Schulich to install G. Edward Hall memorial

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By Heather Travis
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Robert Murray was an eager, young microbiologist when G. Edward Hall recruited him to The University of Western Ontario in 1945.
 
 
 Professor emeritus Robert Murray commissioned a memorial to former Western president G. Edward Hall, which will be mounted in the entrance of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
 
Now, Murray is paying tribute to his mentor and friend by installing a bronze bas-relief in entrance to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.  
 
The bas-relief, a profile of the former university president, will rest on the wall opposite to the one of James Bertram Collip when it is installed. Words about Hall’s accomplishments - he is credited for transforming Western into a “world-class institution” – have also been added to the display.  
 
Murray, a professor emeritus in microbiology and immunology, initiated the project to honor the influential leader, whom he credits for his own career successes and those of the university. 
 
“It means a lot to those of us who worked under him,” he says. “A lot of us owe a lot to him because he had a vision of what ought to be done – both for the medical school and the university to grow in research.”  
 
Hall was the dean of medicine when Murray joined the faculty. It was also a time of tremendous growth for the university, with many influential medical scientists and clinicians recruited by Hall making a name for Western on a national and international scale.
 
“He was a visionary and he had standards. He really encouraged the people who had the spark,” says Murray. “He did a great many things that were important to the future of the university.”
 
Hall held a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and a Doctorate in Physiology, along with a medical degree. He was an accomplished scientist and was among the youngest to be appointed a full professorship in the University of Toronto’s Banting Institute of Medical Research.  
 
With the onset of the Second World War, Hall engaged in several early defence research programs, including aviation medical research, and became a leading member of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s medical services, which developed necessary equipment. He was a distinguished scientist, receiving many awards including the Canadian Air Force Cross, the United States Legion of Honor and made the Companion of the Order of the British Empire, prior to taking his appointment at Western.
 
In 1947, Hall became president of the university and held the position for 20 years. During his tenure, Western grew from 1,000 students to more than 10,000 when he resigned in 1967.  
 
On February 11, 1972 Hall died at London’s Westminster Hospital.  
 
Murray campaigned for several years to bring the Hall memorial to fruition. Although Hall’s influence is still felt at Schulich and across the university, Murray wanted him to have a physical presence at the medical school where he began his legacy.
 
“What he did was set the university on a path of growth a development,” he adds. “I’d like to think Ed Hall would be proud of what has happened.”  
 
Dean Carol Herbert says Hall built a strong foundation for the exceptional training and research that has become a benchmark at Schulich.  
 
"I believe it's important to remember, and pay tribute to, those who've helped shape our medical school, and in Dr. Hall's case, the entire university,” she says. “As president and vice-chancellor, he guided Western through a period of unprecedented growth, while never losing his passion for medicine.”  
 
The bas-relief is expected to be mounted at a later date.     

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