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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Yet Another Queen's-Royal Bank Tie

Re: “Carrying the ball for Queen’s”
ISSUE #4-2012, P. 26

I’ve just finished reading the Fall issue with pleasure. I have met cover story ­author Gordon Pitts, Arts’69, Ed’70, and think he’s a first-rate writer. I’ve also had occasion to interview both Gord Nixon and Allan Taylor; Taylor is, I think, the epitome of a solid banker citizen who is devoted to his organization and his country. So I found Gordon Pitts’ article excellent.

If I may, I’d like to add another dimension to the relationship of Queen’s and the Royal Bank of Canada RBC. This arises out of my 1993 book Quick to the Frontier: Canada’s Royal Bank. This third significant Royal Bank connection with the University is W. Earle McLaughlin, BA’36. He came to Queen’s from Oshawa – the dominant pre-1960s catchment area for Queen’s students being small-town eastern Ontario – where he was a cousin of motor mogul Sam McLaughlin, a staunch supporter of Queen’s.

 W. E. McLaughlin receives the Montreal meda, 1967W. Earle McLaughlin, BA’36, Chairman and President of the RBC (left), received the Montreal Medal in 1967 from Branch President Raymond M. Bassett, BA’50. The medal recognizes “meritorious contributions to the honour of Queen’s University.” (Review file photo)

W. Earle McLaughlin studied history and economics at Queen’s, drawing on the wisdom of such great teachers as Frank Knox, BA’23, LLD’65. Earle graduated in 1936, winning the gold medal in Economics. Such was his promise that one of his professors, Clifford Curtis, LLD’73, in Political Economy, pushed him in the direction of the Royal Bank – by then Canada’s largest and most progressive bank – as an avenue to a solid career in the depths of the Depression.

Earle was quickly hired. He was a pioneer of a new kind of Canadian banker – the university-trained banker. Hitherto, bankers had been trained on the job. They were bright high school graduates who were picked out by local bank managers and fed into the system as “bank boys.” Think of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches and Peter Pupkin, the clean-shaven bank teller in Mariposa in his white shirt, tie, and suit. They learned on the job, and if they were worthy they too would one day become bank managers.

(By the way, Queen’s aided this process by offering extension courses for the Canadian Bankers’ Association and by ­letting its professors serve as editors of The Canadian Banker journal, a tradition that lasted down to the 1960s.)

Earle’s hiring reflected a slow shift in this attitude – let the universities prepare the would-be bankers, and then apply the final polish on the job. Earle’s starting salary was $750 a year, $250 more than his high school graduate chums at the bank. Well, the Royal’s investment in Earle paid a handsome dividend. By 1960, at the age of 45, he became the bank’s chief executive, a post he held until 1979. Under his direction, the bank expanded immensely and addressed some tough challenges, not the least of which was the need to make banking a woman’s business, too, and not just a male club.

Ironically, Allan Taylor, LLD’91, who took on McLaughlin’s mantle in RBC’s head office from 1986 to 1995 did not go to university, but joined the bank in North Battleford at the age of 16. He, too, left a strong imprint on the bank and proved that a clever “bank boy” could still excel. But Taylor nonetheless became a fervent believer in the power of post-secondary education.

Earle McLaughlin never forgot Queen’s. He served on the Board of Trustees, headed a capital campaign in the late 1960s, and lent his name to several Royal Bank scholarships and academic ­positions at Queen’s. Canadian banking has changed tremendously since the 1930s: McLaughlin and Taylor were products of Canada’s established strength in retail banking, while Gordon Nixon – perhaps predictably as a rugby player – more recently emerged from the more globalized world of investment banking. The Royal has long employed blue and gold colours to project its image; W. Earle McLaughlin, Allan Taylor, and Gordon Nixon have added a subtle touch of red to that image.


The writer, Emeritus Professor (History) at Carleton University in Ottawa, is writing Vol. III of the official history of Queen’s, to be published in 2016 as part of the University’s 175th anniversary celebrations. – Ed.

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I was very glad to see Allan Taylor’s contributions to Queen’s recognized.

I would add to the list the endowment given to Queen’s by RBC in the early 1990s. Through Taylor – and the efforts of then-Dean Paul Park – the Faculty of Education received a million dollar endowment from the Bank to support math, science, and technology education. I was the first director of the Math, Science, and Technology Education Centre at the Faculty, which was supported by that endowment. As you say, Queen’s and the RBC have strong connections.

My father, who worked for RBC in Montreal and later in Cuba, took bankers’ courses offered by Queen’s in the 1940s, and so I have a personal connection to this tradition.


The writer is Emeritus Professor (Education). – Ed.

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The Mallories who Conquered Everest

Re: “On top of the world”
ISSUE #4-2012, P. 64

Atop Mt. Everest

I read with great interest the Bookstand article about Above All Things, the novel written by Tanis Rideout, Artsci’99. I have heard many positive comments on this book and intend to read it.

It might be of note that I am related to George Mallory and thankfully have summited Mount Everest and, unlike George Mallory, returned safely to tell the story.

Also as an aside, I summited with my two sons, both of whom are Queen’s ­engineering grads: Alan Mallory, Sc’07, and Adam Mallory, Sc’08.


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The Winds of Controversy

Re: Complaints about turbines and QAR coverage
LETTERS, ISSUE #3 2012, P. 3

Contrary to a claim made by Dr. ­Barrie Gilbert, Arts’62, in his Letter to the Editor, the wind energy industry is committed to continuously researching and improving our understanding of avian and bat interactions with wind turbines even though the relative contribution to overall avian and bat mortality from wind turbines is very small. The wind energy industry globally – and here in Ontario – has a strong track record of partnering with academic researchers, regulators and wildlife organizations to ensure development of wind energy is ­responsible and sustainable.

In Canada, we have partnered with the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bird Studies Canada to create and maintain the Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database that provides the information required to assess the impact of wind turbines and inform the development of appropriate regulatory frameworks and mitigation requirements.

Wind energy production is emissions-free and does not contribute to climate change. Atmospheric pollutant emissions and climate change are the biggest threats to avian wildlife, not wind turbines. As the Ontario Environmental Commissioner notes, wind farms in the province go through an extensive process to ensure that they are sited with respect for habitats and wildlife. These requirements are informed by the best available science and consider and account for the sensitivity of different sites

In a separate letter on p. 4, R.J. Bradshaw, Arts’58, makes the basic error of comparing the cost of new wind energy to the cost of existing power generation. A meaningful analysis would instead compare the cost to alternative forms of electricity generation that could be built today. Wind energy is cost-competitive with almost all forms of new electricity generation (e.g., nuclear, hydro, and coal with carbon capture).

While electricity from natural gas is cheaper than wind today, there is no guarantee that natural gas costs will remain at today’s rate. Just a few years ago electricity from natural gas-fired projects was more expensive than electricity from wind. Wind energy’s costs are also continuing to fall. According to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “The cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines will drop 12 per cent in the next five years thanks to a mix of lower-cost equipment and gains in output efficiency.”
Today, wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sources of new, clean ­electricity around the world, not just in Canada. There are sound economic and environmental reasons for this.


The letter writer is President of Anemos Energy Corporation, a developer of small, community-based wind projects. – Ed.

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Missing Grey Cup Alumni

Re: “The Grey Cup’s Tricolour hue”
ISSUE #4-2012, P. 30

I think you missed Bayne Norrie, Arts’65, Arts/PHE’66, MBA’68, on the list of alumni who played for Grey Cup winners. He played for the Eskimos from 1969 to 1975, and the Eskies won the Cup in 1975, so he was on that team. I believe his father, Joe Norrie, BSc’26, played for the Gaels as well. If you are in touch with “Boze” (short for “Bozo,” his father’s nickname), say hello to him for me. We were good friends during our student years, but as happens so often, I haven’t seen him since then.


Joe “Bozo” Norrie did indeed play for the Tricolour, suiting up in 1925, for the University’s third and final Grey Cup championship season. It is an interesting footnote that Joe and Bayne Norrie were the first father-and-son combination to have their names inscribed on the Grey Cup. – Ed.

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W.A. "Doc" CampbellW.A. "Doc" Campbell

I was excited and filled with pride when I saw the two-page photo of the 1923 football team. My grandfather “Doc” Campbell, MD’24, was the captain of that Grey Cup-winning team, and I was certain his name would be mentioned in the ­Review’s article.

It was, but my stomach dropped when I saw that his given name was listed incorrectly. For the record: it was not John, but rather William Adam or Bill – “Doc” was his nickname.


Speaking of “Doc” … Dr. James Heslin, Meds’59, of Toronto called the Review to alert us that the list of medical grads who played on the Grey Cup teams should have included Presley McLeod, BA’21, MD’26. ­Heslin came to know McLeod, whom he met in the course of his medical career. – Ed

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After reading Merv Daub’s article, I was happy to see another echo of Queen’s role in Grey Cup history in a Toronto Star pre-game salute to the top 10 coaches of those first 99 Grey Cup teams. Ranked fourth among them was Billy Hughes – ”Queen’s University, Hamilton Tigers and Ottawa Rough ­Riders.” The Star’s citation read: “The first coach to win the Grey Cup four times, Hughes won three in a row (1922-24) with a Queen’s squad that outscored its three opponents 78-4. He also won with Hamilton in 1932.”

Having “apprenticed” for the Review when the late, great football booster Herb Hamilton, BA’32, LLD’75, was both Director of Alumni Affairs and Review editor, and when former player Jim Wright, Arts’28, was office manager, I had the great pleasure and honour of meeting many of those history-making players. I heard some great games replayed when coffee breaks in the old Union drew the likes of Frank Leadlay, Harry Batstone, Bill Campbell, Pres McLeod, and Jim ­Saylor. I took much pleasure in having for my desk Pep ­Leadlay’s old drafting table and tabaret, moved from Engineering Drawing at his request. And by the way, those fine old sports gentlemen treated “newbie” Frank Tindall, LLD’89, like a god.

Review Editor 
(Proud Michael J. Rodden Award Winner)

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A Kind, Caring, and Understanding Person

Re: “Jean Royce – Queen’s University incarnate”
ISSUE #4-2012, P. 38

I found special meaning in Prof. Emeritus' Roberta Hamilton’s interesting and well-deserved tribute to Jean Royce. Before expressing my own tribute to her, please let me offer some background information.

I was raised in a small mixed farming community in southern Alberta. The Great depression and WWII years were ­difficult, and like most, our family struggled financially. The little hamlet, Hill Spring (43 km southeast of Pincher Creek), is where I attended school. I had aspirations to attend university upon graduating from high school, but because of our economic situation, it did not seem possible that I’d be able to live that dream.

In my final year of high school, the school received a brochure about Queen’s University. I was so impressed with the pictures of the campus, the programs offered, and the historical background of Queen’s. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be if I could go to Queen’s and graduate with a degree from that great Canadian institution. However, I ­realized that it would not happen.

Upon graduating from high school in 1944, I entered the army. When the war ended in 1945, I received my discharge from the army in Regina in mid-September. The officer officiating at my discharge procedure informed me that because of my high school records and my 13 months army service, I qualified for veterans’ assistance to attend university.

I remembered the Queen’s brochure; perhaps my dream could be realized after all. I immediately made a long-distance phone call to Queen’s to inquire if I could register for the upcoming term. The lady who answered the phone obtained the information required and informed me that I could come to Queen’s. She was so positive and helpful. It was Jean Royce.

Time being short, I phoned my parents to inform them of the good news, and then I boarded the Canadian Pacific Railway train in Regina, bound for Kingston. Following a memorable autumn train ride, I arrived at the Kingston station in my army uniform carrying my army kit bag. Taking a taxi, I went directly to campus. The driver dropped me off at the administration offices. For several minutes, I stood in awe as I viewed the limestone buildings at Queen’s, the lawns, and the majestic trees.

I was taken to the office of the Registrar, and there I met Jean Royce. The nervous, uncertain ex-farm boy and soldier was immediately put at ease by the kind, understanding, helpful and considerate Miss Royce. She made me feel welcome and comfortable, and unhurried. Together, we decided that the Commerce program would be a good one for me. We completed the necessary registration paperwork and then she phoned the Royal Military College (RMC), which was providing living quarters and meals to ex-servicemen who were attending Queen’s.

Royce registered me to live at RMC and then arranged transportation to take me over there. As I left Jean Royce’s office, she shook my hand, wished me well, and offered her assistance should I need it. She was so helpful to me and to the hundreds of other ex-servicemen who attended Queen’s at the time.
I spent four wonderful years on ­campus, graduating in 1949. Those years were truly among the highlights of my life’s journey. Jean Royce was an important part of that experience. I’ll always be grateful to her for her kindness, understanding, and help. She truly is one of Queen’s greatest and best-loved figures.


After graduating from Queen’s the writer worked in the petroleum and life insurance industries for more than a decade before ­returning to university to earn a teaching degree. He then embarked on a long career as a high school principal in the Calgary system. – Ed.

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Roberta Hamilton’s article on Jean Royce triggered an unforgettable reflection for me. I recall her comment as she looked at my less than stellar average from my second attempt at Grade 13 back in 1963. She said, “I’ll let you in. You’re lucky we need ministers.”

She was probably shaking her head when I finally graduated from Theology College nine years later.
I wish I had shown her my DMin diploma in 1994 and thanked her for letting me slip in under the door.
Forty years later I am still at it as “retired supply minister.” Thank you, Jean.


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A Special Time for Special Olympians

Re: “A warm Queen’s welcome for Special Olympians”
ISSUE #4-2012, P. 55

Special Olympics coachesSpecial Olympics coaches (l-r) Michael Fishbein, Artsci’01; Chris Ball, Artsci’03; Eric Ward, Artsci’03; and, Michael Douglas, Com’03.

Everyone I’ve talked to – and that includes the four grads mentioned – have offered very positive feedback to this article. The 2012 Ontario Special Olympics Spring Games, which were held on campus in May, were one of the rare times in the lives of the athletes that they have been on campus, something those of us who are alumni have experienced and enjoyed tremendously. And the example of the four grads reaching out to people with special needs makes a real difference in our communities, especially if it inspires others to do the same. Thanks again for publishing this article. 


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Remembering Al Gorman

Re: “In Memoriam”
ISSUE #1-2013, P. 15

Fifty years ago, I was faced with a dilemma. What course should I take to satisfy the science requirement for my BA degree? Then some friends told me about Geology 1, which was taught by Alan “Doc” Gorman, a lively young professor who made the study of boring old rocks interesting and fun. An added bonus for me was the location – lots of handsome geology students hung out in Miller Hall.

Many of them became life-long friends. To hone my mineral identifications skills, they would unearth obscure samples, which the professor routinely presented at exam time. Another fellow, Jim Stephenson, Sc’60 – not a geologist, but rather a miner – tried to help me comprehend what structural geology was all about. It never happened. Instead, he became my husband. Ah, the benefits of taking a class in Miller Hall.

Nearly everything I studied at Queen’s has disappeared into the abyss of memory, except what I learned in Geology 1. On a recent trip to Nunavut I saw firsthand the things that Doc Gorman had talked about, such as hanging glaciers and terminal moraines. When Jim and I travel around North America in our RV, I study the rock formations, and sometimes I get them right. I’m content that I have some understanding of how the earth was formed and how it has changed over time.

Sadly, I now will no longer be able to tell my favorite professor how much I enjoyed being one of his students. I know I’m just one of the thousands who feel the same way.


[Queen's Alumni Review 2013-1 cover]