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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Laurence graduated from the University of Alberta with Master of Science in Mathematics in 1956. He joined the Lethbridge Junior College in 1961 and then the University in 1967. Laurence held various academic and administrative positions including chair of the Mathematics Department, and Associate Vice President (Academic). He retired in 1993.
Laurence Hoye discusses the beginnings of the Mathematics Department and the University.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(JT: Jim Tagg, Interviewer)
JT: You also had to have been involved in starting a mathematical sciences department.
JT: I can’t remember, was it called mathematical sciences then?
LH: No it was just the Math Department, Mathematics Department.
JT: So were you the first one out there?
LH: Yah, I can say that I actually founded a mathematics department in Canada.
JT: Well that’s a great accomplishment. So, who were the first people you hired?
LH: Jack Hiscocks was the one of them. And, that was not without controversy because we had him fly out, interviewed him, and everything went tickety-boo. He was still working on his degree at Queens and teaching at the military college there. And, after he got back home, then we had that tremendous snow storm in ’67. It hit the national newspapers. I can still remember him writing me a letter saying, 'What am I getting into?'
JT: He had second thoughts about all that kind of thing, too.
LH: And then Dennis Connolly came along. And of course there was fierce competition for faculty members ‘cause all over North America universities and colleges were expanding.
JT: Dennis Connolly was just kinda passing through town I hear, and ...
LH: I talked to him ...
JT: And so that was a simple deal.
LH: Actually what we were doing at that stage is, if they had a Master’s degree already, we would make every effort to make sure they could get a away to do a Ph.D. And that’s how Dennis got his…mind you he did 99% of the work, we only did the background. And, I flew all over the U.S. to the American Math Society meetings to hire people.
JT: To recruit, yah. Now, ok, so Math Department's relationship with the rest of the university ... I mean, were you remote from anything? Well, I guess no one was remote in those …
LH: No, no.
JT: No, I guess you were in this whole mix of a thrill starting a school.
LH: We were in a real scrabble to get courses in place and that is where the 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 level numbering system began. And as a matter of a fact, one of my professors at the U of A who went on to be President up there Max Wyman ... I arranged to have him to get an Honorary Doctorate down here. Outstanding mathematician, actually he corrected some of Einstein’s work. Einstein wrote him a letter saying, 'Thank you very much and you are absolutely right.'
JT: Not very many people did that!
LH: No, no absolutely not. But anyway, Max said there is no question this place is going to succeed because they have already started numbering their courses in the 1000’s.
JT: I see you’re way up there.