University's Post-War Growth
Dr Tory continued to be involved with the Khaki University in England until 1919. One of his most illustrious finds was Edward Corbett. Corbett, a native of Nova Scotia, had been serving overseas during World War I when he contracted tuberculosis and suffered from the dreadful effects of exposure to mustard gas. He helped Tory at the Khaki University for a short time before being sent home to fully recover.
At the end of the war, Albert Ottewell, director of the Department of Extension, resumed his boundless work. In 1920, Tory offered Corbett a job at the University of Alberta as an assistant to Ottewell. Tory always had an uncanny eye for talent. Corbett’s input into the growth and development of the Department of Extension proved invaluable. Ottewell and Corbett had a passion for adult education and were instrumental in bringing lectures, films, and travelling libraries to rural Alberta.
By 1922, two Canadian universities and dozens of American universities had their own radio stations. The Department of Extension recognized radio’s capacity to reach remote Alberta communities. In 1925, the University began airing agricultural topics and music through CJCA, Edmonton’s first commercial radio station. CKUA, the University’s own station, began broadcasting on November 21, 1927. In 1928, Ottewell left his position as the Director of Extension to become the University’s Registrar. Corbett took over as the Director of the Department of Extension.
As president, Tory was a strong, energetic, enthusiastic leader who often surrounded himself with like-minded individuals. Under his lead, Faculty Deans were more than capable of looking after their faculties. For example, at the end of the war, many University members were disappointed by the Canadian government’s slow response in supporting and helping soldiers return to civilian living and to their educational pursuits.
As the University’s History Trails website indicates, in L.P.V. Johnson’s “The First Fifty Years as Five Deans Found Them”, Faculty of Agriculture Dean E.A. Howes recounted a trip he took to Ottawa to get help for his soldier students:
The President was heading the Khaki University in England, so I went to Premier Charles Stewart and asked him to send me to Ottawa to see just what was the trouble. He consented and I paid a visit to the capital. I must not go into details, but I want to state that, for the first time I had an experience of military swank and red tape. I was forced to use unparliamentary language but I was lucky in getting to the bottom of things. I found that the members of our Faculty had been described as a bunch of well-meaning but rather impractical men, who would be simply out of their depth if they were given the task of instructing returned men. Perhaps my forcible language helped to disillusion the Ottawa officials; at any rate they treated us quite liberally. They paid a tuition fee for each soldier student and the Province bore the cost of extra equipment.
We began this work in early fall and continued it without any vacation for two years. Our course lasted five months, made up of units of one-month's duration, so that a soldier could enter at the beginning of any month. We opened with an enrollment of one hundred and ten. We gave instruction in Animal Husbandry, Field Crops, Soils, Horticulture, Dairying, Poultry, Blacksmithing and Carpentry. We strove to make the instruction fit the needs of men of inexperience who wanted to farm. Of course not a few of those men took the course because of the maintenance grant and because of a desire to do something for a change. However, the majority really wanted to learn. Speaking for the members of our Faculty, I can say it was a fine experience.
By 1922, the Faculty of Agriculture had thirteen staff.
After the 1915 construction of the Arts Building and the North and South Labs/Power Plant, no other construction had taken place on campus. Tory was fervent in his goal to house the Faculty of Medicine in its own building and provide it with a full program. This was achieved in 1921 with the construction of the Medicine Building.
A number of positive factors contributed to Tory’s ambition for the Faculty of Medicine:
- Tory obtained a $5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for the improvement and development of leading medical schools.
- The University regained control of the hospital from the army so that it could become a teaching hospital.
- Dr Tory arranged a sabbatical year and a Rockefeller Traveling Fellowship for Dr James Collip, a brilliant University of Alberta scientist and teacher.
In Toronto, Collip worked with Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and R.R. Macleod on diabetes research and the discovery of insulin. Of the four researchers, Collip has received the least worldwide attention. When Macleod was announced as a co-recipient of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Medicine, he shared his award money with Collip. When Collip returned to the University of Alberta, he was promoted to full Professor and Head of the new Biochemistry Department. He brought with him substantial research money from his share of the insulin patent; a $5000 grant from the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to equip his laboratories in the new Medical building; and a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation.
While Agriculture and Medicine were the University’s large growth faculties during the 1920s, there were other areas of incremental growth in faculties such as Pharmacy, Home Economics, and Commerce. In the early 1920s, Dentistry became a separate school and the School of Nursing opened in 1924. In 1921, J.A. Weir became the first full-time faculty member in Law, and became Law’s first Dean in 1922. Political Economy had been taught in the History department but was separated into its own department. In 1921, D.A. MacGibbon became the head of the Department of Political Economy.
Tory wanted a larger Roman Catholic representation on campus so he contributed personal financing and arranged a $100,000 grant from Carnegie Foundation to have St Joseph’s College built. St Joseph’s opened in 1927 and provided residential accommodation for about 100 students.
In 1928, an agreement between the University and the Department of Education led to the creation of a site on the south end of campus for a new Normal School, which was later renamed Corbett Hall. The training of teachers began that year and allowed the University to establish a School of Education.