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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
DR. MARTIN OORDT
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Dr. Martin Oordt
Martin joined the Department of English in 1967. He founded and served as Program Coordinator of the Colloquium Studies Program and he established the literary journal Whetstone. His many accomplishments include starting The Meliorist and publishing the Lethbridge Living magazine. Martin retired from the University in 1997 and passed away on April 8, 2011.
Martin talks about his work in establishing Colloquium Studies at the University in the late 1960s.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (email@example.com)
(JT: Jim Tagg, Interviewer)
MO: In ’67, I met a few people. I was interested in alternative education, styles of ...
JT: How did you get to that idea?
MO: That came to a just a few of us who somehow glommed onto each other. We talked. I had known about alternative education, it’s the ‘60s, but never had a chance to do anything with it, and so here I’m in this new University, and here’s Pauline McGeorge ... oh lordy Jim, there were two or three other people. And we talked, we started talking and then somebody suggested it, well, it kind of went from let’s stop talking talking, now let’s really talk and see what we would like. So we dreamed up Colloquium Studies. I remember we met over here in the motel a couple of times because it was just a nice place to meet and we’d have coffee and talk and smoke cigarettes. So, slowly it formulated itself into something we that we thought, well, maybe we ought take it to the dean. And so Owen (Holmes) was, of course, the dean and Sam (Smith) was president. Sam was very much for it. He wanted something alternative and he liked our idea. It was way out to lunch. It was the furthest out of any program that we were able to find. We checked at UBC and their program at U. Vic. I think they had one. We went to Toronto to York University and we had somebody come in from York, one of the poets come in as a speaker, and he helped us and even he shook his head and said ‘I’m not so sure, but maybe.’ And the reason is that what we said was just basically the students don’t have to do any courses. Period. Now however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t study but what we thought and what we did then was set it up.
JT: You are doing this right away, you are doing this in ’68?
MO: Yeah. By ’68, ya let me see. I bothered to pull this off my old CD: ’68-’69: 'part of the committee to formulate Colloquium Studies' and ’69 to ’72, I was the Coordinator. And the position entailed policy formulization. We didn’t have everything worked out. We had an Advisory Committee to detail, you know, how students could obtain a university degree through, really, independent study.
JT: Oh, I know. I remember Colloquium being—
MO: Without attending classes, without the usual grading procedures, and in Arts and Science.
JT: Did they have to be here?
MO: They had to be a student enrolled in the faculty.