1916 Fredericton Encaenia

Valedictory Address

Delivered by: Cronkite, Fred Clinton


“Valedictory Address” University Monthly 35, 8 (June 1916): 13-18. (UA Case 68, Box 1)

Your Honor, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Senate, Mr. President and Members of the Associated Alumni, Mr. Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Faculty, Class Mates, Fellow Students and Friends; Ladies and Gentlemen:-

Some three thousand years ago, King Solomon, hailed throughout the world as the wisest of men, said: “There is no new thing under the sun," and from an examination of efforts in the past and materials available at the present time, it would ap¬pear that valedictories at least form no marked exception to that statement. It is customary to simply relate the history and achievements, express the thanks and bid the farewells of the graduating class, along with a few practical suggestions and some brief comments concerning the academic year just completed. And on reflection I believe that nothing new is either necessary or desired; for recollections of the preceding four years, thankfulness to those who have assisted during that time, and a certain feeling of sorrow in parting from so many familiar associations, naturally occupy the thoughts of the student going forth from his Alma Mater into the wide, wide world.

But seemingly in contradiction to King Solomon’s proverb, the Ephesian sage Heraclitus has written, "there is nothing permanent but change itself." Nowhere is the truth of this statement better shown than in the history of a University where students and professors come and go with the succeeding years; each autumn sees new figures gathered in the halls and each spring sees a different class of students receive their reward. In the course of this change there has been in the University of New Brunswick a slow but steady growth. Yet in another sense there is little new: students and professors are always present during the academic year; there are always defeats or victories to be chronicled; examinations are always with us, honors gained and failures suffered. We thus find in the history of the activi¬ties of a college a reconciliation of two seemingly hostile state¬ments; and, delivered at the time of the encaenial exercises when the achievements of the year can be viewed in retrospect, valedictories must, therefore, be old in form, but new in substance, according as events vary from year to year. It is from this standpoint that I must speak this afternoon, as the representative of the class of nineteen-sixteen.

On the twenty-third of September, nineteen-twelve, the members of the class of sixteen first assembled on this historic hill, and to the number of forty-one passed through the back door of the Arts Building. During the early weeks we were no doubt possessed of the usual verdancy and the upper-classmen were quite willing to take advantage of that affliction. Through¬out the first few weeks the male members of the class wore large yellow ties, whereas I understand that next autumn the Fresh¬men of the yet unknown class of nineteen-twenty will be allowed to gratify their personal tastes in the selection of neckwear. We have every reason to be proud of our Freshman year; our basket¬ball team was undoubtedly the best junior organization in the province; our debating team instilled such wholesome fear in the hearts of the Sophomores that they failed to show up on the evening scheduled for the inter-class contest; we were also suc¬cessful in football and hockey. One last observation cannot be omitted; we won the annual stog—which feat had not been performed by any Freshman class during the preceding ten years. Needless to say, no Freshman class has duplicated our perform¬ance during the past three years.

In our Sophomore year we mustered fifty-one, having lost three of our former classmates and recruited thirteen from various sources. On us fell the duty of instructing the unsophisticated freshmen ; and we are confident that the present high standing of the Junior class is, due in no small measure to the careful guidance they received from us during the days of their immaturity, when green ties and straw hats were in vogue. As Juniors we numbered thirty-nine, having lost sixteen of our classmates of the second year, while but four new members were added. During the year we were as usual successful in the various College activities.

We began the Senior year with a membership of twenty-eight, but owing to enlistments and other causes a few of these left College and to-day we have been graduated to the number of twenty-three. As to our record during our final year no particular reference need be made; but we are justified in claiming a large share of the credit for the successes attained by the College.

In accordance with custom, I must now give a short ac¬count of events of the past year. First in order comes the Officers' Training Corps, which was organized last October. This branch of training is very important; it enables the student to obtain at least a rudimentary knowledge of the art of war, which is surely a very necessary qualification at this time. Some sixty students have been enrolled and have drilled on an average between five and six hours weekly. In addition to this, weekly lectures on theory have been given either by the instructor or by officers from the Overseas Units stationed in the city. Aside from the utility of the course in preparing for war, it cannot but have a good effect on the physical development of the student; we hope, therefore, and believe that military train¬ing will become a permanent fixture in the curriculum of the University. Before passing on, some tribute should be paid to Dr. MacDonald, who, in addition to the heavy duties involved in his department, assumed command of the Corps. He has given his time ungrudgingly and deserves our heartiest thanks.

In athletics the year has been very successful. The foot¬ball team ably upheld the fine records of the past few years. In spite of many obstacles, an excellent hockey team was developed. In basket ball the team went through the season without a de¬feat. New interest has been infused in athletics by the generous donation of a fine gold medal by Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor, for the best athlete in college during the year. Largely as a result of this, the track meet was revived, and all things consid¬ered the results were highly satisfactory.

In debating, keen interest has been shown. The debates, including Mock Trial and Mock Parliament, have been well at¬tended, and some really consistent work has been done. The crowning success came when in the Fredericton Opera House our team gained the unanimous decision over the debaters from Acadia University on the question of the public ownership of capital goods. This contest marks the beginning of a series of five debates to be held in Fredericton, during which period U.N.B. will meet each of the other members of the league. On the undergraduates devolves the task of winning these debates and to them we would say: Take infinite pains with your delivery and then—work, work, work; the desired result must follow.

The Dramatic Society was re-organized and won favorable comment in the presentation of a modern play—"A Bachelor's Romance." There is a great opportunity for the development of dramatic ability in a University, and we hope future years will see increased activity along this line. The Dramatic Society was this year given invaluable assistance by the College Orchestra.

The Forestry Association has been very active throughout the year, and is in a very flourishing condition at present. There is, however, a need for increased activity on the part of the Engineering Society.

The various ladies societies report a very prosperous year. The Co-eds are the very life and soul of all social functions, and display a far greater amount of College spirit than do the male students.

Now that we have briefly reviewed the history of the Class and Year, let us turn to a consideration of our Alma Mater. We have today received public recognition from the state as a reward for our endeavors; our degrees represent the best that the Province of New Brunswick can afford. We are proud to claim as Alma Mater a non-sectarian institution, in which there is no bar of caste or creed. We are also proud to have been graduated by a state institution.

Bernard Bosanquet, the ablest of present day political philosophers says, "the term state accents indeed the political aspect as a whole, and is opposed to an anarchical form of society. But it includes the entire hierarchy of institutions by which life is determined, from the family to the trade, and from the trade to the church and the University." We are coming to recognize, and we shall recognize still more completely as a result of the war that we are part and parcel of the state; and that conversely the state, or government if you will, represents the General Will of the population as influenced by the church, the school, and the whole complex of society. From such a standpoint the University must not follow, but must form public sentiment. The University should take the lead in research and scholastic pursuits, and the measure of the success must be re¬flected in a large degree in the better government of the community. Even the student body can do a great deal; for in¬stance a Dramatic Society can elevate public taste by the pro¬duction of literary masterpieces. In future years we believe the state-maintained University of New Brunswick will more and more aid in raising ideals of public life in Canada; and for what is now being done, and for the benefits we have received, we thank her—our Alma Mater.

To you Mr. Chancellor and Members of the Faculty, we also give our thanks. We shall in the future years endeavor to express our gratitude more fully by showing ourselves true to the instruction we have received. We regret the illness of Dr. McGinnis, but trust that he shall soon return, completely restored to health, to once again resume his duties in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

To the people of Fredericton we express our thanks for the many kindnesses received during our course.

To the undergraduates also some word of thanks is due for their co-operation during the year. On you next year will fall added responsibility, since many men prominent in all fields of college activities will no longer be with you. In many things you can doubtless do better than we have done, but in any case be sure to do your best. There should be greater co-operation among the students; all the work should not be left to a few. There should be more co-operation also with the other schools in the city, which together with this University form so great a part of the educational system of the province. We have confidence in you, confidence in your ability and loyalty to the University of New Brunswick. It remains to compliment the Class of Seventeen on the stand they have taken in abolishing all forms of restriction upon new students.

Fellow Classmates, at length the hour has come when we must say farewell as a class to all the familiar associations about this University, We are going forth tomorrow into the stern hard world of reality. We have convinced the faculty and senate that we have some little knowledge and intelligence,—it now remains for us to convince the world of the same fact. Each man in conflict with the world will ultimately be judged on his own merits. Let each one of us endeavor to be true to his country, his Alma Mater, and himself. There are great problems to be solved, great difficulties ahead, - but great opportunities as well. Let us grapple with the problems facing us in a manly way, so that posterity may say of each member of the class of nineteen-sixteen,—he was:

“One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break
Never dreamed though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake."

And now fellow-classmates, we must part company with the many pleasant associations we have formed at the University of New Brunswick, and say:

"A word that must be, and hath been—
A sound that makes us linger; yet—Farewell."

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