Recollections of Waterloo College
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$29.95 Paper, 160 pp.
When Flora Roy accepted a teaching position at Waterloo College in 1948, she imagined it would be a temporary posting until she finished her dissertation and returned to Toronto or another large Canadian university. Little did she know that, as head of the English department, she would stay on and find herself involved in local controversies.
This memoir recalls Roy’s early days at Waterloo College (when its standards were still supervised by the University of Western Ontario) and traces the gradual pressures to merge with the new University of Waterloo. As history shows, Waterloo College resisted what was seen then as corporate pressure and became instead an independent and much-loved institution called Waterloo Lutheran University (which later became Wilfrid Laurier University). The story of the transformation of Waterloo College into Waterloo Lutheran University is told through anecdotes and shows that, despite its size, the small campus was very connected to the larger world.
The royalties from the sale of this book will be directed towards funding scholarships.
All photographs were used with the kind permission of Wilfrid Laurier University Archives and Special Collections.
Please note that in future printings, the third last paragraph of Recollections of Waterloo College will be corrected to read as follows:
I have been circuitous about this, but I should now admit that I feel that a concession to candidates for academic employment, that indicates that they have not the time, or the endurance or may we say the ability to go further, throws a shadow over those who take advantage of it. In addition, it suggests that they are not especially fitted for the rigours of life as university faculty members.
From 1948 until her retirement in 1978, Flora Roy taught courses in almost every period of English literature, including Old and Middle English and 18th century (her own specialization). She established English 348 (world literature) in 1963 and taught it until 1978. After retirement, she developed and taught courses in Irish and children’s literature.
“It has become conventional recently in academic circles to avoid [the] use of the title ‘Doctor,’ presumably out of deference to the medical profession, but Dr. Roy has thus been known on the campus of her university for so long that it strikes us as incongruous to use any other form of address or reference. It is worth recalling, furthermore, that the original meaning of the word ‘doctor’ is teacher, and no one is worthier of that designation than Flora Roy. Dr. Roy has been a teacher—an inspired and distinguished one—virtually all her adult life; and for the past thirty years she has been professor and head of the English Department at the institution known successively as Waterloo College, Waterloo Lutheran University, and (since 1973) Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ontario.”
— James Doyle, from The Practical Vision: Essays in English Literature in Honour of Flora Roy, WLU Press, 1978
“To the very few women who were teaching n Ontario’s universities at the time of the great expansion in the 1960s, Flora Roy is a legendary figure. To many others, academic colleagues and former students, she has continued to be just that through all the years since....Flora Roy is unique among Canadian academics. She shepherded her department through perilous times without compromising her standards or adjusting them to meet the noisy demands of fad or faction. The successes and devotion of her students are her continuing testimony.”
— Clara Thomas, Canadian Woman Studies
“What does one make of Flora Roy’s memoirs? Endearing, perhaps. Malicious, sometimes. Insightful, depending on one’s point of view or demand for scholarly accuracy. Read them, but be wary.”
— Kenneth McLaughlin, University of Toronto Quarterly, Letters in Canada 2005
“The author was very much part of the politics (church, government, and academic) and the personal and social relationships that shaped the institution’s evolution; the subjective, first-hand perspective she offers contributes valuable insights into the dynamics of postsecondary development during a period of critical growth and change.... Recollections offer the reader compelling vignettes of student and faculty life, and that of the larger community.... With its unique and balanced perspective, Recollections is a fine contribution to both social and educational history.”
— Alexander D. Gregor, Canadian Book Review Annual
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