The Clearihue Bursary

Joseph Badenoch Clearihue was born in Victoria, B.C. in 1887. From very early on in his life he was an avid learner, and whether from his mother’s kitchen table, or as one of the first to attend the University of Victoria’s predecessor college in 1903, Joseph enjoyed and valued learning. Growing up in Victoria in the time that he did meant that Joseph was a part of the burgeoning learning environment that was the path to UVic’s educational success.

Joseph began his education along side his sister and brother in the family kitchen. It was there that they received their first instruction in arithmetic, reading and writing from their mother Annie. Joseph continued to learn through exploration of the natural world that was his childhood stomping grounds- adventuring along the coastline and through the forests and meadowlands of Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay.

Armed with a genuine passion for learning inspired by those early years taught by his mother, Joseph attended Boys’ Central School when he was nine years old, and then Victoria High School. Always excelling academically he went on to be accepted at McGill University, in Montreal, at the age of fourteen. Too young for such an endeavour, Joseph remained in Victoria, and in 1903 became a member of the first class of The Victoria College. Under the sponsorship of McGill University, the college was one of British Columbia’s first post-secondary institutions. The class of 1903 consisted of Joseph and six other members- four young women and three young men. From there he attended McGill University in Montreal.

Joseph went on to be awarded recognition as a Rhodes Scholar, a prestigious award given to those who achieve a high level of literacy and scholastic achievement, success in sports, strong leadership qualities and character. The award consisted of monies to study for two years at Oxford University.

Later, after Oxford, with the onset of World War I, Joseph became a soldier with the Fifth Canadian Field Artillery Unit. Upon returning home as a lawyer, he became a Liberal MLA, a Victoria alderman, and then a county court judge. From 1947 to 1963 he became chair of Victoria College Council, during which time he guided the college to university status. It was his passion for learning, and his firm belief in the value of education that led Clearihue to gather support from many different community members and succeed in the building of Victoria’s first post-secondary institution.

When the Victoria College moved from Craigdarroch Castle and it’s location within the Normal School campus (what is today Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus) it was to flourish on new ground in Gordon Head. On a chill day in January, 1962 Joseph Badenoch Clearihue turned the first sod at the site of the present day Clearihue Building on the University of Victoria campus.

Today, Joseph Clearihue’s daughter, Dr. Joyce Clearihue continues to support the award created by her parents, Joseph and Irene Clearihue. The Clearihue Bursary is awarded annually to a promising student in the Faculty of Education who shows strong potential and has at least a good second-class average standing. Interested in applying?