Doug Hammar lived at O'Neil-Ridley soon after it was built in 1951. Those were the times when the London Hunt Club was across the road instead of the Social Sciences Centre and the D. B. Weldon Library.
Doug lived at Huron as a Western student, as so many others have done who have retained their association with the College.
"My daughter lived in another residence when she eventually went to university," says Doug, "but she never had the same kind of positive community experiences that I did at Huron."
A tradition at the College in the '50s was for the frosh class to make sure all other members of the residence were in chapel at 7 a.m. to celebrate the Christmas service. This usually meant rousing a few sleepy heads.
One year, on the eve of the Christmas service, the senior students loudly proclaimed at dinner in the refectory that the frosh were "wimps" and wouldn't get them out of bed. Simply locking their doors would do the trick.
The frosh had a better idea; they simply lifted the doors off the hinges of a few selected seniors while they were away after dinner.
The senior class showed up for the Christmas service.
Doug also recalls "creating havoc at Brescia," but was reluctant to go into details. Some secrets are forever sealed.
Doug recalls a 'work hard, play hard' approach to life at Huron. Everyone would agree to study weeknights between 6:30 and 11, reserving Friday nights for bridge or chess or a trip to the movies.
Study time broke down only once. That was in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. One student was convinced "we're all going to war tomorrow' so didn't see the point of study. That night off was the exception.
Doug's only brush with injury came while dodging golf balls while crossing the Hunt Club. "We snuck in a few rounds," he says. "We were kicked off only once."
"We were a really close knit community at Huron," Doug says. "We were a wonderful association of people pursuing different academic interests. When I see some of those people today, they're the same buddies now they were back then."
By: Douglas John Hall, DD
It was with fear and trembling that I walked up to the doors of Huron College that September morning in 1949—it was the old college, on Grosvenor Street. I had no idea whether I could meet university standards.
As I sat in the classroom that day waiting for the professor to appear, I learned two things about myself that gave me even greater pause. Noticing me cowering in the back row, the roomful of confident young Anglican males (several of whom later became bishops) inquired who I might be. When they discovered that I was a candidate for the ministry of the United Church of Canada, they registered shocked surprise.
I soon learned that I was (a) a ‘non-conformist’, (b) entirely untouched by ‘apostolic succession’; and that, as such, (c) there was little or no hope for me in this world or the next.
This information, as you can imagine, rather dampened my enthusiasm—but only temporarily; for my teachers, who certainly knew these devastating truths about my condition, treated me in exactly the same manner as they treated my fellow students who were in possession of the marvellous if (I began to think) rather elusive qualities that I lacked.
Moreover, one of my teachers, fr om whom I received instruction in two subjects, was a bishop: a wonderful bishop, the only bishop I have ever known who could wear, on occasion, gaiters, pantaloons, and silver-buckled shoes and seem entirely authentic—even in this Canadian wilderness wh ere, as has been said, gaiters do not go well with moccasins. His name was William Hallam, and he quickly became for me not only an authority on Christian Apologetics and an exemplary Christian person.
Well, I managed somehow to pass all my courses in both arts and theology that year and the next; and when, in September of 1951 the College moved into these beautiful new buildings, I went with it!
And since my main interest and study prior to university had been music, I was asked to be organist for evensong (still my favourite liturgy, though very hard to find these days!)
I loved the brand new Casavant organ, and whenever I had a chance I would indulge in fanciful flights of improvisation at its console. After one evensong, when I was giving full reign to musical imagination in my postlude, I heard someone ascending the stair to the choir loft. It was Bishop Hallam:
“Hall,” said the bishop—“Hall, we do appreciate your music. But you know, Hall, after the benediction some of us like to pray. Quietly.”
This was the same wise teacher who used to tell us in homiletics: “Gentlemen, do not read the Scriptures as if you had written them”, and who remarked to a tee-totalling low-churchman that “rhubarb juice would scarcely gladden the heart of man.” (There are many ways of teaching, and irony should never be ruled out –even if few can grasp it!)
By: The Rev. Edward S. Lowrey, Th. M. '62
In the late 1950's William Coleman was "Principal" at Huron College. He lived in one of the downstairs apartments with his wife and family. Principal Coleman, who everyone loved, had, for his private transportation, a late model Volkswagen, black in colour. One morning, as the College community gathered for the mid-week Eucharist in the lovely Chapel, what was behind the communion but Dr. Coleman's Volkswagen. How did it get there? Who knows.
One day in the late 1950's, we awoke to find the flag of the Irish Republican Army flying from the very top of the Chapel steeple. The only way it could have gotten there was for some brave soul to have climbed the steeple! One student was a staunch Irishman, and might have known something about it.
Please click here to view the 1960s Photobook.pdf
Remembering Huron - Why I believe in Huron College
By: Catharine Ridley
With student enrolment at very high numbers in some universities, university institutions such as Huron are more important than ever. Students benefit fr om the opportunity to receive a well-rounded education, both academically and non-academically.
One of the great attributes of Huron is that it creates an environment wh ere students are not isolated from one another, but get to know their fellow students, their professors and the administration.
Small classes, taught by professors and not teaching assistants, challenge students and encourage dialogue with their professors. This, in turn, helps nurture the student's confidence and ability to communicate.
Moreover, the availability of professors to see students in their offices on a one-to-one basis enhances learning opportunities for students. The library's extensive collections are available to all students with staff always on hand.
The experience of being involved in the life of the College, including Students' Council, clubs, sports, dons' committee or the senior administration committees and councils of the College, all contribute to the student's special experiences at Huron.
In general, Huron's strong, supportive sense of community creates a special experience at the College. This experience helps students grow and prepare for the future both personally and academically.
Huron College is committed to its students and academic excellence. This has not changed nor will it change.
The author, Catharine Ridley, was College Registrar between 1961 and 1991 and advisor to legions of Huron students.
By Bill Belanger ‘63
I recall one day in history class, Dr. Rowe entered very agitated over the treatment of his daughters in elementary school. I had been an elementary teacher before attending Huron (one could do that in those days). Dr. Rowe's comments focused on the inadequate training of elementary teachers. He caught my eye and stopped his ranting. "You were a teacher, Belanger, what do you think about the way that teachers are trained?" he said.
"Well," I responded, "I agree with you that one year teacher training is insufficient." He smiled. Then I added, "But it is one more year than university professors get."
You could hear a pin drop as he gave me the nastiest look. Then a big grin broke on his face and he burst into laughter. Fortunately. I passed history and rather well.
The real story is that Huron was sufficiently small and intimate that Dr. Rowe actually knew my name and my background. In my career in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, I worked at keeping the groups small and getting to know my students personally (an important subliminal lesson I learned at Huron). The close personal relations made my career and their educational experience more positive and memorable.
Bill Belanger graduated from Huron in 1963 but still has fond memories of his days at the College and how The Rev. Dr. John Rowe, a former Dean of Arts, who passed away in 2001, made a lasting impact on Bill’s teaching career.
By: Robert Williams '68
I will never forget his rubicund face and wonderful smile. 'Bubbles' had many admirers among the students of the 60s and 70s. His R.K. class was one of the best of the many courses of my academic career. Not only did he teach us the basic tenants of world religions but he taught us to analyze them with an objective eye. Our 'field' trips to a mosque, a synagogue and a basilica was an on-site, first-hand experience. Thank you, Dr. Morden; you gave us so much.
For John Finlay, class of ’61, an important influence in his life at Huron was professor and friend, Hugh Rooney. During his first year, John was a student in Prof. Rooney’s Business 20 and Economics 20 courses at Huron and recalls his freshman days fondly:
“Hugh was always very pleasant and helpful – always smiling. He was good to be around and we’d sometimes all go for a drink at the CPR (aka the Ceeps) after class. He made Economics and Business so interesting - which can be a challenge sometimes when you are facing something new. His door was always open – you could always talk to Hugh. I have very happy memories of my first year, and Hugh was a big reason for that.”
By The Rev. Canon Tom Kingston, ’61 and ’64
William Sparks Morris had enormous energy. He was always organizing programs outside of his courses to engage students. Former Principal Dr. John Morden wrote in his book, “Huron College Memoirs 1957-1992,” that working with William Sparks Morris was “exhausting.”
William Sparks Morris was single-minded in his lectures. No matter what happened he carried on lecturing. One spring day he was lecturing in a main floor lecture room. The windows were wide open to let in the warm spring air. Norm Elder, a student at the College and probably a student in Dr. Morris’ Philosophy 20 course at one time, approached the windows riding a horse. Norm was a member of a famous Canadian equestrian family. Not only did Norm move the horse close to an open window, he had the horse put his head in through the window. The horse was now listening to Dr. Morris speak! Dr. Morris looked at the horse and carried on lecturing. He didn’t seem surprised.
While lecturing on another occasion, Dr. Morris suddenly decided to push down the paper in the waste paper basket with his foot, his foot becoming stuck in the basket. Without missing a beat, he continued his lecture while walking about the classroom, clunking about with his foot still firmly fixed in the metal waste basket.
I also remember that he and Dr. John Henderson would build a skating rink behind their homes at Brough. Students were invited to skate and socialize there during the winter season.
William Sparks Morris was one of the best professors I had at Huron College and I have very warm memories of him. I am grateful for his courses and the enthusiasm they inspired in me to be a lifelong student of philosophy. Thank you, Dr. Morris!
The Rev. Canon Thomas M.S. Kingston ’61,’64, is a member of the Huron Alumni Board of Directors and is married to fellow Huron graduate Linn (Jervis) Kingston ’61.
By: Don Fraser '77 and Gary Raycraft '77
Donald “Fraz” Fraser (’77) was talking to his 23- year-old nephew recently when, out the blue, his nephew referred to the “West Bromley Fighting Haddocks.”
What on earth is a Fighting Haddock and what is the Huron connection to this you ask? Well, it turns out that his father, George Mitges (’77), was a charter member of this illustrious but, sadly, non-winning Huron College ball hockey team.
Subsequent mention of this bizarre utterance by Fraz to his old friend Gary “Shorts” Raycraft (‘77) unleashed a flood of reminiscences. We fondly recalled classic Huron ball hockey franchises including, of course, the pride of upstate New York, the immortal North Tonawanda Tramplers.
The great institution of ball hockey was part and parcel of Huron College culture in the mid-70s, but not the ball hockey of today, with regulation-sized nets and full goalie equipment and hard plastic orange balls that leave welts.
We played the game the way the game was meant to be played – evolved from the street hockey days of our childhood. For us the game could only be played with soggy tennis balls, baseball gloves for the goalies, flimsy aluminium framed nets and outrageously illegal curved sticks.
We built our league on the legacy of teams like the Blue Nuns, a dynasty of the early ‘70s. However, if you talk to alumni from the mid-70s, a high percentage will no doubt recall their late afternoon exploits on the fabled tennis courts situated at the back of the College parking lot.
Recruiting began during Frosh Week. Grizzled veterans of previous campaigns quickly banded together to form the nucleus of that year’s squad and then scouted for the most promising among the as yet uninitiated rookie crop.
How deep was the hold ball hockey had on us? Fifteen years after graduation, a delegation of ‘70s veterans returned to Huron one crisp fall afternoon to challenge the incumbent student champions to a game.
The game was a classic contest, pitting grit, guile and veteran savvy against exuberance and athleticism of youth. Needless to say, the old guys won and, valiantly trying to conceal the fact that there wasn’t a part of our bodies that wasn’t in extreme pain, we celebrated like we were kids again.
Seven years later, we blindly ignored our decrepit, now very middle-aged bodies and returned once more. This time it was Homecoming weekend and how could we return home to Huron without indulging in a spirited game of ball hockey? We led after the first period, but alas, the years had taken their toll and we ultimately succumbed to a more youthful squad.
Has this touchstone of College life survived into the 21st century? Are today’s students waging battle for Huron ball hockey supremacy as well as attending class? They may well understand our obsession. And 15 years from now it will be them returning as grown men to play a child’s game.
Indeed, so many fond memories.
Killing time in The Refectory, making (and eating) more toast just to avoid going back to do homework or write an essay!
Having so many friends around you in residence...
Coffee in the SAC...movie night in the SAC as well.
By: Ngaire Lowndes ‘76
Films in the SAC, Mary the snack bar lady, Bert Finney - looked so scary at first, but was such a lovely person! Wonderful food in the Refectory. Tea in the Great Hall every afternoon. (Yes, I did stuff other than feed my face!)
Dr. Elaine Johnson's inspiring lectures on Milton and 17C Prose & Poet...
Taking walks down in the river valley, and practising archery down there too!
Being part of a big-small community - big enough to be varied, small enough to know everyone at least by face.
Stacking library books and earning $2 a cart. (Well, it was the early '70s!)
Pulling all-nighter essays in the study room...the Munchies Trolley at exam time...Compline over at Seager hall, and learning to strum a few chords on my guitar there.
Special dinners, decorating the Refectory for themed evenings, the Huron Ball in the SAC...yeh, it really did fit!
Four years compiled a LOT of memories. Very happy ones.
By: Ngaire Lowndes '76
Goodness, only two years before it'll be forty years that I was a keen, nervous, and socially very inexperienced Huron freshman... roomed with a Toronto socialite, trying to get my brain around Canadian customs and implied language... fascinated by the wonderful great wooded valley down behind Hellmuth, and the massive maple trees on the ridge... I LOVED my time at Huron, was in Hellmuth residence for all four years, kept busy with the Huron Gazette and UWO choir and other societies, and found the academic programme challenging and wonderful. I still have many of my college essays and exam works, and all of my textbooks!
The weather here in London, England is on the turn to autumn now - we're getting leaves crisping up on the trees, hedgerows bursting with nuts and fruit (it's been a tremendously good year for the land), and that crisp, slightly damp edge to the early morning air that says 'winter's coming'. It's the time of year when I always get a bit reminiscent of college days - the excitement and anticipation of being back in Hellmuth, getting the course timetable right (my goodness, that was complicated), searching around for second-hand textbooks, buying pads of paper and all the rest of it...
By: George Pappas '71
In my second year I was taking a course on campus and thought I had it pretty well set when I went to write the final. Upon arriving I found the gym closed as the exam had started a full half hour prior. I immediately returned to Huron to see Dr. Morden and explain the situation. Without hesitation he took on my case and told me not to leave the office. He returned with a copy of the exam and turned over his office to me to write it. "Smoke if you like" he said, "and I'll be back when you're done." Without stress and the fine surrounding of the Principal's office to write my exam I could not help but do well. I am not sure that I ever thanked him well enough for that moment, but I never forgot his generosity and trouble. The world is a finer, richer place because of people like John Morden. I dare suggest that because of his caring, generous spirit his memory will last.
By: Wendy Mitchinson Twigge '71
Bridge in the SAC, friends, small classes especially with Dr. Sansom, and Prof Burd. Living in residence, Sundays when the residences were open for a couple of hours for visiting - Practical jokes on the dons.
Quite honestly, I chose my program of study because of Miss Ridley!!! I had finished my first year and had intended to proceed to do an honours degree in Geography, as it was always an interest to me and it was my highest mark in first year. I met with Miss Ridley during the summer of 1st and 2nd year. I had concurrently been offered a Don’s position at Huron. Miss Ridley was quite clear and emphatically so (as she had been when I tried to duck taking English in first year!!!)– choosing Geography was not an option, because I would have to leave Huron, become a Western student and turn down the offer to be a Don.
So, I chose Psychology (my lowest mark) and completed Year 2 and 3 at Huron and then Year 4 at Western (because Huron didn’t have an honours program at that time).
Like hundreds of others, Miss Ridley’s influence set me on the right path! And by fourth year, my psychology marks landed me on the Dean’s List ---clearly, she was right!
By: Napier Simpson '80
I have many fond memories of Huron but one that perhaps you won't hear often about is cross-country skiing in the valley below the College. The natural location of the College is spectacular and not to be forgotten. We used to go out a couple times a week and end up visiting the 'girls' in Brough on the way back. Sometimes they even joined us.
By: Michael Pidzamecky '85
George Bush may be credited with the phrase “no student left behind”, but in actual fact the theory has been practiced by Dr. Smet for over 30 years. Dr. Smet would always ensure that each of his students understood a lesson before moving on – even if it meant having to teach it ten different ways. He was known for always having an open office door where any student could drop in for extra help, advice and encouragement.
So great was his dedication to his students that many believe an urban myth was created. This myth purports that at the stroke of midnight on the night before every math exam, Dr. Smet would appear out of thin air in the College Library and in a passionate voice say: “O.K., who needs help for tomorrow’s exam!” Is it a myth like Santa Claus? Although I still wait every Christmas Eve to see Santa Claus, I never had to wait on the eve of an exam to see Dr. Smet.
Vernon Fernandes ‘85
The class of 1985-86 loved Eddy. At the final exams in 1983, we presented our “tribute to Eddy” book to him. Basically, we took cut- outs of his face and stuck them on newspaper photographs. He loved it! We had “Eddy days” where we all buttoned up our shirts right to the top like him and attended his class. Dr. Smet went out of his way to help all of his students and I will never forget his dedication and kindness shown to us all.”
By: Sandra Datars Bere, President, Huron Alumni Association
Professor Burd was truly a wonderful man and ambassador for the College... and the instructor who helped me develop a love of stats! (I know... how could anyone love stats!) Professor Burd in fact had a continuing impact on my life long after I graduated. In my second year he developed a stats book for us, which in fact I used some 20 years later in my Master’s program. I have remained indebted to Professor Burd over the years, and was sad to hear that he had passed away.
Late 80s and Early 90s Photobook.pdf
By: Andrew Mitchell ‘94
Everyone who came across Eddy in my era at Huron felt privileged to be a student in his class. Eddy is an incredibly intelligent, passionate, and energetic person. He always puts others’ interests ahead of his own. He has been the deserving winner of numerous student awards for sacrificing countless unpaid hours to provide extra help every week to ensure that his students succeeded. In many cases, his students found they enjoyed math for the first time because of Eddy’s passion for the subject and his sense of humour.
I have so many fond memories it's hard for me to pinpoint just a few.
Any lecture by Dr. Leighton. He has such a way of captivating his class. The man is truly inspiring.
My favourite performance by The Huron Underground Dramatic Society was, I think in 1999, The Last Wish Baby.
My time with the HUCSC is something which will never be forgotten.
Earning 90% on an essay from Dr. David Blair. Never in my life did I think that would happen.
By: Marty McKendry '06
2006 Huron alumnus Marty McKendry? Is he the one with the sharp mind, unbreakable code of honour and handsome, ruddy demeanour? Perhaps. And Marty is also the sometimes pompous author of this article.
So let’s cut to the chase and call spades exactly what they are: spades. When Alumni Director Ken Andrews asks me to jump, I just ask how insanely high he needs me. In the clouds? In the stars? Just let me strap on my jet pack. So when Ken asked me to write an article about my current professional endeavours, I agreed immediately.
I asked, “When do you need the article?” He said, “Five minutes ago.” I said, “Done. Done like last night’s dinner, Ken.” I then simulated the sound of an oven timer going off and we shook hands. So why might my activities be of interest to the general alumni readership?
I’ll tell you why. I was a staff writer for the final season of CBC’s Royal Canadian Air Farce, and – as Huron is a liberal arts college – it is generally interesting to see Huron graduates pursuing the arts, even the silly arts. This was my second season with the Farce and people always ask me how I got started.
Well, in many ways it began at Huron. In my second year I became heavily involved with the Huron Underground Dramatic Society. Along with various chums, I co-wrote and performed in quite a few comedy shows with illustrious titles like: Tastefully Offended, The House of Ha!, and the unforgettable Komedie Nacht. Though I had previous associations with dodgy summer camp productions and high school assemblies, Huron was my first proper crack at proper script writing.
I must note that this opportunity was created by Huron’s atmosphere as a liberal arts college with a vibrant, artistically and intellectually involved student community. For that I am grateful. In this age of cheap internet thrills and Red Bull vodkas, it can be difficult to find young people with a palate for theatre. Huron’s students hungered, and we fed.
Yet it was Huron that hosted the banquet. Huron’s facilities, faculty, and leadership were superior. I am grateful to them for my Huron experience and encourage Huron contemporaries to pursue creative ends, for they are sweet.
Air Farce was a fun and rewarding place to work and I’m grateful for my modest success. Now that it’s over, I intend to try to sell people other written products of my imagination. Hopefully humour proves recession-proof.
The main things I remember are meeting some of my best friends. Sociology with Tess Hooks and "the girl in the red sweater next to Paul, please." Going to watch t.v. with the girls on Thursday nights in Hellmuth, Dr. Leighton's lectures, Valentine Roger, Dr. Owens and Dr. Blocker. The profs were always there if you needed them. Oh, Yogen Fruz in the caf after every meal. The breakfast lady (can't remember her name). She was so sweet. Purnell. Long walks. Good chats.