Wade MacLauchlan

Primary tabs

Slide - 50 years, 50 voice - Wade MacLauchlan - 00:00
My name is Wade MacLauchlan, I came to UPEI as a 17 year old student in the
fall of 1972, that would be the 4th year that the University existed as
UPEI, prior to coming, I had been a student through various grade school
and high school stages including as a page in the Provincial Legislature,
just trying to set the scene and head of various associations with the
University over the years and came back to UPEI in 1999 as President, and
served for 12 years until 2011, and I'm now President Emeritus of UPEI.

Slide - UPE: Standing on Tall Shoulders - 00:52
So let me start by challenging the fifty year kind of claim. My claim to
UPEI's roots go back, goes back much earlier to the early decades of the
19th century, with the establishment of Prince of Wales College and it's
predecessors; and Saint Dunstan's College and later Saint Dunstan's
University. So we, and I'm always very I’ll say committed to this, to say
that we stand on tall shoulders. UPEI is fortunate to have had those
foundations to build on when the time came to commit as we did and I'm very
proud to be one of the people whose benefited from this, and helped to
contribute to it when it came time to have our own Provincial university;
and indeed I was around in the legislature in those days when this was all
taking place in the comprehensive development plan, as a young page or
grade 10 and then grade 11 student, watching all of this unfold and then
later had the opportunity to dig into this in a sustained way writing the
political biography of Alex Campbell who was the premier at the time.

Slide - Alex B. Campbell and UPEI's beginnings - 02:32 
Not very many people were proposing anything as dramatic as a single
Provincial university, and I don't think Alex Campbell arrived into
political life and he would...I should say I don't think I know that Alex
Campbell didn't arrive into political life with that as his kind of
intended legacy, and I know that he didn't go into the spring sitting of
the 1968’s Provincial Legislature with that as an intended priority. But
there were a lot of good thinking Prince Edward Islanders who were looking
to move things forward; we were getting rid of one room schools at a
furious rate; we went from having oh not far off 400 one room schools to
having none in the space of a decade. In that context, we created a whole
senior high school system and indeed I think if we hadn't created those
senior high schools, we probably wouldn't've had the same impetus to create
the University of Prince Edward Island, all of that was coming together in
a time where money was scarce it's always it's always scarce when time was
forward very quickly, when people were you know, it was the baby boom, it
was a time of growth and development and really came down to over the space
of you know probably a week somebody had to do something and fortunately we
had a Premiere who realized that between Friday and Tuesday, something had
to happen, and all of the good sense, all of the rationale, all of the
historical development that was leading towards the University of Prince
Edward Island crystallized, now here's the lesson for I don't know you may
as well say generations but in any event, for some period of time that you
can't quite count; this decision, this move, to put our two post-secondary
institutions together into a single university was treated as a third rail,
how would anybody do this and survive, would all who knows what kind of
commotion was going to break out if anyone even spoke about this, let alone
did it. And between 10 o’clock on that Tuesday morning of April 2nd,
1968, and sometime Tuesday evening just about everybody with any kind of
and people with sense; people who cared about this, kind of shrugged and
said "Well, finally" [laughter] "Finally somebody did this" and, you know,
life went on.

Slide - UPEI's Early Years - 06:02 
UPEI had opened its doors or got going as UPEI in the fall of 1969, but
there was still a lot of work to do, to grow programs, to bring the
policies of the two founding institutions Prince of Wales College and Saint
Dunstan's University together; to catch up with all the things that were
happening in the day, so I suppose Senate met…oh probably every two
weeks, if sometimes more often than that, and I was sitting in there as a
youngster taking it all in and making what contribution was there to be
made. Some of my professors that I dealt with later reminded me from time
to time that I was probably the first one that questioned the amount of
smoking that took place in classrooms and in Senate meetings back in the
day, so we actually put a stop to the smoking in Senate meetings so that
stands out as my one small contribution.

Slide - Father Bolger: Worth every cent - 07:12 
One of the popular professors was Father Bolger, who taught those big
classes in Canadian and PEI history, and I took both the Canadian and
Island history courses from Father Bolger; I remember in the winter of 1974
and this brings out another piece which was there were we were kind of at
an age, and it was the time when you were looking to get in on a stir or
students didn't mind kind of being a little off-beat, I might say, it was
the 70’s, we were still trying to catch up on the 60’s, I think in any
event, the student newspaper, The Cadre, managed by whatever process it was
never known to get it's hands on the salaries of the professors, at least
those who were earning in the higher bracket I think the higher bracket
might've been around twenty thousand dollars, if it was that and one of the
people who was by that point more senior Father Bolger, was on that list
and we had our Canadian History class with him at I'll say, 10:30 and we
went there with lots of anticipation of what was might be said about this
and it was in one of those large classrooms in one of those army surplus
buildings RN-RNA; and they might have been on the order of a hundred and
forty or fifty students with all everybody with a chair that moved and
scraped; but when he came in and this was the daily thing when Father
Bolger arrived he, sort of quietly pad his way on those soft sole shoes up
through the classroom, and things would get quiet pretty fast, so this was
taking place that morning and as he'd make his way up through the class and
he had no notes, didn't need them he'd start and he'd say "I suppose you
saw it, Mr. MacLauchlan?", "What about you, Cullen?" He didn't expect an
answer, didn't dare give one, and went up through, probably asked this or
something like it for another four or five people in the class he knew
everybody by name and by the time he got to the front of the class, I think
we were all kind of on edge, whatever drama was to be created, was the
scene was set and he got to the front of the class and turned on that soft
sole shoe and said, you know very quietly, you could almost not hear it
through the room, but you could hear he said "I'm worth every cent of it"
and that was the end of that [laughter].

Slide - Robertson Library - 10:16 
Well I was a student from 1972 to '76, and my first memory of the Robertson
Library which opened... I'll say it was in the late spring of '75, I don't
have the exact date, but I certainly recall being here probably in part-way
through my third year was, and probably continues to be that lounge looking
down over Belvedere Avenue, that had those big, comfortable, multicolored
chairs and on a winter's day with the southern with the sun in the southern
sky some pretty bright sunlight, so I spent some time sleeping [laughs].

Slide - Spreading Knowledge - 11:12 
In 1998 and 1999, we were still kind of discovering the internet I might as
well say. More and more things were being made available digitally, or
electronically but it was still happening and nothing came for free. And to
walk into the library this morning in July the 12th, 2019, and see that
there's a I think what's now called the reference desk, there's no longer a
checkout counter, there’s a, I came actually to ask about a particular
publication and my first question was "Is it not available electronically?"
It turns out it's not but to know how the whole I might call, metier the
whole location of information you know has changed, changed to the point
where we’re now probably gonna spend the next decade trying to figure out
how we are going to get our privacy back so, the world has changed that
much in effectively two decades. The thing that hasn't changed is that the
Library and the services that it offers, and the information that it I
don't like to use the word holds, you know, hold information, just kind of
spread it but the information that it spreads and shares it's still the
crossroads of this University and of our ability to continue to be

Slide - Final Thoughts - 13:20 
It always goes back to the people; the professors that we made close
connections with in our days as a student. Most of us were coming, you
might say, off the farm; I had come out of a two room school in fact, it
had only gone from being one to two rooms the year I started through my
first 8 years; I then went to Charlottetown Rural, which was had a student
population not far off that of UPEI. So things were changing so fast, but
what didn't change was the friendships; the people that I, the people I
knew then and know today as my best friends those friendships were formed
during those years and I know that that's going to continue for the
duration of my years and for the people who aren't around, many of the
professors that we had in those days aren't here physically today, but the
relationships and what they taught us or what they let us get away with,
which was a part of the learning also and when I say that I think of oh
well, I could start listing any number of people who gave us a break
[laughter] ...in those days and I can say that whether they are around or
not I want them to know that I appreciate the breaks that they gave us, and
the grace that they showed us and the way...I mean above anything else,
what I feel I learned, from and through UPEI is about building community.
So I have every confidence that UPEI will in 10 years and in 50 years be
doing things that we don't necessarily foresee today, but I am equally
confident that where it is doing it's best and where it is taking us as a
Province and a people, where it's taking us the furthest, will be where we
are collectively working with a happy and a fully engaged sense of place.