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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

Our Rhodes Scholars

page 85

Our Rhodes Scholars

Let day and night do what they will
Thou hast thy task...


We are proud to look upon our growing list of Rhodes Scholars, but we are sad to see the dreadful gap made by the cruel hand of war that snatched from us two most promising students, Alan MacDougall and Athol Hudson.

Alan MacDougall gained the scholarship in 1909, and, after gaining 1st class in English Literature at New College, Oxford, held lectureships at University College, Nottingham, and at Queen's College, Belfast. When the war broke out, he served as a captain with the Royal Fusiliers in France, and was killed in action, August, 1916.

Athol Hudson was the first of our Rhodes Scholars to fall in battle. He gained his degree of B.Sc. in 1915 and was awarded the scholarship for 1916—but he did not enjoy the privilege long. He served as an n.c.o. in the 8th reinforcements and was killed in France, July, 1916, only a month before Alan MacDougall.

For the rest, a happier fate has been reserved. To Professor P. W. Robertson goes the honour of being the College's first Rhodes Scholar (1905). After a brilliant academic career in New Zealand, Professor Robertson further distinguished himself at Oxford, and took the degree of Ph.D. at Leipzig. He then occupied the chair of Chemistry at Rangoon College, Burma (1909-1911) and was later appointed lecturer at the Imperial College of Science, London, remaining there until 1919, when he returned to his Alma Mater as Professor of Chemistry.

Our next scholarship was gained in 1917 by A. F. Meldrum, who also saw war service. He left with the 13th reinforcements and was wounded at the battle of the Somme.

While at New College, Oxford, Meldrum was awarded the degree of B.C.L., and he also won his half-blue for boxing.

Since his return to New Zealand, he has been engaged in the practice of law, and is at the present time residing at Hamilton.

Then, in 1918, H. A. Mackenzie, a son of Professor Hugh Mackenzie, was awarded a scholarship. He, too, gave military service, being a lieutenant in the expeditionary force. Upon being awarded a War Scholarship, he resigned his Rhodes Scholarship in order that he should be enabled to pursue the study of modern languages on the Continent. He has since remained in Europe and is now conducting an English school at Nice.

Mr. H. G. Miller, the present Librarian at Victoria College, and also the liaison officer for the Colonial Appointments Scheme, was our scholar for 1920. He graduated M.A. with 1st class honours at Victoria College, and at Balliol College, Oxford, took honours in Politics and Economics.

In 1921 G. G. Aitken, who is remembered for his prowess on the Rugby field, undertook the study of economics while at Oxford, and was engaged in schoolteaching for a short time in England. He paid a short visit to New Zealand, and has since returned to England to take up commercial work.

The 1927 scholar was W. G. Kalaugher, who took honours in Mathematics at Victoria, although his pass degree was taken at Auckland.

Before proceeding to Oxford, he was engaged in teaching at Wellington College, and now, after a short visit to New Zealand, he has returned to England, and is on the teaching staff of Marlborough College.

The last Rhodes Scholarship to be awarded to this College was in 1928, when J. F. Platts-Mills, who had shown considerable brilliance in pursuing a law degree here, left for Oxford, and, after a successful time there, was admitted to the English Bar. Mr. Platts-Mills is at present practising his profession with success in London.

page 86

And so we come to the end of our list. In less than thirty-five years, we have gained no fewer than nine Rhodes Scholarships, an achievement which, considering the smallness of our numbers, is very encouraging to those of us who seek honours in this field. Let us therefore hope that the future has in store for us victories of peace as great as ever was the case in the past—but victories unmarked by the fierce talons of war.

E. F. Hubbard.