1939 Fredericton Encaenia

Valedictory Address

Delivered by: MacDonald, L. Barry


“Advising of Incoming U.N.B. Students Re Courses, Urged By Valedictorian of 1939”  The Daily Gleaner (17 May 1939): 4. (UA Case 68, Box 2)

Mr. President, Members of the Senate, Distinguished guests, Members of the Faculty, Graduates, Undergraduates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Someone in tribute to Mark Hopkins, one time president of Williams College, once defined a university as Mark Hopkins at one end of a log and a student at the other. Now that statement is more than just a tribute to Mark Hopkins. It carries with it the important implication that the essence of a university is a point of view. The presence of that point of view in faculty and students will make a university of any institution of higher learning no matter how small it is or how limited its facilities. Without it size and wealth are of no avail. The marks of the “university” point of view are intellectual honesty, intellectual curiosity and intellectual humility—the love of truth, the desire to understand and the absence of prejudice. The possession of that point of view means a deeper insight into the fundamental relationships between the various spheres of human knowledge and activity. It means a deeper understanding of the great lessons which history, literature, the arts and the sciences are constantly teaching. The University of New Brunswick has not lacked this point of view in the past. The caliber of its previous graduates is proof of that. It does not, I hope lack it to-day.

The extent to which this point of view is spread through the student body of a university is a fairly good indication of the success of that university in producing leaders of thought and action. Now it is the nature of the Arts and to some extent the Pure Science courses in a university that they develop in a special manner this point of view of which I have been speaking. Students in the Applied Science courses, on the other hand, are being rigorously trained for highly technical professions. Of necessity they cannot place that emphasis upon cultivation and breadth of mind which the other faculties do. Yet they, as university students and ultimately as university graduates, will occupy positions of responsibility and leadership where a broad, intensively cultivated point of view is needed. To this end we would like to see in this university an increased effort to develop what I have called the “university” point of view throughout the whole student body and in all faculties. As an example of what might be done we suggest that U.N.B. institute the practice of giving one lecture a week throughout the year to the whole student body. These lectures might deal with such subjects as the purpose of a university, the meaning of education and the responsibilities which accompany it, the relation of the arts and sciences, and so on.

Guidance For Students

There occurs to us also another direction in which the value and service of U.N.B. might be extended and the quality and vitality of student life improved. We of this graduating class have come, especially in the past two years, to recognize the guidance and encouragement which members of the faculty are so able and willing to give. We feel, however, that younger students, especially in their first year, lack the knowledge and experience to choose unaided those courses best suited to the individual aptitudes and desires. Moreover, could not the university as a service to prospective students offer to provide detailed information and advice as to the high standard and value of a U.N.B. degree, the nature and purpose of various courses, and the fields into which they lead after graduation? Most prospective students and their parents would be only too glad to receive such an offer. A circular letter from U.N.B. to all prospective university students graduating from the high schools of the province and to all U.N.B. graduates who have sons and daughters of university age explaining the willingness of U.N.B. to offer careful individual advice and information would have some very worthwhile results. Combined with the annual calendar which already is distributed, it would make the work of U.N.B. more widely and better known. It would gain a great deal of goodwill. It would bring to U.N.B. many prospective students who had no definite idea of what university they should attend. It would result in a better directed, more efficient, and therefore more valuable student body. All this does not mean the lowering or cheapening of U.N.B.’s standards in any way. It merely means that because U.N.B. is achieving its purpose as a University we should like to see that achievement extended and more widely known.

Courses Expanded

It is pleasant for all those senate, faculty, alumni and students, who have the welfare of U.N.B. at heart and who know what fine work it is doing to see the opportunities for further service increased. During the last year U.N.B. has had for the first time a separate chair of History and an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. Next year another new professorship will come into being, that of Forest Entomology, as well as an Assistant Professorship in Biology and an assistant in Philosophy and Education. It is the sincere wish of this graduating class that U.N.B. will continue to grow in usefulness and value. Among the larger needs of our university are a women’s residence and a new gymnasium. We hope that before many years have passed these additions to U.N.B.’s facilities will have been made.

Words of Farewell

Mr. President, Members of the Faculty: Our debt to you as we leave these halls is great and very real. All that we have gained from our years at U.N.B. is the result of your effort combined with our own. For most of us it is not only honest to say that we have not gained from these four years all that we might. It is only honest also to admit that the fault for that lies with ourselves. Yet we have gained a great deal, and for your unstinting co-operation and encouragement during our college years we are deeply and sincerely grateful.

We fee that you, our parents, many of whom are here to-day, should not pass unmentioned in this valedictory. Your unwavering confidence and affection, and in many cases your unselfish personal sacrifices have brought us to this Encaenia. We trust that you feel a certain measure of pride this afternoon, and we hope the future will show that that confidence has not been misplaced and that those sacrifices have not been wasted.

Citizens of Fredericton: Those of us who are strangers here have found that one of the pleasantest things about going to U.N.B. has been the city of Fredericton and its people. There is a friendly, gracious, unhurried atmosphere about life in Fredericton that is eminently suited to a college town. You have made us feel at home among you. You have generously supported our college activities. You have borne tolerantly the occasional overflow of our youthful high spirits, knowing it for what it was and not taking it any more seriously than it deserved. We have deeply appreciated your hospitality and friendship. Please believe us when we say we shall long remember your kindness and the pleasant elm-lined streets of your city.

To Undergrads

Undergraduates: This Encaenia which separates the graduates from one another separates us also from you. We are sorry that this has to be. The work we have done together, the student activities we have carried on together and the good times we have had together have all combined to make our college life the enjoyable thing that it has been. Next year each of you will advance a class and take upon yourselves a greater share of student responsibility. You will, we are sure, carry on the student life of U.N.B. as well as others have done before you. No one shall be more pleased than we if you do it better. Indeed, because we are sincerely interested in the welfare of our university, we hope that with succeeding classes the spirit and the quality of student life and student activities at U.N.B. will steadily improve. Whether or not that improvement takes place rests with you and the students who follow you. We realize that good advice is one commodity of which there is always a comfortable surplus of supply over demand, and we are reasonably sure that any of the fruits of our ripened experience which we pass on to you to-day will be promptly forgotten. However, because this is our last opportunity to speak our mind at U.N.B., we are going to succumb to temptation and have our say.

College Spirit

The fundamental requisite of a healthy, constructive, worthwhile college spirit is a wholesome pride in your college and what it represents. A pride of that sort is based on knowledge. Most students at U.N.B. don’t know enough about their university. It has been suggested before that in order to increase student knowledge of and pride in U.N.B. information about the university’s facilities and about student organizations and societies be prepared in pamphlet form and distributed among the students. We make that suggestion again here.

The value and quality of student life depends, too, upon the extent to which responsibility for and interest in student affairs is spread throughout the student body. To every undergraduate we say: Don’t sit back and bemoan the way things are being managed (or mismanaged) by somebody else. Go to meetings and make your criticisms known. That’s one of the reasons meetings are held. Use the columns of the “Brunswickan” oftener when you have a worthwhile idea. The college paper shouldn’t be thrown upon the shoulders of a few long-suffering and hard-working individuals. The greater the variety of intelligent contributions it gets and the more widespread its support in the student body, the greater will be its influence and benefit in college life.


Give the college teams the support and encouragement that they deserve. All that can be demanded of them, win, lose or draw, is that they do their best. Hang on to that reputation for sportsmanship which has always been such an admirable evidence of U.N.B.’s fine college spirit. You will remember that only last fall the sportsmanship of U.N.B.’s football team was the object of very favorable public comment by the sports editor of a Charlottetown paper. We’re proud of that reputation for sportsmanship and we hope we shall continue to be. Whatever you do, because you are our friends and have shared so many good things with us, we wish you success with all our hearts.

To Class of 1939

Fellow Graduates: “Our revels now are ended.” With this Encaenia we come to the end of four memorable years. These four years have been rich in companionship. Yet underneath lighthearted exterior that goes with youth and good-fellowship has been a growing thoughtfulness and maturity. We have learned a little—not all that we might have, of course—but still, something. We are better trained to make our way in life. Yet from the standpoint of a full and worthwhile life the outlook which we carry away from U.N.B. is more important than the actual knowledge we have gained or the training we have received. As college graduates, as men and women who have received training and education above the ordinary we will perhaps be called upon to fill positions of responsibility and trust. The qualities of leadership will be expected of us. If when the opportunity comes we cannot bring to bear upon a problem a deeper insight, a better trained judgment, a more farseeing wisdom than those who have not received the opportunities we have, then our education has largely been wasted and we have not been worthy of it. The world needs desperately the trained and educated minds of which I have been speaking. The democratic way of life in which we believe and which we hold so dear needs them. Lip service to a better democracy and a better world is not enough. The quality of our lives and our thought and our judgment must contribute to that end.

Suffer no Delusion

We do not suffer from the amiable delusion that any one or all of us will remake the world. But each of us can and should bring what wisdom, honesty and tempered judgment we possess to bear upon the problems that confront us in our own circle of life and work. The measure of that wisdom and honesty and tempered judgment will be the measure of the success of our education.

Must Decide Themselves

The world which confronts us as we graduate is a world of conflicting ideas and forces. That conflict has always existed in some measure. Yet, the development of our modern civilization has intensified the conflict and brought it strikingly home to each of us. This is not the place for mention of the various problems of social organization which face our age. Each of us must grapple with these problems for himself, remembering always that the education we have received makes it incumbent upon us to select the honest, worthwhile, lasting things as the things by which we shall live. Possibly you will remember the words of someone else in this connection: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame—think on these things.”

And thus, classmates, with the reputation and the training of a fine university behind us, with the memory of four rich, happy years warm within us, and with friends all about us, we take our leave of U.N.B. and of one another. Speaking for each of you, I wish every member of this class a future which shall be an enlargement and a deepening of all the worthwhile things that have entered into our college lives. I wish each of you a rich and happy future touched with a “divine discontent”—a future which shall not be unworthy of its past.

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