Thanks to a hugely successful fundraising effort led by Brandon College and Brandon University alumni, a symbolic staff that represents student leadership will soon be back in the hands of students.
“We know that so many of our alumni have very fond memories of the Senior Stick and Lady Stick, and we are thrilled that we were able to so quickly reach our fundraising goal,” said Carla Eisler, Alumni Relations Officer at BU. “Along with several of the donations came touching notes that really drove home how important this symbol has been to alumni who were here at that time.”
For decades, the Senior Stick and Lady Stick were some of the most senior roles in the student executive at Brandon College. Although their precise roles and responsibilities changed over time, they were generally seen as president and vice-president of the entire student body, working with the heads of other student organizations and class year presidents to help the college’s social and student life run smoothly.
Not just a title, each Stick also carried an actual stick — a ceremonial wooden staff, about three feet long, topped in silver, and covered in silver rings that bore the name and year of every previous officeholder.
After the positions were phased out in 1967, when Brandon College became Brandon University, the staffs were placed on display in a custom-made case in the university library. Now, the case and the Lady Stick are housed in the S.J. McKee Archives at BU, but at some point in the intervening years, the Senior Stick had gone missing.
Until tomorrow, that is.
Brandon College and BU alumni raised nearly $6,000 to re-create the Senior Stick, as authentically as possible, and will present it back to students and student government in a special ceremony during the BU Homecoming Awards Banquet.
The replica is as authentic as possible, featuring a vintage wooden staff, a custom-cast silver headpiece, and custom silver rings with hand-engraving of the names of all previous Senior Sticks, including Tommy Douglas, who was Senior Stick in 1929–30.
To recreate the Senior Stick, BU turned to Alex McPhie, a Winnipeg-based archaeological silversmith who specializes in old-fashioned metalwork. Basing his work on the existing Lady Stick as well as photographs of the original Senior Stick, McPhie crafted a reproduction that is as faithful as can be to the original.
The total cost of the recreation, including several ounces of solid silver, came to just under $5,300. Because alumni went above and beyond with their fundraising, the additional money will help cover the costs of mounting the two sticks in the case, ensuring it is secure with a new lock, and producing a permanent informational plaque.
The recreated Senior Stick will be presented back to Brandon University, and to BU students, in a ceremony tomorrow evening. The McKee Archives will be custodian of the sticks, and it’s hoped that they will once again go on permanent display in the library.
In the future, the Senior Stick and Lady Stick could once again be used for special occasions, such as Convocation, Homecoming, or students’ union elections.
BU’s Homecoming weekend continues all day tomorrow with brunch, campus tours, the dedication of the McCutcheon Alcove, and an awards banquet. The weekend wraps up with a farewell brunch on Sunday.
Senior and Lady Stick
In 1919-1920, all of the societies of Brandon College amalgamated into one students’ association. The Christmas issue of The Quill that year is the first to list the position of President and Senior Stick, although the text indicates the term “senior stick” had been used in previous years around the college. Prior to 1919, the main student executive appears to have been the Literary Society, for which there were elections every year. Presidents of the Lit Society (1910-1918) could be either male or female. The position of Lady Stick first appears in 1923-1924.
A history of student sticks
|YEAR||SENIOR STICK||LADY STICK|
|1919 – 1920||Norman McDonald|
|1920 – 1921||H. Olson|
|1921 – 1922||Alexander M. Derby|
|1922 – 1923||Donald G. McKnight|
|1923 – 1924||Elmer Raymond Carter||Aleta Elizabeth Stewart|
|1924 – 1925||Frederick James Westcott||Kathleen Emily Kenner|
|1925 – 1926||Joseph Lester Gayton||Rose Jeane Vasey|
|1926 – 1927||A Derby||Ruth Ethel Clement|
|1927 – 1928||J.B. Thompson||Doris Marietta Cochrane|
|1928 – 1929||John Bernard Hawson||Berth Clark|
|1929 – 1930||Thomas Douglas||Mary Helen Dunkin|
|1930 – 1931||Stanley J. Westaway||Lois R. Gainer|
|1931 – 1932||Frank A. Kerr||Phyllis Grace Blandford|
|1932 – 1933||Hugh Lorne Umphrey||Ruth Thornton|
|1933 – 1934||George McGregor||Eileen Metcalfe|
|1934 – 1935||Norman Keith McKinnon||Marion I. Thomson|
|1935 – 1936||Tommy Morison||Ruth Jacqueline Bell|
|1936 – 1937||Earl T. Mills||Doris M. Fraser|
|1937 – 1938||Douglas C. Downing||Mary Stewart Murray|
|1938 – 1939||Leslie W. Roberts||Elva C. Way|
|1939 – 1940||Thomas H.M. McLeod||Gwendolyn Elizabeth Dobbie|
|1940 – 1941||Stanley “Bud” Searle||Ruth Hunter|
|1941 – 1942||Jim Nelson||Alixe Meadows|
|1942 – 1943||Clifford Kitson||Doreen Bolstad|
|1943 – 1944||George Longphee||Iva J. Delamater|
|1944 – 1945||Andrew Judson||Lenore Gusdal|
|1945 – 1946||Gordon Lindsay||F. Elizabeth Northcott|
|1946 – 1947||Jack Neelin||Doreen Rowse|
|1947 – 1948||Frank Humphries||Eunice Hunter|
|1948 – 1949||Stephen Symbalisty||Marjory Fleming|
|1949 – 1950||Finley Campbell||Margaret Gerow|
|1950 – 1952||Angus Juckes||Patricia Magnacca|
|1951 – 1952||Paul McKinnon||Joan Garnett|
|1952 – 1953||James Struthers||Mary Jane McLachlan|
|1953 – 1954||John P. Minions||Olga Evaskow|
|1954 – 1955||Frank McKinnon||Verda Peden|
|1955 – 1956||Laurie Craddock||Jean Hannah|
|1956 – 1957||Jack Fotheringham||Barbara Mills|
|1957 – 1958||Jack Jubenvill||Elaine Fraser|
|1958 – 1959||Jim Melvin||Barbara Russell|
|1959 – 1960||Robert Melvin||Regina Armstrong|
|1960 – 1961||Gladwyn Scott||Penny Smith|
|1961 – 1962||Ron Keeler||Florence English|
|1962 – 1963||Spence Bell||Verna Moore|
|1963 – 1964||Warren Veale||Poppy Cumming|
|1964 – 1965||Russell Lusk||Anne Franklin|
|1965 – 1966||Bill Sparling||Terry Moore|
- Brandon University
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