An element of compromise in the structural arrangement and evaluation of undergraduate courses,
arrived at with members of staff whose educational experience had been in the
universities of Canada or the United Kingdom, is seen in the retention of the
system of Honours and Pass Courses. As the years have passed the growing
emphasis on graduate studies and graduate degrees is a reflection of the increasing preponderance of North American and Continental influence in educational
thinking and practice.
A prominent feature of the curriculum in these war years at the University
was the work of the Canadian Officers Training Corps. A contingent of the
C.O.T.C. had been organized in McGill College, in the autumn of 1914, by
Captain E. E. Jordan (Mathematics) and Lieutenant H. T. Logan (Classics)
of the M.B.C. staff with such assistance as could be placed at disposal of the
Corps by the over-worked Headquarters of the 23rd Infantry Brigade in Vancouver. The McGill College students who enlisted for overseas service in the
spring and summer of 1915 had received their initial training as members of this
unit. President Wesbrook assumed command of the C.O.T.C. Contingent in the
session 1915-16. Under U.B.C. regulations, as we have already seen, military
training in the C.O.T.C. was made compulsory for all male students during two
University sessions. The work, comprising a minimum of two hours' drill and
lectures per week, carried no academic credit. Certificates of proficiency were
granted to all who qualified; "A" Certificate for two years' efficiency service with
the Corps, "B" Certificates for three years or more. The Certificate entitled the
holder to officer rank in the Canadian Militia.
Undergraduate enrolment in the University fluctuated from year to year due
to war conditions. Ten fewer students were in attendance during 1916-17 than
in the first year, with 38 fewer men and 28 more women. Registration included
nine returned soldier students, one of whom, Merrill Des Brisay, having enlisted
with the first U.B.C. overseas detachment, had been wounded at Sanctuary
Wood and was now invalided out of the Army. He graduated with the Class of
68 New Appointments to Faculty
1917. In the session 1917-18, the total registration was 416, of whom 371
were in Arts, 38 in Applied Science and 7 in Agriculture. The 200 women
enrolled in Arts outnumbered the men for the first time. Numbers showed a substantial increase in the session 1918-19, totalling 538, made up of 467 in Arts,
54 in Applied Science and 17 in Agriculture. Including the veterans and others
taking short courses given by the University, the registration showed a total this
year of 917.
These early years saw numerous new appointments to the staff, in addition to
those who had carried the teaching load for the first session, 1915-16. Subsequent appointments in the war years included others whose names became
familiar to generations of students: Alden F. Barss (Horticulture), Theodore H.
Boggs (Economics), Paul A. Boving (Agronomy), A. F. B. Clark (French),
Robert H. Clark (Chemistry), F. M. Clement (Horticulture), John Davidson
(Biology), Percy H. Elliott and T. C. Hebb (Physics), Andrew H. Hutchinson (Biology), Harry M. King (Animal Husbandry), R. H. Mullin (Bacteriology), Wilfrid Sadler (Dairying), Walter N. Sage (History), Garnet G.
Sedgewick (English), Otis J. Todd (Classics) and W. L. Uglow (Geology).
Many of these men, whose average age was in the early thirties, came from careers
of promise elsewhere. Theodore Boggs, graduate of Acadia and Yale, was Assistant Professor of Economics in Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Boving, a
graduate of Malmo, Sweden, was a member of the Faculty of Macdonald College, McGill's agricultural affiliate; F. M. Clement, of Guelph, was Director
of Vineland Experimental Station in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario; Sedgewick, of Dalhousie and Harvard, had practised his brilliant talents as a teacher in
the schools of his native Nova Scotia and British Columbia and later as Assistant
Professor in Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Their names complete
the roll of Wesbrook's men who laid the foundations of scholarship on which the
University rests today.
Faculty and undergraduate life was dominated by the War which, in one way
or another, influenced the work of all Faculties and entered into the routines of
every member of the University. Dr. Wesbrook did everything possible to see
to it that the University participated to the full in the war effort. For him the War
created, for the University, "conceived in prosperity . . . born at the time of the
world's greatest tragedy ... the opportunity of learning the fundamental lesson of
service to humanity."7 From the very outset, in 1916, vocational training classes
for returned soldiers were organized and conducted by members of the staff. In
the session 1918-19 there were 379 veterans and others registered in short
courses which included instruction in General Agricultural Problems, Horticul-
7 Dr. Wesbrook's Invocation in U.B.C. Annual, 1916.
69 War Activities : 196th Battalion
ture, Fruit Growing, Agronomy and Animal Husbandry. Short courses were also
given in Mining and Prospecting, Assaying, and Mechanical Engineering for the
training of technicians. Many members of the staff took military training in the
C.O.T.C. along with the men students; H. Ashton (French) and Paul Boving
(Agronomy) accepted commissions in the Corps. Student enlistments depleted
the University classes. Five members of the staff went overseas. By the War's end
no fewer than 697 members of the University or of McGill B.C. had joined the
forces, of whom 78 had made the supreme sacrifice. These men had received a
total of 131 decorations and awards including four D.S.O.'s, 47 M.C.'s, three
D.F.C.'s, one D.C.M., and 29 M.M.'s. As the Honour Roll grew, it cast a
shadow of sorrow, tinged with pride, over the whole University. A branch of
the Canadian Red Cross Society was organized with Miss Isabel Maclnnes as
President and women undergraduates worked strenuously at the preparation and
despatch of parcels for the boys overseas. Wives of the Faculty took part in this
activity. Women students, in their keenness, requested permission to knit for the
soldiers in lecture periods. A small newspaper containing University tidbits of
news was printed specially for the U.B.C. men at the front.
The majority of McGill B.C. men who had enlisted in 1915 were recruited
by the McGill University Companies in Montreal for service with the Princess
Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battalion. In December 1915 was formed the
plan to create a battalion composed of students from the four Western universities. The plan, first devised by the Manitoba Officers' Training Corps, was
approved by the four University Presidents and their recommendation was agreed
to by the Minister of Militia. So came into being the 196th Western Universities
Battalion, with its four companies to be supplied by the Universities of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Saskatchewan arranged that one
of the Platoons of its Company would be recruited by Brandon College. U.B.C.
undertook to raise the personnel of D Company. Dean R. W. Brock was appointed Senior Major and Second-in-Command of the Battalion: D Company
was placed under the command of Captain O. E. LeRoy, a former colleague of
Brock's in the Canadian Geological Survey, Ottawa. This plan to keep them
together in their service proved popular with undergraduates in all four universities, and especially in U.B.C. D Company reached the training grounds at
Camp Hughes, in the summer of 1916, with a strength of 239 all ranks. Before
it left for overseas in November, its numbers had risen to 300, making it the
largest of the four Companies. Among the Officers of the Company were Stuart J.
Schofield, Professor of Geology and Harry F. G. Letson, who, having completed
the Second Year of Applied Science at U.B.C, had received his commission in
August through the C.O.T.C. The Company included in its strength many other
70 Student Life
leading students of the University. On its arrival in England, to the great disappointment of its members, the Battalion was sent to the 19th Reserve to be broken
up and used as reinforcements. Some of the officers and very many of the men
went to the 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion and to other Western units. Captain LeRoy met his death in October 1917, at Passchendaele, fighting with the
46th Battalion. Dean Brock, after serving for a time as Director of the Khaki
College at Seaford, Sussex, was posted to the British Army in Palestine as Geological Officer. A reinforcing Platoon of one officer and 50 other ranks was
recruited at the University during the session 1916-17 and went overseas in
November 1917. The Platoon was under the command of Lieutenant (formerly Captain, C.O.T.C.) E. E. Jordan (Mathematics). S. Mack Eastman
(History) and Thorleif Larsen (later a member of the Department of English) went overseas with the reinforcing Platoon. Most of these men went to
the 7th and 29th Battalions. Lieutenant Jordan was posted for duty to the Khaki
College, Seaford.
In spite of the disorganizing effect of war conditions, student life at U.B.C.
appears in other respects to have pursued a remarkably normal course. There was
much creative work to be done in a new university in the process of establishing
its own character and individuality. The student organizations, clubs, societies,
traditions inherited from McGill College had to be converted to the more complex needs and demands of a university with three faculties. These undergraduate problems were faced conscientiously and with enthusiasm by student leaders,
with the sympathetic help of the Faculty. University publications were developed
gradually but with studious care. The Senior Class of 1916, following a precedent set by McGill B.C., produced an Annual of over 100 pages which might
serve as a model for such publications. The editor of this forerunner of the Totem
of later years, who had spent three years as a student of M.B.C. and only his final
year in U.B.C, wrote gallantly, as he laid down his pen:
That we should be writing at once a salutation to a new University and our own
requiem seems incongruous. But we leave these halls with one thought to gladden
us: the U.B.C. is truly our Alma Mater, for we have aided in laying her traditions
and defending her youth.
Each succeeding graduating class since 1916 has published an Annual (or
Totem), with the exception of the classes of 1943 and 1944, which refrained
from doing so because of shortages of materials in World War II.
In December, 1916, the first undergraduate journal made its appearance in the
form of a 40-page monthly, named Anonymous. The name of Uhicee was given
to the third number, February, 1917, with this key to its pronunciation:
Qet used to the name as soon as you can,
And say it correct like a good little man;
71 Publications : Sports : Clubs
If you can say 'Odyssey' rightly and good,
You'll quickly say 'Ubicee' just as you should.
In the following session, the Ubicee was replaced by an 8-page weekly, bearing the same name but with the familiar spelling, Ubyssey. Through the open
windows of these publications we see the student body at work and at play. We
read the usual complaints of "lack of college spirit;" of the "feeble demonstrations
of the Rooters' Club at most of the games," despite the winning play of the Varsity
Rugby teams against "Rowing Club," "Seaforths," and other opponents. U.B.C.
"yells" began to appear early. The favourite of these, which retained its popularity
through three decades, was the famous "Kitsilano," composed by Art Lord with
the assistance of Joe Johannson. It was printed in the 1916 Annual. The first
three lines are a medley of local Indian place names and words from the Chinook
jargon:
Kitsilano, Capilano, Siwash, Squaw,
Kh'HoW'Ya Tilicum, Skookum Wah!
Hyu Mamook! Mucha'Mucha, Zip!
B.C. Varsity! Rip! Rip! Rip!
V-A-R-S-I-T-Y — Varsity!
In athletics, in addition to rugby, Varsity fielded men's teams in basketball and
ice hockey, and women's teams in basketball and in both ice and grass hockey.
New undergraduate clubs, sponsored by members of staff, began to appear. The
University Players' Club, under the inspired direction of Frederic G. C. Wood,
the Glee Club, and Orchestra, directed by E. Howard Russell, Le Cercle Fran-
cais, fostered by Dr. Ashton, and the Chemistry Society, by Douglas Mcintosh,
were early on the scene, followed by the Musical Society, the Junior Economics
Discussion Club, aided by Theodore Boggs, and the Wireless Society. The
Y.W.C.A. and Y.M.C.A. had active University branches. The Men's and
Women's Literary Societies were organized separately under the Alma Mater
Society, and carried out ambitious programmes of inter-class and extra-mural
debates, public-speaking contests, lectures, etc. On March 3, 1916, was held
the first inter-collegiate debate between U.B.C. and the University of Washington, Seattle. Social events at the University, which were the responsibility of
the Undergraduate Societies, were severely conditioned by the War. This problem of adjustment was met squarely by the students who could not be denied
their occasions of relaxation and fun. In the 1917 Annual we read:
The Social activities of the College this year, though as numerous as ever, have
been for the most part very informal and simple. With such a number of our men
at the front and so many more going, we have not felt like doing anything on a
very large scale. Our affairs have all been held in the College itself and have
been open only to the students and their friends. This has been no detriment to
72 Influenza Epidemic : Degrees Conferred
our enjoyment of them, however, owing to the facilities for entertaining at our
disposal in the new wing of the Arts Building, and to the congeniality of the
student body as a whole.
Class parties, tea dances, freshman receptions, dances of the Arts and Applied
Science Faculties and graduation functions provided oases of gaiety. The annual
frivolities of High Jinks, an adventure in merriment invented by the Women's
Undergraduate Society, for women students only, were a standing provocation to
the curiosity of the men. Each year, on the day after High Jinks, were to be found
individuals who boasted that they had succeeded, by skilful impersonation, in
gaining entrance to the forbidden rites.
Amid this galaxy of extra-curricular activities, superimposed upon military
training and other war duties, students still found time to attend to the regular
routine of lectures, which provided not only a stimulus to study, but also, as
always, much of the materials for undergraduate humor. This routine was unexpectedly interrupted when, in the autumn of 1918, shortly after the opening
of term, the influenza epidemic reached Vancouver. So serious were its proportions that University lectures were suspended for five weeks on October 20. All
undergraduate operations, including publication of the Ubyssey, ceased. The
Auditorium and adjacent classrooms were converted into hospital wards for
influenza patients. Some of the staff and students heroically took on orderly and
nursing duties. Three students died, victims of the plague. The disruption of the
University's regular activities was borne with equanimity by staff and students.
Examinations usually held before Christmas were postponed till February and
the second term was extended two weeks. Looking back at this unhappy period
at the end of the session, the writer of the Foreword in the 1919 Annual said:
The work of all classes was much disorganised and everyone felt a little out of
poise. But it has been highly pleasing to see the mutual feeling between
the Faculty and student body in attempting to regain that which was lost, and to make
the present count for the most.
At the three war-time Congregations a total of 109 students received degrees,
one of which was conferred in Applied Science on C. A. H. Wright in 1917,
the others in Arts. Fourteen enlisted men received their degrees without examination. There were 40 graduates in 1916, 35 in 1917 and 34 in 1918. The First
Congregation took place in the ballroom of the Hotel Vancouver, situated at the
southwest corner of Georgia and Granville Streets; the other two Congregations
were held in the newly-built University Auditorium-classroom building at Fair-
view. The Ceremonies Committee worked with the President to make the First
Congregation, held on May 4, 1916, as impressive as possible. The entire
student body was invited to join in the procession which included, besides the
Graduating Class, members of Convocation, the University Faculty and Govern-
73 First Congregation
ing bodies and dignitaries of Church and State. At the head of the procession was
D Company, 196th Battalion, under command of Major R. W. Brock. Robing
rooms were provided in the Court House. From here the procession walked via
Hornby and Georgia Streets to the Hotel entrance. Every seat in the Congregation hall was occupied. Five-minute addresses were given by the Chancellor,
the Honourable F. L. Carter-Cotton; the Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable Frank Barnard; the Premier the Honourable W. J. Bowser; the Honourable Henry Esson Young and Dean R. W. Brock. The Congregation address
was delivered by Dr. H. M. Tory, then President of the University of Alberta,
who had played so large a part in establishing McGill College of British Columbia. On rising to speak on "The Value of an Education," Dr. Tory was given a
warm ovation. He "congratulated the University on the public interest evinced in
its work," and declared that he "had never seen a graduation ceremony which had
attracted such widespread attention of all classes of the community as had the first
Congregation of U.B.C. He regarded this as a most hopeful augury for the
future."8 Premier Bowser said that, although he had been a member of the Executive Council in Sir Richard McBride's Government, it was Dr. Young who had
done the most to forward the interests of the University. "Dr. Young," he said,
"was the father of the University." In expressing his congratulations and good
wishes, Dr. Young "was sure that, no matter what Government might be in control of the affairs of the Province, the University would always receive sympathetic
and generous consideration." The Governor-General's Medal, awarded to the
head of the Graduating Class, was presented by President Wesbrook to Lennox
Algernon Mills. In the evening, the Graduating Class were guests of honour at
a dance in Lester Court, given by the Alma Mater Society. The actual ceremonial
used at this first graduation has been followed, with minor changes, through all
the intervening years. It was described a few days after graduation by one of the
degree recipients as follows: "There wasn't much to the mere form of graduation.
We simply marched up in a long line one after the other; Dr. Wesbrook put the
hood over our shoulders and called out our name very loudly. Then we passed to
the Chancellor who tapped us on the head and said, 'admitto te\ then to Mr.
Robinson who gave us our diploma and then on and around to our seats."9 A
striking feature of the printed programme of Congregation was a list of 115 students and two Faculty members who had enlisted. At the 1917 Congregation
Dean Robinson read the names of 29 students who had been killed in action; the
names of 400 enlisted students were recorded on the programme—a reminder of
the growing tragedy of war. An added solemnity was given the proceedings of this
8 The Daily Province, Friday, May 5, 1916.
9 Miss Ada Vermilyea, now Mrs. A. M. Menzies, in a private letter.
74 Death of President Wesbrook
Congregation by the sudden death in graduation week of Miss Pansy Munday,
a brilliant Junior student, editor-in-chief of the monthly Ubicee, and of the 1917
Annual.
These were indeed years of sorrow and of aching hearts, however successfully
they might be concealed by a brave and cheerful countenance. For Dr. Wesbrook they were years, as well, of disappointment and futility as he strove to
bring into being at Point Grey the University of his dreams in a community which
lacked his enthusiasms and seemed at times to withhold, with indifference, the
support he had been led to expect when he accepted the post of President. Gradually his seemingly inexhaustible resources of physical strength began to fail
under the strain. After presenting his 1918-19 University budget on February 4,
1918, he fell ill and was absent from his office in the University for several weeks.
Following Congregation on May 7, he visited Eastern Canada to attend the
Conference of Canadian Universities and to interview possible appointees to the
U.B.C. staff. On his return he was again forced by illness to relinquish his duties.
Unable to attend the opening ceremony at the beginning of term, on September
25, he sent a warm letter of welcome and advice which the Acting-President,
Dean Klinck, read to the assembled students. Dr. Wesbrook's health deteriorated
rapidly and three weeks later he died at his home on October 19, 1918, three
weeks before the Armistice. The funeral took place on October 22. He was 50.
Of the many tributes to his memory one of the most touching is that which
recorded the sorrow of the University of Minnesota Medical School in the death
of their former Dean:
The men and women of the Faculty who worked with him and knew him
intimately for many years know . . . that a scientist in medicine who ranked among
the marked men of his day is gone. But they know, too, that a leader whom they
gladly followed, an administrator who directed with intelligent power the destinies
of the School, a counsellor in whom they trusted, a friend of golden days gone by
whom they loved, has passed into the Great Beyond.30
The students of U.B.C. felt they had lost a personal friend:
The breadth of the President's sympathy and his extremely lovable disposition
endeared him to everyone with whom he came in contact. He was personally greatly
interested in all the students and was an ardent supporter of student organisations.
Intensely patriotic, he took an especial and personal interest in the student-soldiers,
and kept in close touch with as many as possible.11
Resolutions were passed by Faculty, Senate and Board poignantly expressing, for
Dr. Wesbrook's University co-workers, their deep sense of loss. The Faculty
10 Minnesota Alumni Weekly, October 28, 1918.
11 Ubyssey, November 28, 1918.
75 Tributes
had found in their President a man who, they felt, understood them individually
and their work:
Perhaps nowhere did the true character of the President shine out more clearly
than at the Council-table of Faculty, and in his relations with his colleagues. Here
his ripe wisdom, sound judgment, wide outlook, and grasp of affairs were always
apparent, but still more apparent was his simple manliness, the elevation of his
moral aims, his unaffected kindness and cordiality, and his sympathy with every
right and just cause. ... He has passed away while his natural force was not abated
and his mental vision undimmed, and the image of what manner of man he was in
his strength will remain stamped on the minds of all who knew him.
The Senate resolution said, in part:
Coming amongst us with the most democratic conception of a University ... he
kept this view steadily before him and, so far as the financial depression would
admit, laid a foundation broad and deep for a University worthy of our Province. . . .
His scholarly attainment, his executive ability and his versatility of talent . . . were
devoted unreservedly to the interests of the University.
The Board of Governors had shared more intimately than any others Wesbrook's
struggles, successes and disappointments. Their resolution of sympathy read, in
part:
The members of the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia . . .
desire to express their profound sense of the great loss that the University and the
Province have sustained . . . During the too short period of his presidency much
was accomplished, and though the ideal on which his heart was set is still far from
achievement ... he always met impediments with resolute courage and disappointments with manly fortitude.
The Board went on to express their feeling of personal bereavement in the loss
of a friend and comrade as well as a leader. The resolution concluded:
Our deep sympathy goes to Mrs. Wesbrook and her daughter in this time of
sorrow. We trust that they may find some consolation in the thought of Dr. Wesbrook's service here and elsewhere to his fellow men and in the assurance that must
have come to them from many quarters that their grief is shared by all with whom he was
associated in his work.12
Dean F. H. Soward has well summed up Wesbrook's aims and achievement
and the esteem in which he was held by the community:
Dr. Wesbrook was to experience, like Moses, the disappointment of never
entering the Promised Land towards which his eyes had turned in the stern war
years. He had been obliged to see promises and plans postponed, mutilated or
abandoned but he never ceased to hope or to work for the good of the University.
In all the rush and worry of his duties in wartime he found time to correspond
12 Mrs. Wesbrook survived her husband 39 years and witnessed the fruition of his
labours. She continued to have a lively interest in the University, as she had done
during his lifetime. She died on September 17, 1957, at the age of 90.
76 Tributes
personally with members of the staff and student body overseas, to lead in war
efforts at home and to link the University as much as possible with the community.
The choice of the people of Vancouver of the President as their chief orator on the
annual day of remembrance, August 4, 1918, was an indication of how deeply his
services were appreciated and utilised by his fellow citizens.13
13  Frederic H. Soward, B. Litt., Associate Professor of History, The University of
British Columbia: The Early History of the University of British Columbia.
77 ALMA MATER SOCIETY
Of
THE UNIVERSITY OF  BRITISH   COLUMBIA
VANCOUVER, CANADA
Students of the University of British Columbia:
We respectfully draw your attention to the following Resolution,
which you enthusiastically supported at the Annual Alma Mater Meeting, April 7th, 1922.
RESOLUTION:
Moved by Mr. J. A. Grant, seconded by Mr. A. H. Finlay, that the
Student Body of the University of British Columbia go on record as
being in favour of a campaign of extension, and that we get behind
and co-operate with the Students' Council in any plan that they may
adopt or in any attitude that they may assume toward the suggestion
that the University Students take some definite share in the Extension
work of the University of British Columbia.
Carried unanimously
As a student of the University of British Columbia, you are asked
to feel an individual responsibility in this campaign launched by the
Students to hasten our move to Point Grey.
As your personal contribution to this movement you are asked during your summer vacation to obtain the signatures and addresses of
twenty-five electors and mail the filled-out forms to the Alma Mater
Society, University of B. C, by the end of July, if possible. To avoid
duplication of names of electors, please be sure that they have not
already signed a similar form.
The Petition is being sent out with you at vacation time in order
that electors in every part of the Province may be reached. The results obtained in the Petition will be an indication of the attitude of the
Student Body toward the campaign. It will give a more definite idea
of the feeling of the Public Mind on this question and will serve as a
guide for our future plans.
The obtaining of twenty-five names entails a comparatively small
effort on your part. The combine effort means twenty-five thousand
electors pledged to back the campaign. The Petition will be presented
to the Provincial Government when the campaign in concluded next
year.
If the forms are returned filled out it will be a great inspiration
to "carry on." Is it worth while? That rests with you. Let us work
hard to make it worth while.   Get your twenty-five names.
Additional forms may be obtained from the University upon request.
Yours for the success of this Campaign,
A. E. RICHARDS
J. A. GRANT
A. H. FINLAY
Committee
This letter, signed by the Campaign Committee in the Spring of 1922, pictures the
beginning of the Campaign to Build the University at Point Grey. 4«
THE TWENTIES
BRING
MATURITY
We're thru' with tents and hovels,
We're done with shingle stain.1
HE END of World War I intensified the
problems of University administration. Mounting attendance, the necessity of providing additional short courses as well as
sessional courses for returning veterans, finding new staff to give the new courses,
the uncertainty of government action on the vexed question of the University
move to its permanent site — these were some of the problems confronting
the Board of Governors on November 11, 1918. Related to all these was the
urgent need for the appointment of a successor to Dr. Wesbrook. This responsibility lay solely with the Board of Governors, whereas the first President had been
appointed by the Government. The Board went about their task with calculated
care. During the winter of 1918-19, letters were addressed to universities in
Britain, the United States and Canada, in a search for possible candidates. As
a result of this correspondence and of applications separately received, a large
number of names were considered by the Staff and Organization Committee, and
a select list presented to the Board for their final choice. At their meeting held on
1  The Pilgrimage marching song. See page 91.
79 A New President
May 26, 1919, the decision was made to offer the position to Leonard Sylvanus
Klinck, Dean of Agriculture at the University of British Columbia. During the
five years of his association with the University, he had enjoyed the complete
confidence of Dr. Wesbrook. He had travelled over much of British Columbia
and familiarized himself with many of the special problems with which the University had to deal in a frontier province. He had given the Board evidence of
his administrative ability as Acting-President in the periods of Wesbrook's illness
and in the months following the latter's death. Dean Klinck hesitated at first to
assume the responsibilities of the office but finally agreed and the Board was able
to announce his appointment as President in July 1919.
Dean Klinc