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The Spike or Victoria University College Review Silver Jubilee 1924

A Message from America

page 20

A Message from America

I really believe that if I had my College Course to do over again, I would want to register as a Freshman at Victoria College. This is not just a smooth compliment to our alma mater. I have visited a goodly number of institutions of high learning in many countries and nowhere have I been able to find quite the same combination of academic values and student life values as made Victoria College remarkable in the early days of its history. I count myself most fortunate to have been among the pioneers of the second student generation 1903-1906. By that time we had a recognised student body of regular students. Most of them worked during the day in reputable employment and in the evenings attended lectures under the gas light of the Girls' High School and the effulgence of that goodly group of pioneer professors. Their scanning of Latin verse, as far as I can recall, never earned the commendation of John Brown, but for all that a surprisingly large number of them had the satisfaction of hearing John W. Joynt say in those ever-to-be-remembered days in February, when the cables were hot with Passed and Failed messages, "Yes, you're all right," and they knew that they had passed first section or final. It was no real deprivation to have to study under difficult conditions. You had to have a system and a will to work. It taught many of us to concentrate, and money cannot buy that capacity. Things were much better after we got into our own College building on the Heights of Salamanca, especially for the science students. The new College equipment made possible better organisation, and larger classes, and added that peculiar something which goes with a home of your own.

In those days there was unanimity as to a student's responsibility to contribute to the life and work of the college. Everybody was expected to participate somewhere in the activities of the student body, and everybody did. The result was that we learned to pull together and to live well with each other. Many of the students of those early days are leaders now in their several communities. They will tell you that they learned much of leadership and the spirit of service at Victoria College.

The four years, 1903-1906, marked many advances in the corporate life of the College. The Football and Athletic Clubs were founded in this period, the new building was opened, the Tennis Courts carved out of Salamanca Hill by student labour, the first Easter Tournament was held, the first Rhodes Scholar from Victoria College was elected, the College colours finally chosen, and the constitutions of most of the College organisations were shaped. Life was strenuous, but it was very sweet.

Readers are reminded that there are still available a large number of the special War Memorial number of "The Spike," which may be had on application to any member of the Jubilee Committee or Students' Association Committee. Back numbers of ordinary numbers of "The Spike" are also available.

William Gillanders

(1903-1907) Oakland, California.