The Fox Memorial Bursary

Excerpts from The Torch, Autumn 1987.

“We’re just ordinary people,” insisted Don and Phyllis Ewan, urging their visitor to have another biscuit and talking about how the garden is past its best at this time of year. “What we did we did out of selfish generosity.”

What Don (Victoria College ‘46-47) and Phyllis (Victoria College ’41-42) did was endow a bursary in perpetuity at the University of Victoria, in memory of Phyllis’ mother and aunt. The bursasry, the Fox Memorial, goes each year to a student in elementary education.

Winnifred and Dorothy Fox came as young girls with their family to Victoria in 1892. They both took teacher training at the Provincial Normal School, and taught in elementary schools, mainly in Victoria, until they retired in 1949 and 1942.

Mrs. Ethel Fox (nee Croston), Phyllis’ mother, graduated from Normal School in the same year as her future sister-in-law, Dorothy Fox. Her first teaching assignment was in Ladysmith, many of her class of 59 recent Swedish immigrants who spoke no English.

The perpetual bursary endowed by the Ewans commemorates the combined 81 years of elementary teaching.

“They grew up here, spent most of their lives here,” says Phyllis, “but very little of their history is preserved. So what could we do if we wanted to commemorate them? We don’t believe in plaques, so Don, I and my sister Vivienne Hammond, decided to endow the bursary.”

Don, a retired civil servant, seconds Phyllis’ words. “We just feel happy about it,” he says. “It’s a good feeling to know that something of the Fox name and their dedication to teaching will continue on because of this bursary”.

The Fox Memorial Bursary is awarded annually to a deserving student entering year 3, 4 or 5 in the Elementary Curriculum of the Faculty of Education, who has at least a good second-class average. If funds permit, a second award will be given. Interested in applying?