As part of UPEI’s 50th anniversary, the Robertson Library is presenting a lecture series to celebrate the historical roots of higher education on Prince Edward Island and its future. The series is named after educator Frank Pigot, honoured as a UPEI Founder for his work building the Library’s PEI Collection and University Archives. Please see a list of confirmed speakers below. More will be added over the coming weeks.
Dr. Alan MacEachern: The decade and ideas that spawned UPEI
The next talk in the Franklin (Frank) Pigot Memorial Lecture Series at UPEI will explore how the spirit of the 1960s shaped the University. On Thursday, September 26, Dr. Alan MacEachern will present “A Child of the ’60s: Creating the University of Prince Edward Island” at 7:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge of SDU Main Building.
The PEI government began pressing for a single Island university in the spring of 1968. By spring 1970, UPEI was not merely up and running, but was holding its first graduation. The whirlwind nature of UPEI’s founding—with long-term decisions made in the very short-term—meant the new university was a product of its time: a time of visionary planning and respect for tradition, of religious authority and rising secularism, of student alienation and student power.
As part of UPEI’s 50th anniversary, the Robertson Library is presenting a lecture series to celebrate the historical roots of higher education on Prince Edward Island and its future. The series is named after educator Frank Pigot, honoured as a UPEI Founder for his work building the Library’s PEI Collection and University Archives.
Dr. Edward MacDonald: Informal education, 1825-1965
Dr. Edward MacDonald’s delivered the first lecture of the series on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building. Dr. MacDonald’s presentation is titled “The School of Experience: A Patchwork Quilt of Informal Island Education, 1825-1965.”
While the Island’s formal education system evolved slowly and painfully across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, other, more informal modes of teaching and learning developed to answer Islanders’ educational needs. From the agricultural societies and mechanics’ institutes of the first half of the 20th century, through the farmer’s institutes that followed, to the adult education underpinning of the Antigonish Movement and the DIY ethos of community schools in the 1960s, these informal systems of education shared one characteristic: they emphasized various kinds of practical, applied learning for Islanders who found themselves outside the province’s structured educational system.
Refreshments will be provided. Everyone is welcome.
John Cousins: Stand for your lessons
PEI historian and folklorist John Cousins will present the second lecture in the series, entitled “Stand for Your Lessons: Educational Change and Cultural Reaction.” This illustrated talk took place Tuesday, April 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Eptek Centre in Summerside.
The period between 1960 and the early 1970s brought the most dramatic change in Island education since the creation of the one-room district schools in the early 1850s. The consolidation of the public schools saw the disappearance of a major element in Island culture. This presentation will examine the impact of that change on rural Island communities, on their families and on the children who were “consolidated.” Further, a main question remains to be examined: what lessons can learned by using prior experience as a guide to evaluate how elements of culture may react during dramatic, and sometimes traumatic, change?
Refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.
The Franklin (Frank) Pigot Memorial Lecture Series presents: a century of French education on PEI
Georges Arsenault explores the role and personalities of the Société Saint-Thomas d’Aquin
Historian Georges Arsenault will deliver the third lecture of the series on Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building. Arsenault’s talk is titled
“Société Saint-Thomas d’Aquin and French Education on the Island.”
The Société Saint-Thomas d’Aquin (SSTA), the principal voice of the Acadian and Francophone community of PEI, is 100 years old this year. It was founded in 1919 at the annual convention of the PEI Acadian Teachers’ Association. Its immediate objective was to collect money for the education of young Acadians, but the overall goal of the SSTA was to see French and Acadian life flourish on the Island. Among the founders of the SSTA and who spearheaded the society for many years were Dr. J. Henri Blanchard, who taught at Prince of Wales College from 1910 to 1948, and Rev. Nazaire Poirier, who was on the teaching staff of Saint Dunstan’s University from 1912 to 1937.
The lecture will focus on the important contribution of the SSTA to French education on the Island over the last century.
A native of Abram-Village, Georges Arsenault lives in Charlottetown. He is the author of many publications on Acadian history and folklore and a well-known lecturer. He is the president of the Sister Antoinette DesRoches Historical Society and was recently made a member of the Order of Canada.