by J. L. Squance
"What the University Means to Me" seems insistently to change to "How the University Became a Living Thing to Me," and in telling this perhaps I am telling its meaning too.
As a young man the University appeared simply a higher school, teaching people to become doctors, lawyers, civil engineers, etc. As my youthful ambition was to be a farmer, I could see no connection between that cold place of lectures, books, and exams and myself. Much has happened since then, and the story is one of contacts with people. People whose labour in life is to improve the lot of others by broadening their outlook, teaching better ways of doing the ordinary task, and finding new ways.
Miss Montgomery was first to reach out a hand and draw us a step nearer to Varsity. We asked for discarded library books. She sent us boxes of them. A very great boon they were, and are to this day. Many of our neighbors have dipped into these shelves too.
In 1928 we received a folder describing the Farm Young People's Week, and my sister and I decided to go. What a week that was! Entirely wonderful and filled with new experiences that will live in our minds all our lives. Then it was that the University became a living thing to me, alive through the talks of Mr. D. E. Cameron, Mr. Ottewell, Mr. Corbett, and many others, Mr. Cameron's fifteenminute talks each morning raised me to higher levels, helped to keep my ideals fresh and worthwhile.
Since that time we have had contact with men of the Faculty of Agriculture. Dr. Wyatt's unfailing efforts to show the farmers of the gray wooded soil areas the better way of farming with clovers and fertilizers has been a considerable factor in the establishment of the west country as a prosperous, thickly populated, mixed farming area. His patient efforts to convince, and his enthusiasm for the future have been an inspiration to me and constitute another bond with the University.
Many other members of the faculty too have come and gone, and each has had a part in building up this place of learning in my mind until now it appears as the mother lode of active thought, a centre demonstrating the best and newest in all walks of life.
And now we have a young family; and what the University means to me takes on a new aspect. A hope that our children will grow up feeling the warmth and friendliness of this great institution. That they may even take a place among those helping to carry on this most important work.
These people are the University, and its greatness and power for good have been impressed on us through those who reached out and gave us a wider vision.
Published October 1943.