A Gift for Future Students

by Dr. J.R. (Jim) Jowsey

Many of my "pinnacle" life experiences are, in one way or another, associated with my student years, and later experiences as an alumnus of the University of Saskatchewan.

That is why I have been a consistent, although at times minor, donor to the needs of our University. That is also why, when my old friend, Lindsay Boyes, approached my wife Shirley and I about contributing a much larger gift for the College of Agriculture's new building, that we made a decision to do so.

In the course of regrouping some of our financial business this summer, Shirley and I again made a decision, in response to various discussions with people like Lyle Hislop and Doug Clark, to purchase a substantial life insurance policy with the University of Saskatchewan as the sole beneficiary. Thus the University will ultimately receive additional funds to support teaching and research. We would aid U of S students and the University's research programs.

Out of experiences which Shirley and I have had with universities, our decision to contribute was based upon several impressions, two of which I will describe briefly. From my earliest childhood I knew of my parents high regard for organized knowledge and their certainty, even in the "dirty thirties", that their sons should have the chance to attend a university and of course, in their practical view, the U of S . I came to the University of Saskatchewan in October, 1943, fired with all the youthful enthusiasm of my seventeen years. Though I first enrolled in the College of Arts and Science with an ambition to major in chemistry, a more sane assessment of my skills during that first year, and better realization of the importance of applied science, led me to switch to the College of Agriculture. That led me to earn my B.S.A. in 1947 and my Master of Science degree (poultry nutrition) in 1949, and a doctorate, in agricultural chemistry in 1953.

Later, my old concern for improving the quality of education in pure and applied science led me to earn a Bachelor of Education degree (1962), again at the University of Saskatchewan. I also served on the University of Saskatchewan's senate for six years (1987 to 1993) as an elected representative.

The second impression, which led us to make the decision to purchase the policy, was the realization that an ever increasing portion of the real cost of a university education is borne by the student (in the range of 20 to 25 percent at the U of S and other Canadian universities). This was, in fact, coupled with a substantial amount of righteous anger at the slurs cast upon academic knowledge by persons who have no real grasp of the benefits of a giant institution like our U. of S. We also reacted angrily to media attacks on universities that have become so common in recent years.

About five years ago, I was at the Royal University Hospital waiting for someone in the parking lot, and in the rays of the afternoon sun I could see many buildings which had not been there when I first arrived on campus in 1943. These new structures were blocking the view of the buildings I had once known (Thorvaldson Building, Physics Building, College Building, St. Andrew's College, etc.). The "old" campus was shaded and dwarfed by progress. I thought of the progress that had come from that past (Harrington barley, and other cereal varieties, canola, alkali-resistant cement) and various other discoveries that have kept Saskatchewan's economic engine turning. I thought also of the many professors in whose classes I had the good fortune to sit and of others that I came to know as mentors or research advisors. Truly it is not surprising that we are so biased towards "Saskatchewan our University". We urge others to look into the planned giving program to share some of the satisfaction it brings to us.

Dr. & Mrs. Jowsey continue to operate their farm at Saltcoats. They have been active supporters of the University and the Yorkton & District Branch of the Alumni Association for many years.