Professor G. F. Dalsin (Faculty, Royal Roads Department of Mathematics 1948 – 1978 ; Department Head 1962 – 78)
This contribution was written by Mrs. Agnes Dalsin as a response to the “Share Your Story” portion of the Royal Roads Paver Stone Campaign. For more information about the Paver Stone campaign and how to order a stone, please contact Dave Wightman, 3334, Secretary of the Vancouver Island Ex-Cadet Club at [email protected]. Royal Roads ex-cadets, faculty and staff are also invited to participate by sharing their story. All contributions will be collected and displayed in the Royal Roads museum. For further information, please contact Karen Inkster Vance at [email protected].
“My contribution to the tribute being amassed in 2010 regarding those who lived, worked and served at Royal Roads, is made on behalf of my husband, Gordon Dalsin, myself, Agnes Dalsin and our four children.
Our family was closely connected to the college for over 35 years, and I can attribute our time there as the foundation for many lifelong friendships. We lived in campus military housing from 1950 to 1958 and I cannot imagine a better environment in which to have raised our children. Those of us who came to Royal Roads in its early years quickly became part of a large, diverse and connected social community. There were recreational, religious and social pursuits and a strong sense of belonging and family. All three of our daughters had their wedding receptions in the castle which was a great venue for parties. A memorial service for Gordon was held on the quarterdeck in 1994. In 2008, I was lucky enough to celebrate my 90th birthday in the castle.
When the cadets got up to shenanigans, as young men will do, they selected UVIC or faculty members as targets. I remember cars showing up in the strangest places: on a boat in the harbor, in the ballroom on the dance floor and we laughed at their antics and enjoyed the team spirit It demonstrated! We felt it rewarding to see these same young men end up as senior military leaders, proudly serving Canada, and often moving on to lead businesses and serve communities.
Everyone at Royal Roads was engaged in creating a family and participatory atmosphere: from swimming lessons, to Sunday school and Church services, to Christmas pageants and fancy dress balls! These balls were mandatory attendance for faculty and cadets, but I would not have missed them for the world. In fact, it was the only time I could get Gordon to dance! I personally attended 46 consecutive graduation parades, with our children in tow, or in later years on my own. Parades and the traditional lawn party that followed, with cadets, faculty and guests, continue to be a source of fond memories.
It is an honour to be able to share these few words in recognition of a great institution that meant so much to our family, and to me. On behalf of our children Pat Herbert, Avis Janz, Keith Dalsin and Wendy Hinsperger, and my dear husband Gordon Dalsin who passed away in 1994, I thank you for the memories and the friendships. In summary, our time at Royal Roads can be described as a rare gift.”
– Agnes Dalsin
Some quotes from the Royal Roads Oral History Project that mention Professor Dalsin:
“Another impact moment and life decision moment for me was in the Spring term of the first year, after the exams were over, and we were doing some supplementary work. And I was up in the top floor of the Grant building overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains so close you could touch them. The sweet smell of spring in the air, and the professor – Professor Dalsin – was at the front of the class, and he was introducing me to abstract algebra. Now, if that seems to you as it was to me, a contradiction in terms… I did look out on the grass in front of the castle, and there were some of my colleagues down on the grass, and they were doing surveying in dungarees. The next day I was down with them – and into another stream of mathematics, much more pragmatic than abstract algebra!”
Scott Clements, 5868 (RRMC 1959 – 61, RMC 1961 – 63)
“We had mathematics, and ask any of our classmates about it, if you said “What’s a double Dalsin?” Everybody knew that was Professor Dalsin who gave two math courses, one right after the other. Two math courses, and I think it was advanced algebra or calculus. Now I was always very good in calculus, but two, one right after the other was a bit much!”
George Skinner, 3316 (RRMC 1950 – 52, RMC 1952 – 54)