By MIKE MCNENEY Editor
UVIC ARCHIVES 001.0700
The New Collegians, 1903 - 04.
Back row, left to right: Clifford J. Rogers,
Principal E.B. Paul, Frederic G.C. Wood, Joseph
B. Clearihue. Front: Sara Spencer, Kate Pottinger,
instructor Rosalind Watson, Lilian Mowat and
On August 29, 1903 the Victoria daily colonist
featured a front-page photo of the America's
Cup Race in New York between the Shamrock III
(owned by popular Irish tea baron Sir Thomas
Lipton) and the US-owned Reliance, the biggest
boat ever built for the competition.
THE SATURDAY PAPER, AS IT HAD
ALMOST DAILY, covered the darkening crisis in
the Ottoman Empire. The BC Electric Company advertised
regular car service to Oak Bay and Willows-"both
within easy distance of the favourite camping
resorts." And there was an account of an event
the previous that the city had waited a long,
long time for-the official opening of Victoria
Under the headline "Victoria
College Commencement," the paper said that "the
Assembly Hall was well filled with students and
their parents and friends. The platform was prettily
decorated, and there was a lavish display of
flowers. It was now possible, [Principal E.B.
Paul] said, for pupils to do the equivalent of
two years' work at McGill."
On that summer day the college's
first students, all seven of them, assembled
alongside younger counterparts from the high
school. The college had no place of its own.
There were no lecture halls and only a handful
of reference books. But their courses were sanctioned
by "Mother McGill" and for the first time since
the Hudson's Bay Company founded Victoria 60
years earlier, the city's residents had direct
access to post-secondary education.
Look into the eyes of those
pioneering students in their class photo and
you see looks of confident determination. Flanking
Principal Paul and instructor Rosalind Watson,
the new collegians project youthful formality
with their serious mouths closed, attired in
dark suits and ties or long, elegant white dresses.
There is something of those
earliest days-the same spirit of educational pursuit
and camaraderie-that reinvigorates the modern campus
with every new school year. And in that spirit
we look back at Victoria's amazing first century
of post-secondary education through personal stories
of people, events, and breakthroughs that have
shaped the university along the way. Thanks for
The Seven Flames editor's column is named for the seven flames of the torch in the university's coat of arms.