George P. Black Memorial Scholarship

Known as "a somewhat reserved man" and a "quiet, kindly, person with a fine sense of humour," George Black won the hearts and enriched the minds of hundreds of students who attended Victoria College during his 22 years as the one-man Classics Department.

Born in Cookstown, County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, Professor Black arrived in Winnipeg in 1907 when he was 20. He attended Wesley College at the University of Manitoba, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1913. He received a second BA from the University of Alberta in 1917 and returned to Manitoba to complete his MA the following year.

Black taught his way to the coast, instructing in Coronation in Alberta and in Peachland and Burnaby in B.C., before ending up at Victoria College in 1929. The College, forerunner of the University of Victoria, was at that time located in Craigdarroch Castle. By the time he retired in 1951, Victoria College had moved to its Lansdowne location, now the Camosun College campus. For this entire period of more than two decades, Black remained the only Classics teacher, becoming, in the words of one of his students, "an institution around Vic College" who had a tremendous effect on the students. Besides providing instruction in Latin and Greek, he also shared the post of Librarian with other faculty members.

Two years after retirement, Black married Winifred Gillett. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, who graduated from UVic in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Black felt that the graduations of his daughters, at the University which had come about because of the success and dedication of those involved at Victoria College, capped his career in education. Throughout his retirement years, he kept in close touch with many former colleagues and students; among these was a member of his first graduating class at Coronation College, now in her 80s.

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