Recollections of Waterloo Lutheran University, 1960–1973


134 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-88920-502-7
DDC 378.713'45092





Reviewed by Ashley Thomson

Ashley Thomson is a full librarian at Laurentian University and co-editor or co-author of nine books, most recently Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005.


In May 2003, the annual meeting of the Wilfrid Laurier Retirees
Association invited author Flora Roy to lead attendees down memory lane.
Born in 1912, Roy had served the university between 1948 and 1978, much
of it as chair of the Department of English. Well loved and well
respected, in her retirement year she had received the Queen Elizabeth
II Jubilee Medal and a Festchrift edited by colleagues.

According to the meeting’s minutes “the group revisited a time when
the institution had a total of 40 faculty, two of whom were in the
sciences. When the teaching day started with chapel hour. When there
were few women in the class seats, and even fewer at the lecterns. And
when the strictest rules involved keeping males and females separate.”
Since there is little evidence of serious archival research in the book,
Roy appears to have relied on these and similar reminiscences.

The end result is a book comprising 16 chapters: “Finances,”
“University Government,” “Values,” “Family and Otherwise,”
“Marketing,” “The Campus Family and Guests,” “Honoured
Guests,” “Other Visitors,” “Academic Relations,” “The
English Curriculum,” “New Programs,” “Interdepartmental
Majors,” “Governance of the English Department,” “Student
Unrest,” “Faculty Unrest,” and “The Ending.”

Overall the text reflects the pride that Roy felt in the university
when it stood on its own without having to rely on government
funds—its golden years she calls them. Probably the most informative
chapters are those relating directly to her tenure as chair of the
English Department.

Unfortunately, Roy is not introspective enough to reflect on what life
was like for a female academic in a largely male environment. Further,
most of the book refers to individuals unknown to any but her
contemporaries. While some well-known names do appear (e.g., Hugh
MacLennan), the book has no index to reference them. Thus, this is a
book that will find a very narrow readership—certainly not its
intended audience of those interested in post-secondary education in


Roy, Flora., “Recollections of Waterloo Lutheran University, 1960–1973,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,