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By L. P. V. Johnson
In the Fall of 1912 I (Dean Howes) attended the Dry Farm Congress at Lethbridge, as a delegate from the University of Nevada, of which I was then a staff member. I met three citizens of Calgary and was taken to their city as a guest and I enjoyed the fine hospitality for which Calgary has always been famous. A prominent citizen took me to a high place, showed me the site of the projected University of Calgary, and asked me if I would consider the position of Dean of the projected Faculty of Agriculture there — a cherished compliment, even if circumstances prevented its being implemented.
The true explanation as to what took place, just previous to my appointment as Dean (at Edmonton) in the spring of 1915, obliges me to indulge in a personal story that really would sound better coming from someone other than myself. I became Principal of the School of Agriculture at Vermilion in the summer of 1913. This School was one of three, opened that autumn in Alberta, the others being placed at Olds and Claresholm. These Schools were looked upon as a success from the first. Even if costly mistakes have been made in the evolutionary development of these Schools, their story is one of splendid service to our Province. By the close of the second year of the life of the Schools, the time allotted for securing a diploma, the Government found on its hands a group of young men who looked for opportunity for further study. Here then was one good, substantial reason why a College of Agriculture should be considered as a possibility. Probably no action would have been taken, that spring if I had not furnished another factor. My old University of Nevada made me an attractive offer to return to the Sagebrush State. I felt under personal obligation to Hon. Duncan Marshall, Minister of Agriculture, and it was not, an easy task when I wrote him for his consent that I quietly send in my resignation. He was most courteous about it, but asked me to delay until he spoke to the Premier, Hon, A. L. Sifton. The latter was rather famous for the readiness with which he accepted resignations so I felt there would be no difficulty in my getting away. To our surprise the Premier suggested that this would be a good time to consider Dr. Tory's plan for a Faculty of Agriculture in the University. There can be no harm in telling now that the Premier was prompted to take this move, through the suggestion of an old college friend, Dr. C. C. James, then administrator of the ten million dollar Agricultural Education Fund for the Dominion Government, one of the very big men in technical agriculture.
Premier Sifton looked upon myself as a sort of protege of Dr. James, and he was justified in thinking so, because it was through the latter that I had been induced to resign from the University of Nevada in 1913. So, at the wish of Premier Sifton, I was offered the position of Dean of a Faculty that did not exist at the time. I hope I may be forgiven a further personal note, when I say that I really preferred to go back to Nevada, where the ranchmen had clubbed together to guarantee me a generous bonus on the salary I was offered. However, I decided it was more worthwhile to be a small toad in a big puddle than to be in the opposite position. I accepted the Alberta offer. I have never been sorry. I hope it is plain that all of this negotiation was carried on in conjunction with President Tory and with his approval. I shall not forget how he said I was his personal choice for the position, only he did not altogether enjoy having things move so rapidly.
(The Faculty came into being officially on May 1, 1915, with Mr. Howes as Dean and Mr. George Harcourt as Assistant to the Dean. There was no other staff, and no facilities.)
The Faculty encountered several formidable handicaps at the start. The first was of course the war, which made it difficult for the University to achieve any expansion in current expense, and it was inevitable that the advent of our Faculty called for some careful financing and anything was liable to happen. When I arrived the University owned a small group of Holstein cows, most of them grade animals. Most of these I sold, with the understanding that the money would be available when we started to build up a pure bred herd. I planned to purchase three well bred animals from the east but, when I came to look for the money, it had disappeared. After some research work I discovered that our money had been used to purchase individual microscopes for the Botany department. The Bursar said the President had so decreed and the latter denied the statement. Anyway, I never saw the money since that time. However, we bought the cows and I may as well finish the story. We had cleared ten acres of land down where the Field Husbandry barn now stands. It had been sown to Canadian Thorpe barley and we had threshed over six hundred bushels. The farm superintendent — yes we had one — put his horse in the buggy and went about the country to buy a bunch of young pigs. We collected the garbage from the dining room and boiled this with the barley — a perfectly illegal piece of work. We fattened the pigs in this way and there came a substantial rise in the price of pork just then; we sold at a fine profit and bought our pure bred cows.
A minor handicap at the outset was the problem involved in the assimilation of students in Agriculture, getting them shaken down as a part, a worth while part, of the University as a whole. In the first years of the life of our Faculty there appeared at times an inclination on the part of our students to be a bit sensitive as to their position in the University. I have no doubt that parts of old complexes were still surviving, the chief one being that Agriculture would be 'looked down upon. I must add that there were some suspicions in my mind in regard to certain outside influences that were not always disinterested. However, the splendid work done by Harold Thornton and Jack McAllister in the matter of reorganization after the war put an end, for all time, to those early complexes — they were due to pass anyway.
I must tell about the passing of the gown as a part of student uniform. I was simply dumbfounded when I came first to the campus, to find that all students, freshmen as well as others, were compelled to wear a gown to classes. Well I knew that I was in for a peck of disagreeable trouble, in trying to reconcile the wearing of gowns by students in Agriculture, and I knew well that the point would be seized upon by critics of the new Faculty. In short I staged a vigorous protest and managed to carry my point as far as all Freshmen were concerned. I had been told that members of the Arts Faculty were more or less wedded to the gown idea. I made a personal canvass of each member of the Faculty of Arts and failed to find a single protagonist of the practice. In fact more than one urged me to lead a crusade against the practice. This was not needed, as it seemed to die a natural death, and I doubt if any more gowns were ordered for student use. Some who owned gowns wore them out and that was the finish. None of the Agriculture students ever wore a 'horse blanket to class as one of the Faculty's ill-wishers started to term it.
This is as good as place as any to tell about the part our Faculty played in putting on a special course for returned soldiers. This takes me back to the summer of '18. The war was dragging its weary way to a close — we hoped. Many soldiers had returned from overseas, each one suffering from some sort of disability. Each had changed materially too because of his harrowing experiences during the period of his service. Now many of these men were looking forward to a life on a farm — wanted to get somewhere that was quiet — and they were looking and hoping for some assistance to obtain land. Many of the men, suffering from disability, felt able to undertake farm work. They began to get impatient that nothing was being done. They were gathered in large numbers in Calgary and in large numbers in Edmonton. The Dominion government eventually launched a scheme of training for the soldiers who wished to farm, each Province being asked to undertake the supervision of this work. A school was started at Calgary, but it was little more than a tractor school. In our Faculty at the University, we too were becoming impatient because we had not been asked to make our contribution in the enterprise. The President was heading the Khaki University in England, so I went to Premier Charles Stewart and asked him to send me to Ottawa to see just what was the trouble. He consented and I paid a visit to the capital. I must not go into details, but I want to state that, for the first time I had an experience of military swank and red tape. I was forced to use unparliamentary language but I was lucky in getting to the bottom of things. I found that the members of our Faculty had been described as a bunch of well-meaning but rather impractical men, who would be simply out of their depth if they were given the task, of instructing returned men. Perhaps my forcible language helped to disillusion the Ottawa officials; at any rate they treated us quite liberally. They paid a tuition fee for each soldier student and the Province bore the cost of extra equipment.
We began this work in early fall and continued it without any vacation for two years. Our course lasted five months, made up of units of one-month's duration, so that a soldier could enter at the beginning of any month. We opened with an enrolment of one hundred and ten. We gave instruction in Animal Husbandry, Field Crops, Soils, Horticulture, Dairying, Poultry, Blacksmithing and Carpentry. We strove to make the instruction fit the needs of men of inexperience who wanted to farm. Of course not a few of those men took the course because of the maintenance grant and because of a desire to do something for a change. However, the majority really wanted to learn. Speaking for the members of our Faculty, I can say it was a fine experience. The discipline was good from the first and the appreciation shown was very encouraging to us. I was told in Ottawa that, because soldiers were used to 'salvaging anything that was not too hot or too heavy, they had been experiencing trouble at their schools in the disappearance of equipment, and I was strongly advised to check all equipment given out. We did not do this and I can report than only two tools were missed and one was brought back under pressure from the students — all the trouble we had in two years.
Students of today will be interested to know that we used the north wing of Pembina for class rooms and that the room now used as a dining room was turned into a common room for the soldier students. Let us be thankful that no dictaphones were used to record some of the conversations. Those soldiers were new to me I must confess and I did enjoy the new experience. I had told the class that I did not intend to try to remember military titles and that I would not insist upon my title as Dean. One day I stepped into the common room and the immediate hush from the regular noise told me that I, or something I had said or done, had been under discussion. In fact I heard one soldier remark in an undertone, 'Speak of the Devil. Whereupon another soldier said, so that I could hear, 'Didn't you hear him say he did not want his title?
At first I was sure there was going to be a fight any minute, with the heated discussions held and the sulphurous language used. The fact is that only one blow was struck during the two years. A rather unpopular soldier was given to talking about his disability. An older man remarked, in the blacksmith shop one day, that the only disability this fellow had experienced was when he froze his feet at the battle of Brainshott. The first fellow punched the older man in the stomach. A meeting was held and the offender was given ten minutes to get off the campus. First I knew about it was a rural phone call from this man, when he expressed his obligation to the Faculty and his regrets that family sickness had caused him to leave hurriedly. I never saw him again. Just a few days ago I checked over the list of the men who took that five months' course at the University — nearly five hundred of them. Many of the names do not mean any thing to me now, while several stand out in memory for special reasons and I kept copies of their registration papers.
There were two who just missed fame, as leaders of a sort of Veterans' uprising to make Ottawa sit up and take notice. The story came out in an examination during which one of the pair became sore at his colleague and turned Kings' evidence. The plan had been to use Athabasca as a jumping-off place, to infiltrate into Edmonton, to capture the armories, to seize arms and then to capture the Provincial Cabinet, to be held as hostage in a demand on Ottawa. It sounds fantastic now, but it was nearly a disagreeable surprise party to this quarter of the Dominion. I would not bring the matter forward now if there were not something further to relate. The joke on myself is that I had been told about the whole plan twice and I went off by myself to have a good laugh at the latest wild statement from our student veterans. The second in command even showed me the uniform they were to wear, a sort of Robin Hood affair with a big feather to top it off. I was told to see that the University kept in the background at the time of the projected invasion, was assured that we would be protected. I have no doubt that the result of the investigation was hushed up by the authorities, because people at the time did not seem to realize that the apparent comedy might have been nearer a tragedy.
In looking over the list the other day, I set aside the names of two men, whom I had consented to accept for enrolment, under the strangest of circumstances. One had been a leader of riots in Vancouver, had been transferred to Calgary, where he attempted to carry out the same diversion. His last chance as a free man lay with his behaviour at the University course. He was a quiet dignified sort of a man, very neat in dress. I had a private chat with him and then I took him for a trip with Dr. Wyatt and myself to visit a farm in the New Sarepta district. He never gave us the least trouble here and spent a lot of his leisure in the University library. I never heard from him after he finished his course. The second man I have in mind came to us with advanced information that he had attempted murder and at another time had attempted suicide. I was asked if I would see what I could do with him. It does not seem so long ago that he came into my office, a quiet looking, pleasant looking man. I said to him, 'I see by your papers that you have been guilty of trying two jobs that you did not finish. As one Irishman to another, I warn you that you must not start anything here that you cannot finish. Tom stared at me, then laughed heartily and said, 'I'd never give you any trouble, Dean.' He was a good student, became a good farmer afterward, but his disability caught up with him again and he spent some years in the hospital here. I visited him after and I lost a good friend when Tom's number came up.
I have taken some space with this course, because I always look upon it as a fine opportunity we were not too slow in meeting. I know all the staff members felt as I did about it. I mentioned it at length because history may repeat itself, and our experience may then be some sort of guide as to how such instruction might be handled. I said little about the staff so far because I shall speak of the members in connection with the story of the different departments. However, I should like to put on record a statement I made to the President at the time I entered into an engagement with him. He asked me if I had any pronounced ideas in regard to the Faculty, any particular ambitions. I replied that I wanted to get the very best men obtainable to head the different departments and said that I coveted his support in carrying out my desire. I have to report that I have been given a free hand in securing members of the staff, and, considering the times through which we have passed, I have been given good support in most of the work we have undertaken.
The President was always sympathetic toward the necessity for active investigation work to keep the staff members alert and to give life to what they taught. He always added that this sort of work justified, in the eyes of the government, the money we were spending. His successors have been kindly interested in our investigation work also but of course there has not been, during their incumbency, the urge of growing things; at times there has been the blight of the opposite. We have not been alone in this, I regret to say. There must have been times when our colleagues in other Faculties, have looked with question upon the amount allotted to Agriculture, and must have analysed us on the basis of students enrolled, rather than upon the basis of our service to the paramount industry of the Province. There is small need that I labor the question, but I would like to point to the sums spent in other Provinces in the interest of Agricultural education. As to the number of students, well I never felt the urge to court numbers; I would prefer ten good men to fifty run of the mine individuals. So then the justification of cost beyond this must be found in the services of Research and Extension.
Speaking of the latter, I always felt that President Tory cherished a wish that we might spread ourselves out a bit. If he visited his neighbour at Saskatoon he would be sure to compare our scheme with the very ambitious set-up in the Saskatchewan institution, where even the Agricultural Societies come under the Department of Extension. I still feel, after almost twenty five years, that our plan best suited the needs and possibilities of Alberta; there is no division of authority and no strain upon relationship with the Department of Agriculture. Perhaps I had better be a little more explicit in regard to this matter of Extension. We are not held down in the slightest by our gentleman's agreement with the Department of Agriculture. Our members are free to respond to any and all requests for advice and, because of this, our correspondence is very large and is growing steadily. Our members are free to accept any and all invitations to speak at public meetings. We have more than we can handle in this field.
At one time we contracted with our department of Extension for a number of these lectures arranged by the department. Of late years it would appear that the Director does the major part in the matter of lectures and we have seldom been called upon. Really we have not felt any objection from one standpoint, because the Department of Agriculture uses our members to the limit, the limit they leave to us. I still think however that the old scheme had valuable possibilities. During the years, we have built up a rather fine bulletin service. We have tried to keep up the quality of this work by avoiding the publication of anything that is not the result of work by the members of our staff. We feel that too much is printed that is merely the expression of the writer's opinion, unsupported by personal experience. It is a fact that our bulletin library has earned the approval of technical agriculturists throughout Canada and I feel that most of this approval is due to the recognition of what may be called our conservatism.
The contribution made to the success of CKUA by members of our Faculty is recognized, not only in Alberta, but elsewhere. I remember when I spoke of our radio service, at the time I was speaker at the mid-week banquet at the Toronto Royal. That was really a pioneer move and I was assured that our success could not last. Later on, at the famous conference of senior technical men, called at Toronto by the Dominion Minister of Agriculture, I was chairman of the Committee on Extension. I well remember that my personal contribution was the only one favorable to radio Extension service. Today, with overwhelming offers of service by technical men, radio has found its place, and should be a great power for good in agriculture, if it be properly supervised. Perhaps I shall be pardoned if I tell that I gave the first radio talk on agriculture in Alberta. I spoke into a big horn and had to consider my own speed, emphasis and word spacing. I gave the first lecture over our own station, and I little dreamed that night how the work would expand. Today I feel that, if this service be under proper control, and if it be given reasonable program space, it will give the greatest service, for the least money, in the field of agricultural extension.
Now, having sketched the early years of the Faculty, I plan to deal with the Faculty department by department and to tell the story of each, not necessarily in order of organization nor in order as to details. As it is generally recognized that we have three major departments I shall take these first. We had hoped that the other departments could have been developed to the same extent but finances to date have not permitted this to take place. As for the three large departments we were fortunate to be able to organize these when the opportunity presented. History has not been repeating itself during recent years. (Dean Howes wrote the above shortly before his death in 1940, and was unable to prepare the Departmental histories as he had planned. Incidentally, my excerpts comprise less than a third of his story. The parts not extracted deal mainly with threats to the life of the Faculty as an integral part of the University and with various financial problems, in each case invoking stratagems on the part of the Dean.)
(The files which are my source have no historical piece from Dr. Newton; but among Dean Bentley's notes I have found a short sketch of him, as follows.)
Dr. Robert Newton was Dean for only a brief period. He was the oldest member of a remarkable Quebec family, all five of whom obtained Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural disciplines. Dr. Newton was a Macdonald College graduate and obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He also obtained the D.Sc. from the University of Alberta. Dr. Newton had been Head of the Field Crops Department, University of Alberta, during the 1920's and served for ten years as Head of the Applied Biology Section of the National Research Council before accepting the invitation to become the Dean of Agriculture following the death of Dean Howes. Dr. Newton became Acting President of the University of Alberta in the fall of 1941 and President of the University in 1942. He was a tall, rather slight man, of erect carriage; a meticulous, somewhat reserved, scientist who effectively advanced the frontiers of science in Agriculture. Following his resignation as President of the University of Alberta Dr. Newton served briefly as the Director of the Research Council of Alberta before retiring to the west coast. At present (1964) he resides in Vancouver.
(Dean Sinclair's notes, brief and matter-of-fact, were written in the fall of 1945 and will serve mainly to supplement Dean Howe's recollections.)
In a sense the first year of the agricultural course (1915-16) was experimental. There were some misgivings as to the advisability of retaining agricultural students along with other groups on a University Campus. The traditional procedure in Canada favoured the plan of having an Agricultural College as a separate unit located in a more rural atmosphere so that 'Agriculture would be insulated against urban influences. The advantages of having Agriculture incorporated as a part of the University mechanism soon became apparent. Students in Agriculture were able to broaden their outlook through association with students of other Faculties in the University and they in turn were able to make their contribution to the various phases of student life on the Campus. The same was true in the case of members of the Faculty. Instruction in science and arts subjects could not help but be broader and less subject to bias when students from several Faculties met in a common classroom. The possibilities for cooperation and consultation in connection with research were clearly indicated at an early stage. It was not long until it became evident that the experiment was going to have a successful outcome.
During the first year of the agricultural course there was no University Farm proper nor were there any facilities normally associated with agriculture. Lectures in the arts and science subjects and laboratory periods were provided for in the Arts building while lectures in the few agricultural subjects were given in the north wing of Pembina Hall. The occasional 'laboratory in Animal Husbandry was held in a small barn immediately west of Athabasca Hall. This barn (scarcely worthy of the name) housed two teams of horses which were employed on the Campus. One team — of Belgian ancestry — undertook the heavy-duty assignments and the other — a pair of blacks of a coach type bequeathed to the University by the then Lieutenant Governor, whom they had served faithfully for many years — served at lighter duties.
By the opening of the 1916-17 term certain land south and west of the University Hospital had been cleared and a combined beef and dairy barn had been erected. Certain experimental plots had been laid out close to the main University buildings. Agriculture was becoming established in the University vicinity. In the fall of 1917 the presence of agriculture was made very evident through an experiment which consisted of pasturing a considerable flock of sheep on the campus in front of the three residence buildings. It may be recorded that the venture did nothing to enhance the popularity of the Faculty in its initial stages. Space will not permit a detailed review of the developments in connection with the acquisition of land which was to serve the various agricultural departments. Small areas close to the University buildings were made available to the Departments of Animal Husbandry, Field Husbandry, and Horticulture. A more substantial area, located approximately two miles south of the University proper was purchased for an Animal Husbandry Farm and a small tract was set aside for the use of the Soils Department. Earlier graduates will recall that a collection of barns occupied a site west of the University Hospital from 1917 to 1930. With the erection of the Normal School in 1929 it became apparent that it was no longer appropriate nor feasible to maintain an Animal Husbandry unit so close to the site of higher learning. Accordingly, in 1930 the barns were put on wheels and 'rolled' out to the present location. Additional buildings, including a dairy barn, judging pavilion, elevator, and implement shed were provided and thus the present University Livestock Farm came into being. With the passing of time the space available for research in cereal, forage, and horticultural crops has become restricted and the time has arrived when new land for this purpose must be acquired.
Brief mention must be made of the establishment of the various Departments of the Faculty of Agriculture. The first Professor of Animal Husbandry (Kenneth McGregor) was available for the opening in the 1916-17 term and at the opening of the second half of the same term the first fullfledged Professor of Field Husbandry (G. H. Cutler) met the agricultural classes. A Department of Soils was instituted in September 1919 with the appointment of Dr. F. A. Wyatt and in December 1920 the Department of Agricultural Engineering was added with Professor J. Macgregor Smith in charge. In May 1921 the Department of Dairying was added to the list, Dr. C. P. Marker, then Provincial Dairy Commissioner, being appointed the first Professor. Then followed the introduction of a Department of Entomology in 1922 with Professor E. H. Strickland as the presiding officer. From 1919 until 1928 lectures in Poultry were given by special instructors. In September 1928, Miss Helen Milne was added to the staff as full-time lecturer in Poultry. During the years 1915 to 1929 Dr. P. R. Talbot, Provincial Veterinarian, served as special lecturer in Veterinary Science and in September 1929 was appointed as Professor. The Faculty of Agriculture has completed thirty years of its existence. It entered its thirty-first year with the opening of the 1945-46 academic term with the enrolment of the largest first-year class in its history. A total of 100 students are registered in the first year of the four-year course. The majority of these are ex-servicemen who are entering the University under the Post-Discharge Rehabilitation plan. Staff and graduates of the Faculty of Agriculture alike will join in wishing this class the very best. It forms a fitting vanguard as the Faculty starts on its march into the second thirty years of service to agriculture.
(The above does not do justice to Dean Sinclair as a person, and Dean Bentley will be drawn on again to supply this deficiency, as follows.)
Dr. Robert David Sinclair was the first graduate in Agriculture from the University of Alberta to become Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture. He was appointed Acting Dean in 1941 and Dean in 1942. Dean Sinclair, possibly the most widely known and most respected staff member the Faculty of Agriculture has had, came from the Innisfail district and was a member of the first graduating class in Agriculture at the University of Alberta. He did graduate work for the M.Sc. at Iowa State College and for the Ph.D. at Aberdeen. Dr. Sinclair was an outstanding Animal Scientist, swine being his special interest. He died in the fall of 1950. Dean Sinclair was a deeply human man, an outstanding teacher, a naturally excellent extension and public relations person whose research interests and motivation were to assist people and Agriculture.
(Dr. McCalla was the second Alberta graduate to become Dean of the Faculty. A vigorous, decisive person, he is noted for his capacity to drive straight to the heart of a problem. During the last year and a half of his tenure (1951-1959) he served also as Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. He serves eminently in this latter capacity at the present time. The files contain a cheerful piece by Dean McCalla, written in 1954 just before the opening of the new Agricultural Building. It follows almost in its entirety.)
I have just (May 18) shaken hands with Professor E. H. Strickland who leaves today for his new home on Vancouver Island. Another of the few remaining links for the old-time graduates is thus broken, and I'm sure you would all want me to wish Dr. and Mrs. Strickland the very best. Yes, 'Dr.' Strickland is now correct. He was awarded a D.Sc. (the fourth given by the University) at Convocation last Friday. He then gave the Convocation address with typical Strickland humor, substance, and brevity. Dr. Brian Hocking, who has been Professor Strickland's assistant, has been promoted to Professor and we will appoint a junior man to the department. The Agriculture Building is now nearing completion and we expect to move in early in July. It is going to be very fine. Externally it is modern, with lots of windows, but it has real dignity. Internally it is designed primarily for its job, but it is most attractively finished. Its prospective occupants are now scattered in nine different buildings and the saving in energy and time will be enormous. The official opening will be held the evening preceding Fall Convocation, which this year will be October 30. At Convocation several honorary degrees will be given to men who have made an outstanding contribution to agriculture. More good news! Approval has been given for a whole new array of greenhouses to be built between the North Lab. and the Ag. Building. The last government estimates provide $285,000 for this project which will include a brick headhouse and about 18,000 square feet under glass. The Department of Botany will use some of the space, otherwise it is for Agriculture to complete this part of the review, Animal Science is getting a new swine barn at the farm, specifically designed to permit research. It has been on the books for a long time and now will be a reality. This year's graduating class was the smallest for a good many years. Many employment opportunities could not be filled and only two of the eighteen students who completed their work are going on for graduate studies. With our present research program, this is hopelessly inadequate. We had a good freshman class, 29 in all, although there were three total casualties. We have several new Ph.D. candidates, including one man from Holland who is working in Animal Science and one from Slovakia who is in Plant Science. Three Old Country men are working towards M.Sc. degrees. The young Swiss mentioned in my last notes stayed a second year and this spring received his M.Sc. in Dairying. The first University of Alberta Ph.D. was awarded last fall to Clayton Person who took his work in cytogenetics in the Department of Plant Science.
A few final notes about staff members. Dr. Fred Bentley and Dr. Lee Johnson are back on the job after spending a year away — Bentley in Ceylon and Johnson in Syria. Dr. Lloyd Smith has resigned from the department of Dairying and has left for the University of California where he joins another graduate, Dr. Walter Dunkley. It will be an added pleasure to welcome you back now that we have our own building. You'll find me in Room 250, Ag. Building, after about July 10 (I hope). Greetings could be so much more effectively extended personally!
(Dr. Bentley, an Alberta graduate and the fifth and the incumbent Dean, has just completed a history of the Dean's Office. Extracts from it read as follows.)
During the 25 years that Dean Howes spent establishing and building the Faculty of Agriculture there was never an agricultural building wherein the Dean's office would obviously have been located. Rather literally, the Dean's office migrated around the campus. During the first years Dean Howes had his office in Athabasca Hall. Later the Faculty offices were behind the stage of Convocation Hall. When the author was a freshman (1936) students were informed, after registering, that the Dean wished to meet them individually in his office, Room 203 Arts Building. Briefly, in the early 1940's Dean Robert Newton had Arts 150 as his office before moving to Arts 246 where, for the first time, the Dean's Secretary was accommodated in the same office as the Dean. Because the Arts Building had no elevator, provision was made in the summer of 1950 for Dean Sinclair to occupy an office in Hut F, where there would be no stairs for him to climb. However, Dr. Sinclair's continuing illness prevented his return and the Hut H Office did not become the Dean's Office. When the Agriculture Building was occupied in 1954 Room 250 became, and still is, the Dean's Office.
Competent secretaries often make virtually invaluable contributions which are inadequately known. Immediately prior to 1928 Dean Howes' secretary was Miss Betsy Lewis who held that post for at least four years. Before that the Dean's secretaries had included Dorothy May and Mrs. Fife. In the spring of 1928 a new era began. Mary Nairn, who had already worked in the Bursar's Office for four years, became Dean Howes' secretary. For the next 32 years Mary made a tremendously valuable and highly appreciated contribution as the Secretary to the Deans of Agriculture. She became Mrs. W. B. Crawford in December 1948 and resigned in June 1960 because of her husband's transfer to Calgary.
Alberta agricultural graduates are literally all over the world as some of our graduates are on every continent. Their occupations are equally diverse and include: Master Farmers, university deans, President of an oil company, a Senator, senior F.A.O. officials, senior National Research Council scientists, an Imperial Chemical Industries director and personnel throughout the public and private sectors of Canadian agriculture. The most recent tabulation of our graduates has shown: 19% with the Canada Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies; 12% in the employ of provincial governments; 7% at universities; 5% teaching; and most of the balance in commercial employ or self-owned businesses (including 18% farming or managing farms.)
A Last Word by the Arranger
This has been the Deans' story and I hope that you will feel, as I do, that none but they could have written so appropriately in commemoration of the Faculty's Jubilee. There may be discontinuities and some discursiveness. But are not these the Deans' prerogatives? And who are we to say them nay? I am sure that all alumni of the University will wish to tender their best wishes to the Faculty of Agriculture for a second fruitful fifty years.
Published Fall 1964.