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ALUMNI QUARTERLY - winter 2008
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Home > McGill News > 2000 > Summer 2000 > Letters

Alpha for effort

A hearty Bravo Zulu for your Spring edition. You have some excellent articles on a wide variety of subjects, that well reflect the capability of McGill faculty and graduates. I guess "Alumnotes" by Faculty is also an improvement, although I still really just want to check those of my own time frame, regardless of Faculty, the which distinctions did not seem too relevant back then, nor were they much later, when the Faculty Club always had a nice "join the circle" table, open to anyone for lunch.

I don't think much, however, of Pamela Kapelos Fitzgerald's letter. When I attended as an undergraduate (along with several other WWII veterans), there was very little evidence of women students being held in disregard. Notwithstanding the crusty comments attributed to certain deans, I really doubt that she had any great walls to climb in the late 1960s, when McGill was certainly getting well past any such attitudes in the late 1940s (even in medical school!).

Gerald McCaughey, BA'51
Delta, B.C.

Ed. note: It's interesting that Mr. McCaughey mentions the Faculty Club. It may surprise him and other readers to learn that women were excluded from certain areas of the club until the 1960s. In her book, We Walked Very Warily, Emeritus Professor of Education Margaret Gillett writes that women were barred from the main dining room and could cross the main-floor lounge to enter the ballroom (where a less formal lunch was offered), only with special permission. "The conundrum was how to get there without putting indecent female feet on the floor of the all-male lounge." One female faculty member, Dr. Frances Henry, finally solved the problem when she discovered a little-used back stairway and dramatically entered the ballroom "doing her best to ignore 'the looks of surprise and horror on the many bewildered male faces.'"

And thanks for the Bravo Zulu (well done). A web query turned up a translation on a U.S. Navy Internet site.

Baby picture

My late mother-in-law, Myrtle Cook, covered women's sports for the Montreal Star for 40 years. Just the other day, when we were searching for some other information, we found this photo. Unfortunately, not one person is identified.

Is there a story here? Is this the Intercollegiate Basketball Team? Did they win a championship? Does anyone recognize any of the girls? Although the picture was taken 67 years ago, it is possible that some members of the team are still alive.

Rosemary McGowan, BA'58
Montreal, Que.

Ed. note: This is indeed the Intercollegiate team, which won something called the Bronze Baby Trophy "as a result of the closely contested tournament" held at McGill in February 1933. This picture was probably used in the Star and shows from left to right: (front row) Cynthia Bazin, BA'34, DipPE'35, Mary Davidson, MA'33, Marjorie Lynch, BA'33,Winnifrede Chisolm, BCom'34, Sally Hay, BA'33; and (back row) Janet Dobson, BA'34, Florence Jones, BA'34, Janet Clouston,BA'34, "Babs" Goulding, MA'34, and coach Zerada Slack, BA'23, DipPE'24.

Myrtle Cook had no association with McGill, but was a stellar athlete in the 1920s and '30s. She ran the anchor leg for the gold-medal-winning 400m relay team at the 1928 Olympics. False starts disqualified her from the 100m sprint, in which she held the world record. She was inaugurated into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955.

Bravo to McGill

I write to commend you on the article "Australopithecus or Adam's Rib" and to express the hope that it will be followed by others giving details of the research of Professor Alters and his colleagues. After graduation I was a parish minister for 40 years and since retiring have been the religion page columnist for the Kitchener Record for 23 years. Because of this I know that the mindless fundamentalists are waging a stronger campaign than ever to try to keep evolution out of schools.

I hope the Education Evolution Research Centre will keep us posted, for this is the sort of leadership we have always expected from Old McGill.

Rev. Frank H. Morgan, BA'40
Kitchener, Ont.

Boxing the Bares

Thank you for sending me the 80th Anniversary McGill News. I should like, if I may, to write you a story about the fountain referred to on page 19, a gift from the U.S., which was erected while I was an undergraduate at McGill.

I was a friend of Hilary Belloc, BEng'32, (son of Hilaire Belloc, the well-known author), who was a year or two senior to me in Engineering -- he was in Mining and I was Chemical. Hilary was a member of what, as far as I remember, was called the Students' Executive Council, and put before them a proposal that as the wooden cover which was erected over the sculpture in the fall to protect it from the frost was more aesthetically pleasing than the sculpture itself, it should be left in position all the year round. This proposal duly passed, to the great embarrassment of the Board of Governors and/or the Senate.

The decision could not be allowed to stand, because this would have amounted to an "international incident" between Canada and the United States, but, according to what I was told, the decision was within the powers which had been delegated to the Students' Council, and it was only with difficulty that it was reversed.

Patrick Verschoyle, BEng'34
Petersfield, Hants.

Paper pioneers

The entire 80th Anniversary edition of the McGill News made for fascinating reading. I must admit that the section on the 1940s was of particular interest, touching, as it did, on my time at McGill.

Kitty Haverfield made history when she, as a woman, was appointed Managing Editor for the first time in the McGill Daily's history. What a good editor she made at that! At the same time (1940-41), I was made the first woman's editor of the Daily. It led to interviews with Thornton Wilder and others -- heady stuff!

Thought you'd like to know of another "first."

Harriet (Bloomfield) Joseph, BA'41
Scarsdale, N.Y.

Cruel and unusual

I was pleased to see that you at least made mention of the brainwashing experiments at McGill in your 80th Aniversary edition of the alumni quarterly. This was not a proud moment in McGill's history as this knowledge of sensory deprivation was used on, among others, the IRA prisoners in Northern Ireland, causing such suffering and cruelty that Amnesty International spoke out against the torture, much to the anger of the British government. It is no wonder that, as you say, few pictures of those experiments ever got published.

Jennifer Wade
Vancouver, B.C.

Remembering Cyril James

I was extremely pleased to see the picture of Principal Cyril James (1903 - 1973) and to read the write-up of his contributions to McGill. I attended McGill after the war, having served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in England.

I appreciated every day that I spent at McGill, a time when there were just over 7,000 students enrolled.

I took the three-year pre-med program and a year later graduated with a BA. I became a high school teacher and Science Department Head at Espanola High School in Ontario.

Cyril James was my model at McGill. I admired him. I felt like his son since he was so kind to me. I also remember Dr. Penfield, Dr. Berol, Dr. Hasty and Dr. Dunbar.

McGill is a great university. I was back two years ago and the campus still looks familiar. I'm glad it hasn't changed much -- great memories for me.

I'm trying to contact my former laboratory friends from pre-med, also the friends I met during my BA degree between 1946 and 1950. My name was mistakenly printed in the 1950 year book as Verry instead of Berry. This may cause problems for people trying to contact me. If you have addresses for George Berman or Vivian M. Desmarais, would you kindly forward them my e-mail address so that we may start some sort of contact?

I thank you in advance.

Alcide O. Berry, BA'50
Espanola, Ont.

Ed. note: Unfortunately, we do not have an address for either of these two grads. Maybe one of our readers knows their whereabouts. The Alumni Association has started an e-mail directory to help graduates get in touch with old friends.

In your article about F. Cyril James in your 80th Anniversary issue (page 21), the end of first paragraph reads "and on January 1, 1940, four months after his official arrival on campus, he became McGill's ninth principal -- a post he was to occupy for the next 22 years." On page 22, a note in the left hand margin reads "F. Cyril James, McGill's 11th principal, was installed in January 1940."

Was Cyril James, the ninth or the eleventh principal of McGill?

Narendra Nath Joshi, MSc'61, PhD'64
via e-mail

Ed. note: We apologize for the confusion. Eleventh is our final answer.

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