Mr. Vice-Chancellor, Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen. Apart from the occasion of the coming of age of this University I have not addressed the Congregation, as the position has always been so adequately dealt with by the Vice-Chancellor. I propose to say a few words on this occasion as, in all human probability, this is the last Congregation of the University at which I shall have the honour of presiding; and more over I wish to thank the Court for the honour which has been conferred upon me today. I appreciate that honour enormously and am most grateful to the Court. It is an honour which I shall appreciate to the end of my days. It is enhanced by the fact that I have received it in the company of such a distinguished scholar as Dr. Hu Shih. His reputation as a scholar is unrivalled in China and is well known throughout the Far East.
The Vice-Chancellor has already emphasized the help and encouragement which Dr. Hu Shih has given the University in connexion with its Department of Chinese Studies. His presence here today bears witness to the University's persistent purpose to contribute what it can to the revival of Chinese scholarship and culture to which he is devoting his life. His acceptance of the honour just conferred upon him has added distinction to this University.
Value of Engineering
As I have said this is almost certainly the last occasion on which I shall preside over the Congregation and I wish to take the opportunity of making a special appeal for this University. I doubt whether its work and utility are sufficiently appreciated, more especially among the European community in the Colony. There is no doubt that it has done and is doing very fine work and that it is a great asset both to the Colony and to China. It is, however, cramped for funds, with dwindling income - the result largely of lower rates of interest on its endowments - and its future prospects cause me and all those interested in it grave concern. This University must advance or it will inevitably go back and if more funds cannot be obtained the rate of deterioration will be more rapid. Such a contingency is not to be contemplated with equanimity and would indeed be a grave stigma on this Colony. The value of this University to the British Empire is undoubted, not only from a cultural but also from a material point of view. If it can turn out efficient engineering graduates, as it is doing at present, and more especially, if such graduates can in addition get adequate practical experience in England and then take up work in China, the benefit to British trade would undoubtedly be considerable.
I stress this point for there is a tendency to cast doubts on the practical value of this Institution; such a view is entirely erroneous and greatly to be deprecated.
Relations with China
China has a great belief - and justifiably so - in her own capabilities but she is sufficiently long-sighted to appreciate that there is much to be gained from Western knowledge and science and her need especially for scientists and engineers is great. In this direction this University can render valuable assistance, if only it is placed in a sound position to do so.
The further improvement in relations between China and the British Empire is a consummation devoutly to be desired and this can best be achieved through youth and what better channel can there be than the youth of this Institution. We must be able to offer advantages to youth from China and we must give to that youth of our best: this postulates sound and continuous material assistance.
Lord Lugard's Interest
This University may be termed the child of one of my most distinguished predecessors, Lord Lugard, whose interest in it is unflagging. Though a humble successor to that great administrator I too have its interests greatly at heart and I most earnestly appeal for help and support. As one who has tried to work for the past five years for the good of this Colony I make this appeal on behalf of one of its most important institutions and I venture to hope that my appeal will not pass unheeded.
Some advance has been possible but much more is needed. Recently I had the privilege of opening the Peel Engineering Laboratory and today I shall shortly formally open the extension to the School of surgery. The provision for the latter is due in a large measure to the enthusiasm of Professor Digby, the value of whose work to the Colony and to this University is not easy to express adequately in words.
Importance of Surgery
The science of surgery has advanced enormously during recent years and through it countless lives have been saved. I feel that I am not overstating facts when I say that in this work professor Digby has played a notable part and the Colony owes him much. This new surgery block has been in use for some months though its formal opening only takes place today. I wish it every success.
I would that it had fallen to my lot to open a new School of Health and a School of Law but I trust that such privileges will fall to my successor.
In conclusion, as Chancellor of this University I wish to congratulate the Vice-Chancellor, Sir William Hornell, on the very fine work which he has done in his present office. My duties as Chancellor have been light but this is doubtless due in a large measure to the support and co-operation which I have always received from the present Vice-Chancellor. I am deeply grateful to him.
I also thank the whole of the University staff for the devoted way in which they have carried out their duties and I urge them to continue to give of their best and to work together for the general good of this University in whose welfare and success they have, I know, the greatest interest.
That the University will achieve and maintain such success is my very sincere and earnest hope.