Closing the door of my last school symbolized a change in plans
regarding further education and choice of ultimate profession. The resident missionary in charge of
our little church in Caron, Saskatchewan, the late Archdeacon William Simpson, apparently saw in me
a potential recruit for the ministry. He confronted me with a challenge to train for this work.
Having always identified myself with the work of the church, I was pre-disposed to consider the matter favorably. But I was bothered as to whether I was really called to the ministry. Whereupon my mentor presented this matter of what constituted a call in a novel way. It was the argument which he said had influenced a certain young man who afterwards became a noted bishop in the Episcopal Church to enter the ministry. This was the late Right Rev. Phillip Brooks, whose popular Christmas hymn "O Little Town of Bethlehem" is so much loved.
The story is that Phillip Brooks arrived at his decision by a process of elimination of those professions and occupations which really needed him less than the ministry did. His conclusion was that God was definitely calling him to give his life to full time service in the ministry.
In much the same way it seemed to me that I was having a vocation to the ministry. Certain circumstances appeared to support that conclusion. My school was closing for the summer season. My homestead duties were nearly completed.
Emmanuel College in Prince Albert was about to move to Saskatoon in order to affiliate with the new university. I decided to enter college, went to Saskatoon and enrolled at both institutions.
According to Bill Lindsay, a prominent member of the originals, "We made this university". Also by the same authority because we took our first lectures in the top flat of the Drinkle Block No. 1 on 21st Street, we became known as the "Drinkle Blockheads". But we must have possessed a grain of intelligence for we organized all the clubs and societies including the Students' Representative Council which governed student activities for many years to
We established "The Sheaf" with John Rae as editor in chief and myself as assistant editor. The distaff department launched the Pente Kai Deke Sisterhood.
We had a full quota of athletic teams representing all affiliated colleges. We played hockey on an open air rink using the Stock Judging Pavilion which we called "Dean Rutherford Chapel" as a dressing room.
Emmanuel College had a celebrated team in the hockey league. It established two world records - they never scored a goal nor won a game. But they earned the reputation of being good sports. Since most of their men came from the Old Country they learned to skate as they played hockey. Lindsay's joke column in the Sheaf made a classic quip - "Why is Emmanuel's hockey team like philosophy? Because Emmanuel Kant!" However, those boys could play soccer. What they had lost on the skates they made up on the pigskin. Emmanuel furnished three quarters of the players on the team which defeated Edmonton in the first inter-university soccer match by a score of 3 to 1.
For our second year we had the use of old Victoria School. That year was marked by an attempt to reintroduce the ancient custom of "hazing" freshmen - a phase of college life now frowned upon by civilized colleges. All freshmen were invited to attend a social evening in the school but many of them declined to accept, including a number from Emmanuel. Mahommet and the Mountain modernized - the varsity students went to Emmanuel to initiate the freshmen.
That action proved to be a tactical error. Emmanuel's temporary buildings were located upon private property and not in university campus as was supposed. Freshmen were hauled from their shacks and taken into the soph's car roofed dormitory where they were duly branded with green and white paint.
The aftermath was mildly exciting. Lectures were suspended for two days and emergency meetings of the S.R.C. were held from which came an apology for trespassing.
Whereupon Principal Lloyd in amasterly diplomatic gesture invited all the university students to
a free supper and entertainment in Emmanuel College.
That event proved to be a very enjoyable occasion after which university and college entered into a long era of friendship. Curiously enough that near "international" incident occurred on November 11. A date which was to be dedicated to the preservation of Universal Peace!
During our third year we were accommodated at Nutana Collegiate Institute which was then resplendent in its newness. Here we had ample classrooms and an assembly hall worthy of our dignity and increased numbers. We made frequent tours to inspect the university construction camp. We watched the grey stone walls of college building and Saskatchewan Hall slowly rising upon the treeless plain. Our long period of waiting was drawing to a close.
At the beginning of our fourth year we entered into possession of our "Promised Land". We trod old pathways through fields of ripening grain to the seat of learning. A peripatetic university became a stationary institution. Old farmyards gradually but surely yielded way for a medical college and a huge modern hospital. Emmanuel College was also taking shape. Her students went into permanent residence at the same time as Arts and Science opened its doors. Emmanuel was held as "aprimus in campo" first on the campus of affiliated colleges.
An anomalous situation had been created when the Province of Saskatchewan passed the University Act setting up a new University of Saskatchewan since Emmanuel College already had a Dominion Charter in that name. The situation was clarified with the renewal of Emmanuel's Charter by the Dominion as "The University of Emmanuel College". The college was given the choice of sites on the campus and it relinquished the right to confer degrees in all subjects but theology. I remember the titter that went through an early convocation of Emmanuel held in a down town theatre when one speaker said he was not sure whether Emmanuel College was the mother or the daughter of the university.