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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

History of the School

History of the School.

Dr. McDowell, who was received with applause, spoke as follows:—"—Mr. President and gentlemen,—I face a difficulty to-night in that a few months ago I had the pleasure of addressing members of the Chamber on the same subject, and I was not quite sure whether there would be practically a new audience here to-night, or whether there would be a number present who were here previously. The Chamber has been very kind in inviting the clerical staffs of its members to be present, and as this is the first occasion upon which I have had an opportunity of addressing them, I wish to say that if I repeat anything I said on the previous occasion I ask those who may have heard what I said before to make due allowance. I desire, before discussing the functions of the School of Commerce, to refer to the history of the School, brief as it is, and, in order that I might safeguard myself from any charge of presumption in addressing commercial men on the subject of commercial education, I desire to explain how it is that my interest in commercial education has been aroused. In 1903 I was elected to represent the Auckland District Court of Convocation in the University Senate, and one of the main subjects then before that body was: How could we bring our University teaching into closer relationship with the needs of the people of this Dominion? I was appointed for two Sessions to the Committee of the University Senate that had to deal with this subject. We had to be guided a good deal by what was being done in the more modern Universities of England, and the more we studied the question the more we saw the necessity for the Higher Education being placed at the call of those engaged in Commerce. In 1904 the Senate drew up a syllabus of study for the degree of Bachelor of Commerce, chiefly on the lines of the degree of Bachelor of Commerce in the University of Birmingham, which was definitely founded with the object of bringing University education more into touch with the needs of the people. In 1905 the Government decided that a School of Commerce should be established in connection with the; Auckland University College. The practice of the University oil New Zealand has been to have special schools attached to each of the four University Colleges. It is felt that in a young country like ours the expense of establishing similar schools at each of the four centres would be far beyond us. For instance, in Dunedin there has been established for many years a School of Medicine, page 5 and in later years the related Schools of Dentistry and Veterinary Science have had their seat there. In Christchurch a School of Engineering has been established, an admirably equipped School, which qualifies for the highest engineering diplomas, and which is recognised by the Engineering Institutes in the Old Country. At Wellington there is a School of Law, and the Government decided that they would establish a School of Commerce and also a School of Mines in connection with the University College at: Auckland. I think it was a feather in Auckland's cap when it secured the School of Commerce. We all recognise that this is the most suitable town for the School of Commerce, seeing the great possibilities that open out for it from a geographical point of view, and the manifold natural advantages it possesses. To establish these Schools the Government made an extra grant of £1,500 a year. I am sorry to say, from a commercial standpoint, however, that the School of Mines has made a big hole in that amount, and has left only £500 or £600 a year for the School of Commerce. But here the School of Commerce is only in its infancy, and we hope, as it has already advanced in growth, that not only will the Government enlarge the grant, but that our leading merchants will recognise its great value, and will donate funds so that the number of lectureships may be increased, and we look forward to this young School developing upon lines that will be eminently beneficial to the commercial progress of Auckland.