Alumni to present replacement ‘Senior Stick’ back to BU

October 14, 2016

A pair of ornate silver-ringed staffs called the "Senior Stick" and the "Lady Stick" were passed every year to student leaders, holders of an office also called the "Senior Stick" and the "Lady Stick." Photo courtesy the S.J. McKee Archives, Brandon University.

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

For more information, please contact:

Carla Eisler
Alumni Relation Officer
204.727.9697
EislerC@BrandonU.ca

Grant Hamilton
Marketing Communications Officer
204.571.8542
HamiltonG@BrandonU.ca