Armstrong's inaugural address

1966

The university gained autonomy from the University of Alberta in April 1966 with little fanfare. A search through the archives turned up the inaugural address then President and Vice-Chancellor Herbert S. Armstrong gave at convocation on April 16, 1966. The speech itself is a great example of the type of oration and rhetoric of the day. Due to copyright restrictions, it cannot be published but below is a paraphrased version highlighting the key points.

Armstrong begins by stating that long-windedness is disastrous on such occasions, however, he duly gives the occasion the exhortation it deserves.

Founders Day

It is April 1st, 1966 that by statute the University of Calgary was brought into existence. "I can positively assure you we shall prefer to think of April 1st as a Founding Day, denying any association of that date with certain other ancient celebrations and customs."

Gaelic motto

"In recognition of the Scottish associations and of the contributions made by Scots in opening up this country it has seemed especially appropriate that our University motto be in Gaelic, and that it be rendered in the uncial lettering. Of all the physical features of this region there are two which are especially conspicuous: one, the Chinook, the other, the Rocky Mountains. Both compel the observer to look up and to regard the distant view. What better motto, then, could our University have than Mo shuile togam suas which, being translated, means, 'I will lift up my eyes.'"

The broad view and the long view

Armstrong spends the majority of his speech talking about taking the broad view toward this new university. For example, he says, "One further matter concerning the broad view is to recall that there are various deliberative bodies within the university, each of which must be concerned for the well-being, not of itself alone, but of its university at large." He encourages the audience to look around: "Each of these bodies needs periodically to lift up its collective eyes and see itself in relation to others, recognizing the common purpose of it all." He continues by saying that when any such body fails to see its interconnectedness, the development of the university is then "less than optimum". 

The latter part of the speech focuses on the long view of the university, citing the pitfalls of only looking to the future. The university grew so quickly, it was important to keep an eye on the future while at the same time, ensuring the immediate needs were addressed. He also talks about academic freedom, the scholar's "inalienable right and inevitable duty to present the results of his work or the product of his thought."

Optimistic future

Armstrong concludes his speech with a description of the Chinook, "the breath of warmth in the cold season." The Chinook is a promise of a better tomorrow.