“The sea is in my blood”

Humanities, Education, Science

- Dorothy Eggenberger

Michael Hadley.

New funding for marine education

“At the earliest stages of my life, the world was all about ships and oceans,” says Michael Hadley.

This year, Hadley and wife Anita established the Hadley Memorial Award for Studies at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC). And as part of Giving Tuesday they have issued a challenge to other would-be donors. If 55 donations are made to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre Student Award on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, they will donate an additional $5,500. It’s easy to understand where the Hadley’s commitment comes from.

“My parents were married in Bamfield in June 1926 and immediately hiked the life-saving trail to Pachena where they lived until 1937. Stories of the rugged and isolated trail, which they regularly hiked between Bamfield and Pachena for supplies, fascinated me as a child.”

Some children are enamoured with knights and dragons, but the central character in Hadley’s family lore was "Old Faithful", the Victoria-built supply vessel SS Princess Maquinna, which connected coastal folk to what was fondly known as civilization.  

Hadley’s father Norman was one of four radio technicians at Pachena Point Radio Direction-Finding Station 1926-31 and officer-in-charge of the station 1931-37. His three uncles from Newfoundland migrated to the BC coast and became sea captains. It was no surprise, then, when Hadley went to sea.

Norman and Winnifred Hadley
Michael Hadley's parents Norman and Winnifred, married in Bamfield on June 22, 1926. Photo courtesy of Michael Hadley.

“I took my first paying job with Union Steamships, steaming aboard the coastal freighter SS Cardena to logging camps and fish canneries along the BC coast,” recalls Hadley. He later joined the University Naval Training Division at UBC, earning a commission in the navy on graduation.

“I have experienced the sea aboard a variety of ships: from big-gun cruiser HMCS Quebec to the submarine HMCS Okanagan. I have served on both the Atlantic and Pacific and as navigator aboard a naval vessel on the Great Lakes, and been a captain on BC's coast. I have sailed the Baltic with German war veterans, and sailed throughout the BC coast with my wife Anita in our own sailboat. In short, to quote schooner skipper Captain Andy Publicover, ‘the sea is in my blood.’” 

The connections between UVic and the BMSC have helped thousands of students experience some of that as well.

For almost 50 years, UVic students have explored the coastal and marine environments firsthand at the BMSC. Many say that is a highlight of their degree, and creates a connection between their textbook learning and the real world.

The BMSC has been transformational in how Canada has engaged in ocean sciences. The experiences of students, for both course-based work and research, are invaluable and deeply felt.

“In establishing the Hadley Memorial Award, I acknowledge not only the pioneering lives of my parents at Bamfield and Pachena, but also the vital importance of the sea in my own life. Equally importantly, establishing the award reflects our desire to highlight the vital importance of ocean research and learning for subsequent generations. I hope that in some small way I will be able to 'give a leg up' to some among the younger generation, just as I myself have been helped as I undertook my earliest academic journeys.
Michael Hadley

The new award endowed by the Hadleys will support UVic Faculty of Science undergraduate students entering third or fourth year enroute to the BMSC, with preference given to students with demonstrated financial need. 

Michael Hadley is emeritus professor (Germanic studies) and former acting director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. He’s also a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Anita Hadley completed her diploma (education) and MA (education administration) at UVic.

The university is excited that student support funding for the BMSC will go even further, thanks to the generous matching gift put forward by the Hadleys and the new donors who will take up their challenge. Take part in Giving Tuesday November 2021!


In this story

Keywords: philanthropy, research, oceans, alumni, administrative, Giving Tuesday, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society

People: Michael Hadley, Anita Hadley

Publication: The Ring

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