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Lives of Dalhousie University

Lives of Dalhousie University: 1925-1980, The Old College Transformed

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 504
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  • Book Info
    Lives of Dalhousie University
    Book Description:

    The lives of professors and students, deans and presidents, their ideas and idiosyncrasies, their triumphs and failures, provide the driving force of Waite's narrative. Avoiding the details of financing, curriculum, and administration that sometimes dominate institutional histories, Waite focuses on the men and women who were the blood of the university and who established its traditions and ethos.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6673-6
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    In July 1924 Professor Boris Petrovich Babkin and his wife were on a transatlantic liner en route from England to New York. A student and disciple of Pavlov’s, Babkin was forty-seven years old and had been professor of physiology at the University of Odessa since 1915. During the upheavals after the Russian revolution he fled to England; but unable to find a suitable job, he was on his way to be an instructor in pharmacology at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. It was the best he had been able to get. A steward came to him. “There is a...

  7. 1 Dalhousie in the 1920s
    (pp. 11-38)

    The charter of Dalhousie University in the 1920s was still the act of 1863, with an 1881 addition to comprehend the new Law Faculty and another in 1912 to bring in the Halifax Medical College and the Maritime Dental College. The Board of Governors consisted of twenty-three gentlemen and one lady, the alumnae representative, Dr Eliza Ritchie. All were appointed by the lieutenant-governor-incouncil (the provincial cabinet) on the nomination of the board. Close ties with the government made that process effortless. The board included George H. Murray (1861-1929), the premier since 1896. Most board members lived in or near Halifax;...

  8. 2 Changing the Guard 1929–1933
    (pp. 39-61)

    Gowan is the Scottish word for daisy, and James Nelson Gowanloch was one - a poet, a stamp collector, a considerable researcher, and a splendid teacher. Born in 1896, he took degrees at the University of Manitoba and went on to do his doctorate at Chicago. He finished all the work but, for some reason, never his final orals. He was teaching at Wabash College in Indiana when President MacKenzie hired him in August 1923, on strong recommendations from the University of Chicago and the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute. A specialist in marine biology, he organized the Dalhousie Biology Club...

  9. 3 Carleton Stanley’s Kingdom: Dalhousie 1933–1938
    (pp. 62-89)

    By the mid-1930s every college and university, in or out of Nova Scotia, was at grips with a problem that bore in upon them with pressure inexorable: the increasingly commercial test of old and tried intellectual values. Commerce cared little for Coleridge or Kant, and what was irrelevant to commerce and business began, increasingly, to seem to be so elsewhere. Thus the intellectual values of western culture came under attack, and in an insidious form, by being made to seem unimportant to life, living, and progress.

    The old core of the university was Arts and Science and the universities had...

  10. 4 Dalhousie, the Second World War, and the Philosopher-King 1939–1943
    (pp. 90-111)

    In 1938 the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations took as one of its five commissioners R.A. MacKay, Dalhousie’s Eric Dennis professor of political science. His substitute at Dalhousie during 1938 and 1939 was Arthur R.M. Lower, an articulate, liberalminded historian on leave from United College, Winnipeg. United College was a tense and riven institution; Lower found Dalhousie relaxed and pleasant. As MacKay told him, the professors at Dalhousie live “in a condition of genial anarchy.” What MacKay meant was that every professor, old and young, taught in ways that seemed to him best. It was the duty of the head...

  11. 5 Firing Carleton Stanley 1943–1945
    (pp. 112-138)

    The Dalhousie that Colonel K.C. Laurie now superintended in 1943 was heavily permeated with war. King’s College had one hundred young naval officers in training, trooping across the campus past the Murray Homestead to the dining hall (where the old gym was), doing their early morning exercises in front of King’s, and practising their signals the rest of the time in semaphore and Morse. There were uniforms everywhere one went. Halifax was thronged with people: lineups at all the downtown restaurants, especially good ones like the Green Lantern; taxis difficult to find; the city and its institutions bursting at the...

  12. 6 A.E. Kerr and the Veterans 1945–1951
    (pp. 139-172)

    If the papers surrounding the appointment of Carleton Stanley in 1931 are thin, those on the appointment of his successor in 1945 are almost non-existent. The board struck a small committee in February 1945 to gather information about a new president. Then there is silence. That may have been owing to a dearth of candidates. Was R.B. Bennett’s prediction right: how will you find a competent man to be Dalhousie president? Warren Publicover, past president of the Dalhousie Club of New York, asked, “What kind of a spineless boot-licker do they expect to put in the office - I can...

  13. 7 The Ways of the Fifties 1951–1957
    (pp. 173-207)

    TheGazette’s1951 recipe for creating a Dalhousie graduate was as follows:

    1. Take One Student Body

    2. Soak Thoroughly

    3. Add Exams Freely

    4. Pluck Well

    5. Keep Steaming for 8 ½ Months

    6. Cool for a Summer

    7. Repeat Several Times

    Dalhousie’s BA in the early 1950s was much the same as it had been for the past half-century. It retained its old emphasis on classics; two of the twenty classes had to be either Greek or Latin. Also required was one class in a modern language, two classes in English, one each in mathematics, science, and history...

  14. 8 In the Fast Lane: C.D. Howe, Lady Dunn, and Others 1957–1963
    (pp. 208-243)

    On Monday, 10 June 1957, to his own chagrin and others’ surprise, Prime Minister Louis St Laurent and his Liberal government were defeated in the federal election. It broke a Liberal regime in place since 1935. The architect of that débâcle more than anyone else was the cabinet minister who had been there since 1935, Clarence Decatur Howe. Nine Liberal ministers lost their own ridings; Howe lost his in Port Arthur, ousted by an NDP school teacher, Douglas Fisher. Howe had thought about getting out of politics in 1955 while the going was good; now he was kicked out. Still...

  15. 9 Dalhousie Being Transformed: The First Years of Henry Hicks 1963–1968
    (pp. 244-288)

    That 1979 sketch of Henry Davies Hicks by Jim Bennet ('53), introduces the man who moved into the president’s office on 1 September 1963. Hicks was neither tall nor especially dignified; he was slim and energetic, mercurial and quick-witted, not strong on patience or persistence; he gave the impression of being ready to jump at fences before he had quite got to them. But he had considerable talents. He had a politician’s tolerance of critics and criticism; he was not thinskinned. He also had style, a happy amalgam of Nova Scotia and Oxford, a knack for making celebratory occasions memorable,...

  16. 10 Testing Limits: The Cohn, the Killam, the Life Sciences, the Radicals 1968–1972
    (pp. 289-326)

    Rebecca Cohn was born in 1870 in Galicia, in what is now Poland but then was Austria-Hungary. She was brought up speaking German and was probably convent-educated. She married Moses Cohen and in 1906 they emigrated to Canada, part of the considerable exodus of Austrian Jews to North America at the turn of the century. The Cohens had a difficult time at first. Rumour was that they got their start selling goods from a handcart in Halifax streets. They were childless, they worked hard, and they prospered. She was the brains of the team. They lived in Jacob Street, at...

  17. 11 Coming to the Plateau 1972–1976
    (pp. 327-367)

    By 1972, the longstanding principle of Dalhousie beingin loco parentisto students had largely disappeared. The most telling indication of that was a Committee of Deans resolution, 28 February 1969, that examination marks would be sent to students only, and to their parents only when authorized by the student. In 1969 it was clear that, the great majority of students having reached the age of nineteen, they could and should act for themselves. This shift of responsibility was confirmed legally in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in a 1978 case,G.W. Sutcliffe v. University Governors of Acadia.


  18. 12 Shifting Power: The End of the Hicks Regime 1976–1980
    (pp. 368-406)

    Henry Hicks was outspoken on many subjects; he enjoyed jazz, about which he considered himself, as in so much else, something of an expert. His opinions were largely unchecked by either diffidence or hypocrisy. It was the same with art. In November 1967, opening the Second Atlantic Exhibition of Art in the Arts and Science Building, he disagreed openly with the decision of the judges in awarding the first prize. Hicks preferred Christopher Pratt’s Newfoundland realism, “Woman with a Slip” to Lawren Harris’s abstract “Pentagon,” to which the judges had given the prize. This incident afforded the local papers a...

  19. Statistical Appendix
    (pp. 407-416)
  20. Bibliographic Essay
    (pp. 417-420)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 421-474)
  22. Index
    (pp. 475-487)