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Setting the Agenda

Setting the Agenda: Jean Royce and the Shaping of Queen's University

  • Book Info
    Setting the Agenda
    Book Description:

    The biography of Jean Royce, Registrar of Queen's University for thrity-five years, provides a close look at the development and politics of a major Canadian university.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7980-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    In fall 1963, a don in the residence at Carleton University in Ottawa announced to our group: ′My cousin has just received a ″Miss Royce letter.″′ This was my introduction to the registrar at Queen′s University, who, it seemed, embodied the university itself, and whose letters were awaited eagerly by all who coveted entrance. All the students at Queen′s knew her: some sought her out, others had been summoned. All the faculty and staff remembered her, and almost everyone who knew her had an opinion of her. For the most part, they admired her. After she received an honorary degree...

  4. Chapter One ′The Girls Got All the Charisma′
    (pp. 16-43)

    In a letter to Marion in 1972, four days after the death of their sister, Catherine, on 16 October, Jean wrote: ′She will always be with us. We have so many memories of her ... she brought so much into our rather arid household.′ Marion agreed with her that Catherine was much less inhibited ′than the rest of us and so full of imagination′; however, she did not acknowledge Jean′s assessment of the general atmosphere.¹

    That Jean chose the word ′household′ rather than the more ideologically loaded ′home′ or ′family′ suggests a dearth of fun and affection. In the Royce...

  5. Chapter Two Did She Run the Place?
    (pp. 44-82)

    After Alice King died in 1933 and Jean Royce was promoted to registrar, the principal assured the trustees that she would do her work ′very well.′¹ It is easy to assume that Queen′s was so small and simple that securing the position of registrar - in a two-bit university² in an even less prepossessing town - had been a small matter. Jean′s own story, related in bits and pieces during six interviews some fortyfive years later, deals only with the university′s offer to appoint her as Alice King′s assistant and the immediate aftermath.³ The second instalment - how she was,...

  6. Chapter Three Keeping a ′Watching Brief′
    (pp. 83-126)

    Soon after she was appointed registrar in January 1996, Jo-Anne Bechthold received an unusual letter of congratulations from Dr Benjamin Scott: ′I hope,′ he wrote, ′that one day someone will write about your tenure with as much gratitude and appreciation as I write of Dr. Royce and Queen′s.′¹ On the surface, Jean Royce had done little to earn such a tribute. In the summer of 1934 she had simply accepted Scott′s application to study at Queen′s, along with those of hundreds of others with the requisite grades and courses. Sixty-two years later, however, he still could not ′express the intense...

  7. Chapter Four The Prime of Miss Jean Royce
    (pp. 127-161)

    In late March 1960, David Sweezey arrived at Kingston′s CNR station on Montreal Street after attending his mother′s funeral. ′Walking along [the platform] at a vigorous, snappy pace, close to jogging, all the time pleasantly cheerful, carrying what looked a very heavy suitcase,′ was Jean Royce. ′Her vibrant youth and utter charm stand out in my memory most vividly,′ he wrote. Her taxi driver had just asked her what help she needed. She made it clear that she needed none. But David, seventeen years past his own graduation and properly raised, equally cheerfully told her she was getting old and...

  8. Chapter Five More Than a Registrar
    (pp. 162-205)

    Appearances often deceive. Many people believed – then and now – that Queen′s was Jean′s whole life, and the previous three chapters do little to modify that impression. As she steered students, faculty, and administrators through the bureaucratic architecture of her own design, Jean seemed married to her job. As Queen′s alumna Priscilla Galloway wrote, ′[Jean] was extraordinary in her devotion to Queen′s [and] became established as an administrator in an era when a woman was not expected to have a personal life if she had chosen to have a professional one. What was Jean′s personal life? I know so...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. Chapter Six Ranging the Universe
    (pp. 206-266)

    ′The other evening,′ Jean wrote Marion on 10 March 1969, ′I went to dinner with Allie Douglas. It′s always fun because we range the universe. She is reading the Bertrand Russell Autobiography and we relished it together. It is amusing, witty, lucid and detached. He is an over-sexed libertine, arrogant to a degree, brilliant, sceptical of his own and other people′s ideas and experiences, and as the present generation would say, ″he plays it cool.″′ Purchase a volume, she suggested, ′as a diversion from the business at hand and as a traveling companion.′

    The same letter picks up on a...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 267-326)
  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 327-332)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 333-338)
  14. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 339-340)
  15. Index
    (pp. 341-354)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 355-356)