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The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949



From the rustic quiet of a country town I look back on the bustling earnest life of my Alma Mater with considerable nostalgia, but realise that such an institution is essentially one for youth.

The thousands of students who have passed through Victoria University College in the past fifty years have amply justified the establishment of what was considered in the late nineteenth century to be a luxury scarcely justified at the time, but the Cinderella of the University Colleges has produced scholars, scientists, lawyers, and administrators who have more than held their own in the promotion of culture in the British Commonwealth.

To me the most vivid memory of the College is that of the opening days of the session for the year—with hundreds of eager young students ready to take large helpings of what an American writer many years ago described as the one thing in the world which you can take without anyone else being the poorer—education. In that phrase he struck the keynote of what appears to me to be the essential of life—no one can receive education without radiating that education to his fellows. We must put more into life than we take out of it, otherwise the nation will be bankrupt. Service to the community must go hand in hand with individual ambition—the highest ambition must be the community welfare.

This seems to be contrary to the ideas that are very widespread at the present time; the dominant idea of a large section of the community which makes the New Zealand nation, seems to be to take as much out of the pool and give as little back as possible.

If in a football team there are some who do not give of their best, the team must lose unless the remainder do more than their share. So it is in the nation. Unless we can develop the idea of doing our best, not for ourselves alone, but for the nation, the next generation will be poorer than the present; we shall be living on capital. This must be one of the most important missions of the University—to preach and practise the doctrine, "Give your best; don't be afraid that someone may make a little extra profit out of your extra effort."

A good fanner loves his land, and his aim is to see his farm constantly improving as a result of his work; at the end of his life his pride is that his farm is better as a result of what he had put into it. So it should be with the nation; we are all farmers, and our farm is our country. At the end of life—and life is short—let us ask ourselves the question: is New Zealand any better off for our having lived? If the answer is positive, we can close our eyes in peace.

F. P. Wilson

Professor of History 1921-1934 Levin