Henry Marshall Tory (1908–1928)
Henry Marshall Tory was a dynamic and energetic educator who based his strong actions on underlying and cherished ideals. He was often heard to say “I am a pioneer”, and, indeed, he was, founding numerous research centres and universities. Tory was a passionate supporter of university education and created a strong foundation on which Canadian research could grow.
Original: History Trails
Henry Marshall Tory was born January 11, 1864 in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. He received a teaching certificate from the Guysborough Academy and taught in rural schools for two years. At the age of 22, Tory enrolled in an Honours program in mathematics and physics at McGill University. He graduated in 1890 with an Honours BA and a gold medal. Tory then continued his studies at the Wesleyan College, Montreal, a theological school affiliated with McGill University. After receiving a BD degree, he took a preaching post in a city church for two years. He became a Lecturer in Mathematics at McGill in 1893 and received an MA (Mathematics) in 1896. He became a demonstrator of Physics while continuing to lecture in mathematics and received the DSc degree in 1903. That same year, he became Associate Professor of Mathematics.
Tory married Annie Gertrude Frost in 1893. They remained married until her death in 1938. Throughout their married life, Mrs Tory played the part of the ideal hostess, stimulating a social and cultural atmosphere in their various homes.
In 1906, Tory was sent on an ambassador mission to appraise the possibility of creating a branch of McGill University in British Columbia. Tory was a wise and friendly diplomat, combining a human quality with great astuteness. In 1906, Tory became the founder and first Principal of McGill College, Vancouver, which, in 1915, became the University of British Columbia.
In 1907, the first Alberta government founded its university and selected Dr Tory as president. The University of Alberta opened its doors in September 1908, with five professors and 32 students. It gave its first degrees in May 1912. By the time Tory left the University in May 1928, there were 1,600 students.
During World War I (1914–18), Dr Tory wanted to participate in the war effort. He drew up a plan and organized regular study courses for Canadian soldiers in England, which led to the creation of an Educational Section of the Army known as "Khaki College". Tory went to England in 1918 to be President of Khaki College. This College was especially important during the demobilization period as it provided soldiers with a steadying and disciplined influence. This project was also the forerunner of numerous other educational projects implemented by other military forces.
Dr Tory was dedicated to enhancing scientific research across Canada, and he played an instrumental role in founding the Alberta Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. In 1919, he became the Council's first chairman. After leaving the University of Alberta in 1928, Tory went to Ottawa where he helped found the National Research Council. He served as the Council's president from 1928 to 1935.
Even after his official retirement, Tory was still committed to encouraging post-secondary institutions. In 1942, he founded Carleton College, which later became Carleton University, in Ottawa. He was President of Carleton College until his death in 1947.
The Henry Marshall Tory Building at the University of Alberta is named is his honour, as are the Henry Marshall Tory Teaching Chairs.