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Inauguration of the Buildings of the University of British Columbia at Point Grey: General Assembly Oct 15, 1925

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"O Canada, our heritage, our love,
Thy worth we prize, all other lands above -
From sea to sea, throughout thy length,
From pole to borderland,
At Britain's side, whate'er betide,
unflinchingly we'll stand.
With heart we sing, God save the King!
Guard tho our Empire wide, we thee implore, And prosper Canada from shore to shore."
MR. CHANCELLOR: Honored Guests, Members of the Faculty and Students of the
University of British Columbia: The old phrase that "this is an auspicious occasion",
can be worn once more until it is threadbare, to describe what is before us today. It is
very fitting that the first ceremony in connection with the Inauguration Ceremonies
here, should be a Student Ceremony, and it is with unfeigned delight that I see the
body of the Hall filled with the Students of the University. It is your Home, and on
that account, I say it is very fitting that you should be first to take part in the Ceremonies.
But we have with us today very distinguished guests who have come to do honor to this occasion, and I wish to do honor with you, in doing honor to them, for doing honor to
us. We have with us representatives of Sister Universities, who, by their presence
here, are expressing their sympathy with the work we are doing in the University
of British Columbia. We have some here who are to receive Honorary Degrees
from our University, who honor us, while we are, honoring them, and so, saying
that we are worthy to grant honors. We have members of the Board of Governors,
and members of the Senate here with us today. This, to them, seems like the
culmination of labours. The founding of our University in its permanent quarters
at Point Grey, and it is a great joy and a great pride to the Governors and members
of the Senate that we are finally opening up in :Point Grey. You have already,
under most trying circum-stances, established a most envious reputation for the
University of British Columbia, and out here, with the same high standard of
excellence in the Students, and with the increased facilities which you will find in
having better Laboratories and fittings, and so on, there is no doubt that the future
will find more honors heaped on our University. I have now much pleasure in
calling on Sir Arthur Currie, Principal of McGill University, to address the
SIR ARTHUR CURRIE: Mr. Chancellor, President Klinck, Ladies and
Gentlemen, Young men and Young Women of the University of British
Columbia: To me, there is always something very joyous and very inspiring, and
yet somewhat sad,, in a University function,- just as, to me, there was always
something glorious and yet sorrowful, when I stood, as I often did, at the side of
the road, and I watched your elder brother and your father, after a period of
training, going up to battle with the enemy, I knew then, as I know this afternoon,
that it was to be some to the pinnacle, and some to the deep. Some of you young
men and, young women are going straight to the top, and some of you are going
to fall by the Wayside, but I can say this: that your falling will be largely -- you
yourselves will be largely held respon-sible for it, You are here at the University
of Brit-ish Columbia for the training of your minds. It is here you get your
marching orders, and from here you will set out on the road of life. Now, some of
us have been along that road some distance,- some more than others. We have
had our failures, and we have had our triumphs. We have had our Victories and
we have had our defeats. We have had some of the laughter of life, and we have
had some of the sorrows. As we look at you this after-noon, starting out on that
road with unfaltering steps, with proud young hearts, we ask ourselves this
question: "Will, you be big enough,- will, you strive and be true to the traditions
of this University and of this Canada?" But with all, there is a romance about it,
and there is a great adventure lying before you. I wonder how many of you have
asked yourselves this question: "Why am I here"? "What do I expect to get out of
my College Career?" "What is the code I have set for myself?" "Why have I
come up to the University of British Columbia."? Have you any clear notion of
what this University can do for you? You have not come here, surely, merely for
the acquirement of knowledge, because if you have, you are wasting your time
and your money. Better go home and study the Encyclopaedia Britanica, because
that worthy book contains nearly all the knowledge that a man need have. Have you come here to fit yourself for a Profession? Let me tell you, that the World
needs something more than intelligence, in the world of men and women.
Intelligence has often been put to base uses. I dare say I am right when I say that
before the War, Germany lead the world with Intelligence, and yet we see to what
base uses Germany put its intelligence. Someone has said that knowledge, in the hands of
someone who does not know how to use it, is just as dangerous as fire-arms and
amunition in the hands of Savages. It i s not the increase of knowledge,- it is the
increase of men who rightly know how to use that knowledge. The purpose of this
education is to make worthy men and women, and to make character. Character is the
sum total of all the influences of life, and these influences need the most careful
attention. It is not the training of the mind alone,- it is the development of the whole man
and the whole woman. Knowledge is something that can be put to base uses in the
hands of a low soul. Your education should teach you to see clearly,- to imagine
vividly,- to think steadily, and to will nobly. The scholar should not be merely a
scornful critic, nor even a skilled workman. He should be a faithful citizen, willing
to put all. his strength and his ability at the dis-posal of his fellowmen, and at the
disposal of the World, and you must not be mere echoes of other men,-mere
reflectors of the light that has already shone. Your mind must not be a warehouse
merely, for storing up ideas that other people have thought out, but it must be a Sea
Bed where the planted ideas grow and. develop. You should be storeage batteries of
power, and the purpose of this education, as I said, is to create in you new desires,
broaden your mind, - broaden your views, give resolution to your will. The word
"creation" these days, means development,- Development to take what is there now,
and to develop into something that was not there before. It is a deeper thing than
the mere acquirement of knowledge. It is the building up of character. Men come
to College to discover the truth, and truth is a vaster thing than knowledge. If
education is ever complete in this life, and I doubt if it ever is, men will not only
think the truth, but they will act the truth. I do not know of a better illustration of
education, than that which you read in Harvard University, and there you will see
engraven over the door as you go in: ":Enter and grow in Wisdom",- and as you
pass out, you see graven in stone on the Arch-way: "Depart and Serve your
Country and your Countrymen". You should endeavor to grow into the largest,
vastest, wisest sort of men and women, and then, with a full sense of your
responsibility, to go out and be willing to place that at the service of your country.
If you do that, you will have something, and will be something that the World has
not seen before. Men will listen to your voice because there is a new note in it.
You will be a new man and a new woman for the benefit of humanity. And now,
let me say just a word or two to those students who are coming up here for the first
time. I would urge you, of all. the students, to ask yourselves that question: "Why
are you here"? Because on all sides you will be assailed by distractions and
temptations,- the side rooms with their noisy shows may have more attractions for
you than the main Hall. You may become submerged in more than the merely
Academic. I ask you to keep your sense of proportion. The University man is the
representative of thought in the community, and thinking is not an easy thing. You must
understand that it will be your duty to encourage thought and a sense of justice in
human affairs. For that reason, you must have no traffic in what is purely expedient. You are not to become a mere monastic scholar. You must have a deep interest in your
country in general. If that is true of the student in. general, how much truer is it of
Canadian students? Whoever refuses to lift up his voice in defence of any cause, is a
Traitor to that cause, whatever it may be. You have a duty to your country at all
times. It has become fashion-able to decry one's country, but it does no good, in
these vain complaints about shadowy things. In our country the times are grave, and
they demand above all things, thoughtful speech, because it is the welfare of this
country that is entrusted to the young people who are now in our schools and our
Universities. What names are those which every honest man reveres? Those who
give their strength for their country. You have other views than the merely
intellectual ones. You must remember this: That the improvement of Society, is the
development of the race. You must remember that liberty and enlightenment are the
first things towards progress, and you must equip yourselves to attack the forts of
folly. You must attack licentious-ness and disease, poverty and sorrow. To supplant
that force, the vanity and splendour that masquerade as chivalry,- these are the
things which you must attack. Remember this: that no man is better than his Institution, and that moral self respect is the first condition of National life,- that labor is
the first condition of progress, and that thought is light.
MR.CHANCELLOR: Just before we depart, I wish to announce that the Honorable
W.C.Nichol, Lieuten-ant Governor of British Columbia is detained somewhere in
the Fog. We had a wireless from him explaining his absence; otherwise he was to have
been with us this afternoon to speak. We have had no ward from the Honorable
J.D.MacLean, Minister of Education, who was also to speak to us this afternoon. I rather
think he is on the same boat with W.C.Niohol.


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