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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

The Fifth Of May . . .1934

page 10

The Fifth Of May . . .1934

"Look back and see if in those walls You helped to build, and cherish, Truth walks with courage, sword by sword . . . "

—S. Eichelbaum

On the 5th May, 1934, a memorable ceremony took place in the Library of Victoria University College. Those who have known the College only in the past ten years know little of the institution as it faced the world in 1899 and endured through the first decade of this century. The first four Professors arrived in New Zealand in April, 1899, and it was in the adversity of the early years that the foundations of our corporate life were laid. The association of these four men with the College proved fruitful and distinguished, each contributing his part to a great tradition, each in his own way illuminating the past, inspiring the future, and enriching the present with friendship and goodwill. One of the first students, Mr. G. F. Dixon, conceived the idea that the story of those early days could best be commemorated and its heritage most fittingly celebrated if portraits of the first professors were made to enrich the walls so well built and so faithfully served. Mr. Dixon's efforts were richly rewarded. The response to his appeal showed how well and truly the foundations had been laid. Not only were the funds eagerly subscribed but, for the unveiling, there were gathered together in the Library old students from the length and breadth of New Zealand, many of them representing the first and second decades. Nor was the ceremony in the Library unworthy of the occasion. The task of presentation had been entrusted to Mr. A. H. Johnstone, K.C., and with admirable dignity and sincerity, touched with humour, the story was told and the heroes crowned. Mr. Johnstone's speech we publish in this number. There followed The Ode, spoken with simplicity and restraint—an Ode written by Seaforth Mackenzie who, thirty years before, had written the Ode on the laying of the Foundation Stone. No touch could have been more sure, nothing more true to the spirit of the moment. Those who were privileged at the shrine itself to hear the noble tribute of Mr. Johnstone, to catch "the turn of old-time speech" which bound the Ode so closely to our tradition, knew that four Professors, inspired by faith, courage and loyalty, had played a worthy part in the history of their adopted country; that they had, in spirit and in truth, founded a University

F. A. de la Mare.