Seeking a Balance: The University of Saskatchewan, 1907-1982

By Michael Hayden | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Choices and Consequences: 1909-1914

THE UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN before the First World War is almost completely separate from the post-war university. In the early days most students were, by later standards, incredibly serious and hardworking. It was the times, and it was the place. The first students were relatively old because no university had been available, had usually supported themselves in pioneer conditions, and were already committed to a profession, usually teaching or the ministry. Then the "war to end all wars" came. What it ended was the life of a generation. Those who continued at the university through the war were few. Those who returned had been hardened by life in the trenches. Those who came of age in the early 1920's came to the university younger and from less harshly primitive homes. They came to a university that was more settled -- that was developing a tradition -- they were taught by a larger, less homogeneous, less idealistic faculty.

For the first five years, though, there was a very special University of Saskatchewan which will be described in this chapter. The students of those years disappeared from campus; many of them went to early graves. Their approach to education and life disappeared. Their utter conviction that they were the progenitors of a new civilization that was heir to centuries of British Protestantism disappeared.

During the years from 1909 to 1914 President Murray made a series of choices in faculty, type of architecture, mode of relationship with

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