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Dr. Margaret Webster passes away; Knox College expresses condolences

Dr. Clara Margaret Webster passed away on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Highview Residences, London, Ont. Daughter of the late Reverend G. Carlyle and Mrs. Clara Webster. Dr. Webster was Principal of Ewart College, Toronto, from 1958-1983. Ewart College, a women’s college of the Presbyterian Church, was merged with Knox College in 1991.

Knox College Principal John Vissers gratefully recognizes Dr. Webster’s significant contributions to the Church. He said, “As a student, I had the privilege of studying Christian education with Dr. Webster. She played a vitally important role in shaping an entire generation of deaconesses and ministers for the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Since Ewart College was amalgamated with Knox College in 1991, Dr. Webster’s legacy of teaching and leadership lives on, in the students she taught, and in the passion for education and formation that she instilled in us all. We remember with gratitude this servant of the Church.” 

In response to Dr. Webster’s resignation as principal, the 109th General Assembly noted: “While Principal at Ewart, Dr. Webster has initiated many significant developments in the life of the College. During these years, the name was changed from The Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training School to Ewart College . . . . Ewart College became co-educational during the years 1965-1970. The faculty grew in number from two people to four. New Degree-Diploma programmes were introduced in 1970. Commencing in 1963, Continuing and Lay Education programmes were instituted on an annual basis.

“All the time that Dr. Webster was providing the impetus for these changes, she continued to further hew own education. Dr. Webster earned a Master of Education Degree in 1965 and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1975, both from the University of Toronto. The Presbyterian College, Montreal, conferred on her a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) in 1970. . . . Nor has Dr. Webster’s involvement been limited to Ewart College and our own Church. She has been involved in the Christian Education scene on the North American continent, serving recently as President of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. She has been Seminary Liaison of Joint Educational Development and Chairperson of the Seminary Task Force for JED. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Religious Education Association. In February 1983, The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators presented Dr. Webster with the award of Church Educator of the Year.“

In 1983, contributions were made to Ewart College to honour Dr. Margaret Webster for her faithful contribution to the Presbyterian Church through her 25-year service as Principal of Ewart. In this way,  the Board established a scholarship for graduates undertaking study in Christian Education outside of Canada. In 1985, the Board of the College named Dr. Webster as Principal and Professor of Christian Education Emeritus.

A memorial service will be conducted at Harris Funeral Home, 220 St. James St. at Richmond, London, on Thursday, November 23, at 11 am. Reception to follow. Committal at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, London. Memorial contributions may be made to Presbyterian World Service and Development, 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON M3C 1J7.

 

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For the Common Good – KNOXFRA Dinner celebrates 30 years

Former and current Knox College residents gathered on Saturday, November 4, 2017, for the annual KNOXFRA (Knox Former Residents’ Association) Dinner and Annual General Meeting, celebrating 30 years of KNOXFRA.

The evening featured Clive Veroni, author of Spin: how politics has the power to turn marketing on its head, speaking on “The Widening Gyre: Political Discourse in a Divided Age.” Also at the dinner, W.A. ‘Sandy’ Henderson received the KNOXFRA Award of Honour.

Veroni’s keynote speech focused on the current social and political climate and its effects on society. “The disappearing middle ground in debate, the rise of anti-intellectualism in pop culture, and the disintegration of facts,” said Veroni, “are posing, in my view, a significant threat to the central organizing principle of modern, western societies. That is, democracy.”

He said, “It used to be that we could agree on the basic facts but disagree about causes and solutions. Left and right could look at the same fact but view it from different perspectives. Like looking at the same coin from different sides. Nowadays we can’t even agree that it’s a coin we’re looking at.”

“What are we left with, when there is no longer common agreement on basic facts, when we no longer share a common intellectual foundation, and when the common ground that most people used to gravitate towards has fallen away? . . . When all three of these things start to unravel, we can be forgiven for feeling a sense of dislocation and disillusionment.”

In, conclusion, he challenged listeners: “Perhaps now is the time for us to stand up from our pews (hard or soft as they may be) and say that intellectual inquiry still means something, that truth and facts still mean something, that the common good and common purpose are still the best organizing principles for human society. Surely now is the time for the best among us to be full of passionate intensity.”

The event also celebrated commitment to the common good through the recognition of W.A. ‘Sandy’ Henderson. Henderson’s commitment to Knox residents and the broader University of Toronto community through his long career at Hart House, and his role as a founding and long-time dedicated member of KNOXFRA, spurred his nomination and choice as award recipient.

Henderson lived at Knox from 1970 to 1979 while completing his Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Education degrees. During his years at Knox, he served as a don and played on the Knox hockey team. Henderson had a large impact on others while living at Knox and has always shown a strong commitment to the Knox Community. In 1987, he was one of the founding members of the Knox Former Residents’ Association and served on the committee for almost 30 years, including several years as treasurer.

KNOXFRA Award of Honour nominees may be recognized in: innovation; public, community, and business leadership; arts, literature, and athletics; mission and international development; or philanthropy. Honorees’ names are displayed on the KNOXFRA Wall of Honour, located in the St. George Street foyer of Knox College, Toronto. KNOXFRA formed in 1987 to develop and maintain long-lasting friendship among residents and the broader Knox College community.

See more photos of the KNOXFRA Dinner, and a video of the Knox Yell, on Knox College’s Facebook page.

Learn more about the KNOXFRA Award of Honour and complete your 2018 award nominations here.

 

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