By MC Havey, Archivist
A prestigious and precious Governor-General’s medal for academic excellence was delivered last month to the archives by Provincial Superior Mark Miller.
In 1939, the medal was awarded to Alan MacGregor for achieving highest marks in the Alberta Grade IX High School Entrance Examinations. In June each year, students in that province wrote examinations in language, social studies, literature, science and mathematics. In addition, students wrote a test of reading comprehension and of general scholastic aptitude.
Fr. MacGregor, who now is living at the Youville Home in St. Albert, said he received the medal for the highest marks in the teaching area of Foremost School, where he attended and which is was located between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
The profiles of Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir and his wife Lady Tweedsmuir, who held the vice regal post in Canada from 1935 until 1940, adorn the circular bronze medal.
Fr. MacGregor remembered as a young boy listening to a public lecture given by Lord Tweedsmuir. Better known as John Buchan, author of the spy thriller Thirty Nine Steps, Lord Tweedsmuir died in Ottawa from complications of a stroke in 1940.
The bronze medal, which sits in a maroon silk-lined case, was struck in England by Mappin & Webb Ltd, on Oxford Street, London. In the archives, it is housed in an acid-free box in the locked records room.
The Governor General’s academic medal was established in 1873 by Lord Dufferin, the third Governor General. In the 120 years since then, Fr. McGregor was one of 50,000 recipients in high schools and universities.
For Fr. MacGregor, the award was the beginning of his life-long excellence in education in front of the classroom with 17 years of teaching at St. Mary’s Brockville (1953-1960) and Holy Redeemer College, Edmonton (1960-1969) and university studies: bachelor of arts, Assumption College, Windsor, 1951; Ontario teaching certificate, Ontario College of Education, 1952; bachelor of education, University of Alberta, 1962; and masters of arts (classics), Catholic University of America, Washington