Spring 2011

Your Letters

School Bored

How refreshing to read Theresa Shea’s [’97 PhD] learning curve article, “Skipping School” [Winter 2011, pg. 12]. I, too, spent significant time reflecting on how people learn as my husband and I educated our children at home. Initially I had panic attacks worrying that we might “miss” something. But of course we missed things; it was the trade off for learning interesting things which were not in public school curricula. I realized that adults study what they are fascinated by for as long as the interest lasts — sometimes a very long time, sometimes just minutes. Why should our children not be permitted to love learning by focusing on their interests?

Home-educated students have the world as their classroom and the flexibility to pursue individual interests. Like Theresa, I discovered that children who learn at home follow their interests and socialize with people of various ages are well-prepared to become functioning and contributing members of society. In Charlotte Mason’s words: “Self-education is the only possible education: the rest is mere veneer placed on the surface of a child’s nature.”

Eleanor D. Mitchell, ’77 BEd
Airdrie, AB

Editor’s Note: Charlotte Mason (1842–1923) was a British educator who pioneered the Charlotte Mason Method of education, popular with homeschoolers, in which children are taught through a wide range of books, firsthand experiences and good habits.


Hockey Mom

Seeing the New Trail photograph of the 1918 Varsity female basketball team [Winter 2011, pg. 56] reminded me that I have two photographs: University of Alberta Ladies’ Hockey Team 1917-1918 and Girls’ Hockey Team Varsity 1919-1920. The reason that I have them is that my mother, Helena Hurlburt (Barclay), ’15 BA, appears in each of them. My mother was also the third woman admitted to the bar in Alberta.
W. H. Hurlburt, ’48 BA, ’49 LLB, ’97 LLD (Honorary)
Edmonton, AB

Editor’s Note: Although the U of A Faculty of Law was created in 1912, it didn’t start conferring degrees until after 1921. Helena Barclay would have been an articling student with a law firm and also taking courses offered by the U of A Law Society and, thus, would have retained her student status, enabling her to play hockey for the U of A team.

U of A Ladies

University of Alberta Ladies’ Hockey Team 1917–18, left to right: H. Tillotson (Rover), M. Hotson (Manager), H. Barclay (Cover Point), I. Ayer (Goal), G. Stewart (Captain R. Wing), J. Stuart (Point), M. Robertson (Centre), B. Gardiner (L. WIng), W.F. Seyer (Coach).

U of A Girls

University of Alberta Girls’ Hockey Team 1919–1920, left to right: J. Hennessy (Spare), C. Schade (Rover), C. Crystal (Spare), D. Whiteman (R. Wing), R. Cleland (Coach), L. McGregor (Goalkeeper), H. Morris, (Assistant Coach), C. McQueen (Manager), R. Wood, (L. Defence), H. Tillotson, (L. Wing), M. Robertson (Centre), H. Barclay (R. Defence).

Tory Tale

I especially enjoyed the New Trail issue [Winter 2011, pg. 24] with the story on Henry Marshall Tory. In 1937, I was working as a summer student at the National Research Council [NRC] in Ottawa — for no pay as it was during the Great Depres­sion but good experience for me. Dr. Tory’s term as president was soon up, and normally would have been renewed, but Prime Minister R.B. Bennett — a Calgary lawyer who had never forgiven the slight of having the U of A established in Edmon­ton and not Calgary — appointed General McNaughton as president instead of Tory.

My father, Henry Spencer, was a member of parliament for 13 years beginning in 1921, and I remember being with him just after the NRC building was completed and hearing Dr. Tory say that he felt a bit guilty asking for that much money for a handsome building during such trying times. My father was also a member of the University senate, and a mountain in the Beaufort Range on Vancouver Island was named after him. About 25 years ago my siblings and I climbed it and built a cabin where we put our parents’ ashes.
Elvins Y. Spencer, ’36 BSc, ’38 MSc
London, ON

Caper Connection

I really enjoyed the article on the library cornerstone caper [Autumn ’08, pg. 26], just one of the delicious pranks that happened while I was at the U of A. One other outstanding memory was the “gravestone” outside of the Arts Building. The photo of one of the authors of the cornerstone caper reminded me that I am no longer young. Paul Somerville, [’49 BSc], who co-wrote the story, was in the same honours math group of nine that I was in.
Lillian Flint, ’49 BSc
Lloydminster, AB

Players Identified

1918 Women

When reading the last issue of New Trail [Winter 2011, pg. 56] I noticed that on the “photo finish” page there was a picture of the women’s basketball team from 1918 that includes my grandmother, Edna Tharp, ’19 BA, ’57 Dipl(Ed), ’57 BEd. I remembered that I have an original copy of this photo. I found it, and it has all the players names and the positions they played as well as a photo credit for “Castor Edmonton.” I called my daughters — Katherine Kupchenko, ’07 BA, and Mary Kupchenko, ’04 BA — about the photo, and they were very excited.

The names of the players and the positions they played are, from left to right: E. Anderson (For­ward), W. Martin (Capt. Forward), S. McLennan (Defence), Edna Tharp (Side-Centre), M. McLean (Defence) and M. Hull (Jumping Centre).

I also recall my grandmother mentioning that some of the girls from that U of A team played for the Edmonton Grads.
Elizabeth Mowat, ’72 BSc, ’73 Dipl(Ed), ’92 MEd, ’10 PhD
Edmonton, AB

Editor’s Note: There is a W. (Winnie) Martin that played for the Edmonton Grads in 1922. The Edmonton Grads basketball team compiled a record of 502 wins and 20 losses between 1915 and 1940, when the team was disbanded. They won their first Canadian title in 1922, and, in 1923, they won the Underwood Trophy (provided by the Underwood Typewriter Company) in their first international competition against an American team. The Grads also bested challengers in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Berlin, and swept four consecutive Olympic Games from 1924 to 1936, winning all 27 Olympic matches they played and outscoring their opponents 1,863 to 297. This achievement was unrecognized on the medal podium as women’s basketball did not become an official Olympic sport until the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal.

Race Relation

I was captivated by Anne Bailey’s excellent retrospective on Henry Marshall Tory [Winter 2011, pg. 24]. In 1903 my grandparents, Cecil E. and Annie Race, then newlyweds living in Ontario, were recruited for the first teaching staff at Edmonton’s Alberta College, which had an academic connection to McGill University, whose liaison officer was H. M. Tory. Tory’s visits to Alberta College resulted in a friendship between him and my grandfather. Their relationship became closer when, in 1910, my grandfather accepted Tory’s offer to become the U of A’s first official registrar.

My grandfather was not only chief administrator of student records but of all financial matters from 1910 until a bursar was named in 1920. He also lectured in accounting, mathematics and business administration. He was still the registrar of record when, while on medical leave in 1927, he died an untimely death at age 50.

My reminiscing on the Tory story took a surprising twist when I came to the back pages of New Trail and noticed a familiar picture of my grandfather with members of the 1918 Varsity Women’s Basketball Team [photo finish, pg. 56]. My grandfather loved basketball, and his concern that its spread in popularity occur in a sound, unified way within Canada led him in the mid-1920s to become the first president of the Canadian Basketball Associa­tion. He coached the U of A women’s team for a number of years, and the C. E. Race Trophy for inter-university supremacy was established in his honour.

These pieces in New Trail are examples of how your publication maintains a fair and interesting balance between historical and contemporary articles.
Cecil L. Race, ’63 BA, ’78 MEd
North Vancouver, BC


In the Winter 2011 edition of “In Memoriam” you entered my father’s name incorrectly. You entered Harold Ted Rodnunsky. His name is Harold Theodore Rodnunsky, ’68 BEd.
Lawrence Rodnunsky, ’95 BSc, ’98 MSc
Edmonton, AB


My uncle, Joseph Zizek, passed away in Edson, AB, in October 2010 at the age of 72 years. As our names are almost identical (I was named after him,) this has led to an error in the Winter 2011 New Trail “In Memoriam” notices. I am not currently deceased. Because I live and work outside Canada and have lost touch with many old classmates, I would not want them to be unduly distressed by this error.
Joseph John Zizek, ’84 BSc, ’88 BA
Auckland, New Zealand


In the Winter 2011 issue of New Trail, we incorrectly listed David Walter Hewko, ’80 BCom, as deceased. David is alive and well and living in Calgary. We apologize for the error.


We inadvertently misspelled the last name of Edwin, ’57 BSc(Eng), and Ruth Mattheis, ’58 BA, in the Winter 2011 New Trail. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion that may have resulted from this error.


Margaret-Ann Armour, ’70 PhD, [Winter 2011, pg. 27] is not a U of A chemistry professor but, rather, the Associate Dean of Diversity in the Faculty of Science.