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The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949


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to victoria college, wellington the university of saint andrews in scotland

sends hearty greeting

In congratulating you on a successful career of fifty years since the foundation of the college, we take special pleasure in the fact that we know that it was the lot of our former alumni, John Rankin Brown and Hugh MacKenzie, to be present in your college at its birth and at its maturity: thus it has happened that the love of liberal studies and philosophy implanted in Scotsmen from old flourished anew among men separated from us by the whole earth.

Now, because in cherishing them you cherish this their alma mater, we find such pleasure that we feel not that we are sending this letter as it were to men unknown, or known only by hear-say, but that in a spirit of almost brotherly affection we are greeting friends and relations. Farewell.

(Signed) James Irvine,

Given at Saint Andrews 18th February, 1948


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of the President

October 21, 1947

Dear Professor Hunter,

It is indeed a privilege to send most cordial greetings and felicitations from the Massa-chusetts Institute of Technology to Victoria University College in recognition of the occasion of its semi-centennial. Your own institution and this Institute are bound together not merely by a common purpose in the education of young people for service of a distinctive character, but also in a more intimate personal way because of our joint appreciation of the great service and our cherished memories of Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, whose name is an honoured one in each institution.

During his relatively brief but extremely brilliant career as an educational leader, Dr Maclaurin first served your college in New Zealand ably and nobly by helping to establish its principles and its ideals of operation, and later on the other side of the globe he had a distinguished and extraordinary career as the President and one of the great builders of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr Maclaurin, ably assisted by his charming wife, brought to America a breadth of view and freshness of outlook that were notable and invigorating, reflecting the energy and hopefulness of your splendid land. His soundness of learning, his judgment, his capacity for friendship, and his ability to influence and to command the service of other great men of character in his new endeavours stamped him as a man of great personality, extraordinary vision, and high executive ability. In yielding him to us in America your institution performed an international service for which we shall ever be grateful. Under his presidency the Massachusetts Institute of Technology not only greatly increased its physical plant and its financial and spiritual resources, but also broadened its influence in the scientific world and the respect in which it was held in lands beyond the sea.

In the dark days of the first World War when perplexing problems arose as to how college students should be trained to render the best service to their country, Dr Maclaurin's patriotism, knowledge of world needs, and capacity for leadership were again exhibited in his work in the establishment of the Student Army Training Corps in American colleges.

It is therefore with a deep and affectionate regard that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sends across the Pacific its greetings, its felicitations, and its best wishes that your College may have a long, happy, and ever expanding success in its service to human welfare, and in its many fields of educational endeavour.

In writing as one of the successors of Dr Maclaurin as the head of this great school for which he gave so much of his splendid energy and devotion, let me add my personal tribute to your great college, and my personal wish that it will enter upon its second half century with constantly growing success and increasing influence in education and human relationships.

Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) Karl T. Compton,

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Master's Lodge,

St John's College, Cambridge, 8 October, 1947

Dear Principal,

It is a great pleasure to my College to send a message to the Victoria University College on the happy occasion of its Jubilee. We take much pride in remembering that a Fellow of St John's, Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, was one of the four foundation Professors of the Victoria University College, linking us with your earliest days. He came to us after graduating at the University of New Zealand and had in Cambridge a career of high academical merit, both as mathematician and lawyer, becoming successively a Scholar, a MacMahon Law Student and a Fellow of the College, and winning distinction in the University as a Wrangler, a Smith's Prizeman, and a Yorke Prizeman.

The work of the foundation Professors was well done and we most cordially congratulate the Victoria University College on the achievements of its first fifty years, on the distinguished scholars whom it has educated and the high position to which it has attained. And with our congratulations we send out best wishes that the College may ever prosper and increase as a place of education, learning and research and continue as in the past to render high service to New Zealand and the Commonwealth.

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) E. A. Benians, Master


Worcester College,

Oxford 31st January, 1948

The provost and fellows of Worcester College, Oxford, at their stated general meeting on 3rd December, 1947, unanimously passed a resolution to send a message of congratulation and goodwill to Victoria University College, Wellington, New Zealand, on the occasion of its Jubilee Celebrations.

The provost and fellows remember the distinguished academic record of Sir John Rankine Brown, K.B.E., LL.D., M.A., sometime Scholar of Worcester College and are proud to think that he was the first Professor of Classics at Victoria University College and that he devoted his abilities to the promotion of Classical studies in New Zealand.

The provost and fellows therefore send to Victoria University College, Wellington, New Zealand, their congratulations on its Jubilee and their warm good wishes for its future fame and prosperity.

J. C. Masterman, Provost.

P. E. Roberts, Vice-Provost.

C. H. Wilkinson, Dean.


University of Glasgow

The university of glasgow has heard with great pleasure that in March, 1949, the Victoria University College of Wellington will celebrate its Jubilee. The University desires to send to Victoria University College a message of greeting and of most cordial wishes.

The University recalls the intimate association of Scotland with the Dominion of New Zealand, and especially the part taken by graduates of the Scottish Universities in building the Colleges and University of New Zealand. Of that association, one fortunate example is the service of Sir John Rankine Brown, a Foundation Professor of the University College and its first Professor of Classics, who assumed his long duty in Wellington after a period of service in the University of Glasgow. The University rejoices also that the Victoria University College and its sister Colleges have amply paid the dues of their nurture, and that they have notably advanced the education, scholarship and science of the Dominion and of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Sharing in the tradition which inspires Victoria University College and facing in its own land the same high tasks, the University of Glasgow congratulates the College on the achievement of the first fifty years, and wishes for it a long and happy and distinguished future in the promotion of good learning and of a wise and enlightened citizenship.

(Signed) Hector Hetherington, Principal.

C. J. Fordyce, Clerk of Senate.

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Doornk loof,



I send Victoria College, Wellington, my warm congratulations on the attainment of its Jubilee, and wish it a prosperous future in the long years ahead.

This message is not unconnected with the memory of the late Richard Maclaurin, who was one of the foundation professors of the College. We were contemporaries at Cambridge University, where we became close friends and where, from him, I first heard of Victoria College.

Subsequently, when I was in a position of some influence in South Africa, I did my best to entice him to South Africa, but the competing claims of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology carried the day, and he became President of that great Institution. He was a great figure in the scientific and University world, and added lustre to whatever institution he was connected with.

And with his memory I join that of another great New Zealand man with whom I formed a later friendship, Ernest Rutherford, one of the supermen of science. My recollection and friendship of these great men blend with the name of Victoria College, to which I send my respectful and sincere salutations on this milestone in its career.

If I may also speak on behalf of our old University of Cambridge and of the University of Cape Town, of both of which I have the honour to be Chancellor, I would add their congratulations and good wishes as well to Victoria College.

(Signed) Smuts