How Personality Creates

The Task of President A. Stanley Mackenzie of Dalhousie University

W. A. CRAICK December 1 1913

How Personality Creates

The Task of President A. Stanley Mackenzie of Dalhousie University

W. A. CRAICK December 1 1913

How Personality Creates

The Task of President A. Stanley Mackenzie of Dalhousie University


THE hand of fate would seem to have bound President Mackenzie to the fortunes of Dalhousie. Four times has he passed through its portals, each time to occupy a superior position to that held previously. First he entered it as a student, a raw-boned Scotch-Canadian laddie from Pictou County. Then after graduation he returned to its halls as Munro tutor in mathematics and physics, a position he held for two years. Later he was brought back from the United States to become Munro professor of physics. Again, in desperation at his inability to find time to carry on research work, he withdrew from his alma mater and retired to the Stevens Institute of New York. Here he was sought out by the Governors of the University and prevailed upon to assume the duties of president, following the retirement of Dr. Forrest.

Though neither a state nor a denominational university, Dalhousie, for reasons which may be readily explained, has been long associated in the minds of the people with Presbyterianism. It has received most of its support from the Presbyterian denomination, and its atmosphere has been largely of that solid and serious type characteristic of the members of the Scottish kirk.

The advent of President Mackenzie, it must be confessed, came as somewhat of a shock to the sensibilities of the old-time friends of Dalhousie, who discovered in him an element of joviality that, in their opinion, ill became the head of such an institution.

As a matter of fact Dr.

Mackenzie stands in sharp contrast with the sober, dignified and clerical bearing of his predecessor, Dr. Forrest.

While certainly not lacking in dignity, there is about him a more free and easy air than old Dalhousians expected to find in a president and it has taken some time for them to grow accustomed to the innovation.

Yet, for this slight loss of prestige in the opinion of the “unco guid,” there has been a great compensation in the increasing popularity and respect, which Dr. Mackenzie has gained in the city. There he is welcomed by the business and professional elements as a good fellow, one who does not sit apart in dignified seclusion but who can mix cordi-

Editor’s Note.—This old world has depended entirely for execution of its enterprises upon big men. The power of a personality in carrying out its purpose has never been overrated. In these character sketches of Canadian men, MacLean ’s Magazine has portrayed many who have shaped ends in the mercantile, professional and political spheres of activity. It is, perhaps, the peculiar privilege of a schoolmaster to stamp his imprint upon a large number. In this regard we must note the genius that is leading Dalhousie.

ally with his fellow men. His-adaptability to the society of all classes is one of his strongest assets. He is one of those men who can make a splendid traveling companion, which is surely one of the best tests of a person’s popularity. He is equally at home among the frequenters

of the Halifax Club and in the society of clergymen, on a fishing expedition or at a scientific gathering. A good storyteller, a bright conversationalist, his presence is generally welcomed wherever he goes.

The president of Dalhousie has reached his forty-eighth birthday, but is young for his years. A man of good height, erect, with a vivacious manner which communicates itself to a springy step, he may be taken as typical of the younger order of university presidents, who are bringing business methods to bear on the development of these higher seats of learning. The face, which is long and good-natured, is distinguished by a decidedly Romanesque nose, that is his most noticeable feature. Anyway perhaps a nose has much to do with a Canadian’s success.

He is reputedly a bard worker and most conscientious in everything he undertakes. Members of the board of governors express unbounded confidence in his reliability, knowing that what he undertakes he will perform. At present he is involved in all the maze of detail connected with the erection of new buildings on the new property to which the University is to be transferred. This, with his other duties as general manager of the institution gives him all the work lie can handle, without attempting any academic instruction.

Seated in his private office in the old main building of Dalhousie, whence many a noted Canadian has graduated in Ins day, Dr. Mackenzie related in pleasant conversational vein something of the story of the university and his work in connection with its transplanting to the beautiful Studley Estate on the North-West Arm.

“The history of higher education in Nova Scotia,” explained the president, “has been sadly complicated by religious and political influences. Nova Scotians, you know, lived on religion, politics and porridge for many years, and while we have produced many fine scholars, yet our university work has been hampered by the dissensions which have resulted from strong religious feeling.

“Our first university was King’s College, which was established at Windsor, in the latter part of the eighteenth

Dr. Magill, Chairman of Grain Commission.

century. It was a state institution up to as late as 1854, but in its early days it was strictly under the authority of ihe Church of England and they used to require students to subscribe to the Thirtynine Articles, before they would be admitted. I am an Anglican myself, but I can sympathize with those who objected to the imposition of these tests and agitated for a new university that would be open to all.

“Dalhousie owes its foundation to a rather picturesque incident. In 1814. a party of Nova Scotia volunteers under

Sir John Sherbrooke, the LieutenantGovernor, occupied the port of Castine, Maine, and for a period collected the customs there. This money was retained by the government of Nova Scotia and remained idle until in 1817, Lord Dalhousie, with the consent of the Council, proposed that it should be used to found an institution of learning, open to all occupations and all sects of religion. The proposal was approved by the Prince Regent and the original Dalhousie College was erected during 1819-1821.

“Strange to sav, for seventeen years after this, the building remained closed, no steps being taken to start operations Two or three attempts were made, both by the British Government and the Board of Governors to effect a union with King’s College, but without avail. We now come to the year 1838. In this year the college was opened and instruction was given in the old building for six years, when it was again closed.

Where the Old Kirk Got in.

“Not until 1863 did Dalhousie again come to life. It was then reorganized under an Act which empowered the Board of Governors to grant to any body of Christians or any individual or number of individuals, the privilege of nominating a representative to the board and a professor for every chair in the college supported by them to the extent of twelve hundred dollars a year. In consequence of this provision, the Presbyterian Church came into partial control of the college, but since then their interest has been withdrawn and except for the endowment of one chair, they have no association as a body with Dalhousie.

“In the early eighties the needs of the university grew to such an extent that a crisis was reached. There was nothing

Pres. Walter Murray of the University of Saskatchewan.

to fall back upon and the situation was serious. In the emergency, the University found a friend in the late George Munro of New York, who was known to fame as the founder of the Seaside Library. As a matter of fact Mr. Munro was a brother-in-law of John Forrest, the president. Dr. Forrest told Mr. Munro about the needs of Dalhousie and explained how much they stood in want of additional capable professors. ‘If you can find the man, I’ll find the money,’ said Mr. Munro and he was as good as his word. He gave $400,000, founded

half a dozen professorships and undoubtedly set the pace in Canada for large gifts by wealthy men to educational institutions-

“With the impetus given by Mr. Munro, Dalhousie progressed satisfactorily up to a few years ago, when the necessity for further expansion again made itself felt. The present property in the city was deemed inadequate to meet the anticipated growth and a fine estate of forty acres situated on the slope of the North West Arm was purchased. Plans were then made for the gradual transfer of the University to the new site and to finance the undertaking a whirlwind campaign was conducted in 1912. This was the first time Dalhousie ever appealed to the general public; it had few powerful friends outside its own circle of alumni. But the business men of Halifax, appreciating the value in their midst of a university with Dalhousie’s reputation and realizing the asset it was to the city, rose loyally and nobly to the occasion, and we raised $450,000.

Halifax’s Early Georgian Architecture.

“We purpose to plan for a residential college. At present our students have to board in the city, but we want to make the whole tone of the new university residential. I would gladly see divinity halls established so that our students might have the advantages of home and religious influences, coupled with the freedom of an undenominational university. Perhaps that will come in time. Meanwhile we are proceeding with the erection of our first building, which will be devoted to science. Next we will build a library and then go ahead with the arts school. By degrees we will carry all our activities, with the exception of the professional schools, to the new property. The latter will continue here in order to be in touch with the hospitals, law courts, etc.

‘1 Of course all our buildings have been planned and located in advance. We are building on a large scale to accommodate all possible expansion for many years. The style of architecture is Early Georgian to be in keeping with the general style of the best Halifax buildingsWe are using native stone and hope to achieve purity and gracefulness without much ornamentation, which would involve an expense Ave are not able to meet. Our board has been fortunate in securing the services of Mr. Frank Darling, the official architect of the University of Toronto, to act as our consulting architect.

“While Dalhousie has been hampered ever since its establishment by a variety of conflicting influences, it has yet made a name for itself through the achievements of its graduates. The list of Dalhousians who occupy prominent academic positions all over America is astonishingly large and includes no fewer than nine heads of colleges.

“This result I attribute to two causes. The first Avas the great luck it had in picking up able men to fill its chairs and the second was the pace they set. In the original staff there were at least five men —John Johnson, professor of classics; Charles Macdonald, professor of mathe-

matics; George LaAvson, professor of chemistry; James De Mille, professor of English and William Lyall, professor of logic—who were exceptionally able

scholars, and who left an impress on their students, which time has not effaced. So long as the traditions formed by these professors last, Dalhousie will continue on its way as a moulder of fine scholarship.

Old Charlie and Johnny.

“Professors Macdonald and Johnson particularly, or old Charley and Johnny as they Avere familiarly called, gave a turn to every graduate up to 1900. They laid down certain standards and lived up to them without wavering. Whereas in the ordinary small college denominational

and other outside influences are often brought to bear successfully on the faculty in favor of certain students and make it impossible for them to maintain proper standards, Dalhousie, thanks to the strong personality of these two old professors, remained a cold-blooded and impartial institution.

“Dalhouise Avas started purely as an arts college, but through force of circumstances it has been compelled to undertake the operation of various professional schools as well. First came the laAv school in the eighties. TAVO years ago Ave were forced to take on the medical school. This had been established some time back as a proprietary institution, but the increasing demands for scientific laboratories and expensive equipment in

connection with the teaching of modern medicine made the continued existence of such schools impossible, as shown in the report of the Carnegie Institution, and we were induced to undertake its management. We have also lately taken over the dental school, which was started as the Maritime Dental College, and we have assisted in the formation of the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacy“All this professional work should be undertaken by the state, but the government will not assist us because it would lay itself open to solicitation for similar grants from the denominational colleges. Meanwhile we are making our arts work predominant and will make arts the basis of all higher education. Professional men are doing all they can to assist us in their respective schools and are practically giving their services without adequate remuneration in order to maintain them.

a great deal of general routine and administration work to handle.

“I really don’t quite know why 1 came back. I certainly went away with great care and deliberation in 1910. My interests have all been along scientific lines, and I never felt drawn to administrative work. But I have always had the keenest interest in my alma mater; and after all I am getting a good deal of enjoyment out of the new experience.”


Cold Light

A demonstration was carried out recently in London to illustrate the applications of ‘cold light’ evolved by Professor C. F. Dussaud, a Continental scientist, which he has perfected for use in cinematography, lighthouses, photography, and other similar purposes. The

concerned the lamp takes the place of the shutter, which is generally employed to cut off the light during the fraction of a second in which the film is jerked forward the depth of a picture. It has been shown that a lamp may be kept burning at excessive voltage for as long as two minutes continuously without suffering any damage. The system has met with widespread appreciation in France for a variety of purposes. Naturally the life of the lamp is somewhat short under these conditions, but it is claimed that the system is cheaper than an arc light required to produce an identical candle-power.


The Common Street

The common street climbed up against

the sky,

Gray meeting gray; and wearily to and


Why Not a University of Nova Scotia?

“So far as the other universities are concerned, Acadia, King’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier, I am not without hope that some day some form of federation will be brought about, that will solve the problem of higher education in Nova Scotia.

“Personally, I find that I have all the work I can handle, without doing any lecturing whatever. It is almost like starting a brand new university and one has to face all possible problems connected with the foundation of a new institution. There is the question of finance, which has taken much time and thought; the campaign itself was a tremendous venture for us. There is the building problem, requiring constant attention and supervision. There is the educational problem, towards which everything else is directed and we have

method is very simple. It comprises the burning of metallic filament electric incandescent lamps at about 100 per cent, above their normal rating for very short intervals. This end is achieved in several different ways. For instance, the lamps may be lit and extinguished by the aid of an interrupter in the circuit, which switches the current on and off at regular intervals; or they may be fitted to a revolving disc, which, driven by a motor or other efficient system, swings each lamp round to light up as it passes a fixed point, by moving over a suitable contact. The lighting period is so brief that the bulb has not time to become hot, and the filament is not maintained at extreme incandescence a sufficiently long period to break down. The illumination obtained in this manner is extremely brilliant and powerful. So far as the cinematographic application is

I saw the patient, common people go,

Each with his sordid burden trudging by.

And the rain dropt; there was not any


Or stir of a live wind; dull, dull, and slow

All motion; as a tale told long ago The faded world; and creeping night drew nigh.

Then burst the sunset, flooding far and fleet,

Leavening the whole of life with magic


Suddenly down the long, wet glistening hill

Pure splendor poured—and lo! the common street

A golden highway into golden heaven, With the dark shapes of men ascending still.

—Helen Gray Cone, in the Public.