This magazine and this column take their titles from the torch and seven flames—symbolizing learning—that appear above the university’s coat of arms, which also includes the motto, “A multitude of the wise is the health of the world.”
When the coat of arms was selected in 1903 by the founders of Victoria College they imagined great things for post-secondary education in Victoria. They may not have been thinking of “health” in literal terms when they arrived at that Biblical phrase, from The Wisdom of Solomon, as an expression of their ideals. Yet the modern university is proving to be quite a direct reflection of a well-chosen motto.
You can find another, tangible symbol of the campus connection between health and learning—and it’s only a short walk from the bright new Medical Sciences Building. On the southwest corner of the Quadrangle stands a mature plane tree. It was planted 35 years ago by Dr. Bill Gibson, the former chancellor and Victoria College grad, on behalf of the Victoria Medical Society to symbolize co-operation between the university and the region’s doctors. The seedling is said to have grown from a seed of the plane tree under which Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” taught on the Greek island of Cos.
At no time have the ideals represented by our century-old motto or that tall, stately tree seemed more prophetic. At no time have the minds and energy of the university’s educators, researchers and students been so directly involved with the health of their community. It’s alive in the students that are just starting their medical training on campus, in research for the young and the aging, and in the promotion of healthy living.
The people in our series of health-related features are dedicated to the welfare of others. They lead inspiring lives of learning and inquiry driven by the passion for caring. They remind us—in our wired (and wireless) world—of something higher to reach for, an agelessness at the heart of their efforts.