The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934
After the presentation of the Portraits a luncheon was held at the Royal Oak Hotel and was attended by those who had been present in the Library. This function served to renew many old friendships. The toast of the three surviving foundation Professors was proposed by the Chairman, Mr. H. F. O'Leary, and each Professor in turn received a great ovation and replied in characteristic fashion.
Professor Brown said he was quite sure that there had never been an occasion in the history of the college such as the present. It was very rare for a university college to be established; it was rarer for three out of four of the original professors to serve in a reasonable condition of activity for 35 years, and it was absolutely unique for those professors to get their portraits painted and presented to the college while in that condition. (Laughter.) It was impossible for him to express the depth of his feelings in the matter, and no one was more surprised than he when Mr. Dixon told him some months ago of his intentions.
Speaking for himself, he should like to thank from the bottom of his heart his old students for their extraordinary help given to him in the carrying out of his duties. He did not think he had attempted to teach Latin in his classes; in fact, for the majority of students, it was really impossible to teach them Latin. But he had endeavoured to show that Latin was very much more interesting than the subject taught under that name in the schools, that it had a far-reaching influence throughout life, and that, if its teaching were abandoned, it would be a serious loss to civilisation.
Professor Easterfield, in a happy speech, gave some interesting reminiscences of the early days. He recalled a chemistry class held specially for lawyers at which some very distinguished members of the legal profession attended. Sir John Findlay had approached him saying that there was an idea that people studied science from the point of view of more gold, and he asked that a class in chemistry should be formed suitable for lawyers. A class was formed and he could certify that, in the chemistry and science department of the college, they were prepared to look at science from a point of view other than that of the search for gold.
Looking back at the students of the early years, he thought that the appreciation they had expressed of the work of himself and his colleagues meant this: not that they had acquired degrees, not that they had done something practical, but that they had enjoyed scholarship for its own sake. To his mind, the occasion was a great one, and all should go away feeling that something worth while had been done. He would urge that records be kept concerning all graduates who had passed through the college.
The speech of Professor Mackenzie is reported in full elsewhere.
Dr. Maclaurin, brother of the late Professor Maclaurin, accepted a specially bound souvenir booklet commemorating the occasion, on behalf of his sister-in-law. He was sure, he said, she would appreciate it as an indication of the great feeling of respect toward the foundation professors. Simi page 17 larly bound copies of the booklet were presented to Professors Rankine Brown, Mackenzie, and Easterfield.
Mr. G. F. Dixon proposed the toast "Absent Friends," and Mr. F. A. de la Mare responded.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Fair paid a tribute to the benefactors of the college and especially to the late Sir Robert Stout who had never failed in his loyalty and devotion to the University and to Victoria University College.
The gathering closed with "Auld Lang Syne."
Subsequently many of the visitors welcomed the opportunity of seeing Weir House, where they were the guests of the college authorities.