At the meeting, director Fan Junming warmly welcomed the participation of the offspring of Kilborn in the centennial anniversary of West China School of Medical Science and tenth anniversary of its merger with former Sichuan University and their visit to Sichuan University. Fan said that Sichuan and Canada had a long history of friendly exchanges.
Reviewing the birth of West China School of Medical Science, we should not fail to mention friendly Canadian figures. These friendly figures committed to medicine and education had made great contributions to the establishment and development of West China School of Medical Sciences. The achievements made by West China Center of Medical Sciences today are the condensation of the wisdom and efforts of generations of Huaxi people.
Particularly, great progress has been made by the center since the merger of the school with former Sichuan University in the fields of medical practice, education and research. The center has in fact stepped into fastest and best development period in its history. It has not only played the role of regional medical, educational and research center, but also played a good demonstrative and leading role in China with great boosting power to promote the overall rapid development of regional health cause.
During May 12 Earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan in 2008 and April 14 Earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai, West China School of Medical Sciences of Sichuan University had played very positive role in providing national standard medical services to the quake-stricken areas and made significant contributions in disaster relief, post-quake epidemic prevention and reconstruction.
The Kilborn family thanked the university for its great hospitality. David Walmsley, great grandchild of Kilborn, said that his family felt very much honored to be able to return to Wes China School of Medical Sciences at its centennial anniversary and to commemorate their forefathers in Huaxiba, and they felt pleased and proud from the bottom of their hearts to see the profound and drastic changes that had taken place from the beginning of Huaxi to its present.
They also expressed the willingness to donate related cultural relics to support the establishment of the medical museum by West China School of Medical Sciences.
In 1867, Kilborn was born in Frankville, Ontario, Canada. With the assistance of his elder brother, he managed to go to school. Successively, he won gold prize in Queen s University and master's degree in literature. Then he started his medical career. Before the age of 23, he obtained degree for master of surgery and degree for doctor of medicine in Queen's University.
After that, he pursued his graduate study in Edinburgh in England and Heidelberg in Germany. Although he had been offered a position on the staff of Queen s University, he chose to go with the pioneer group sent by Canadian Methodist Mission to work in Sichuan. In 1891, he and his newly married wife Jennie Fowler sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Shanghai and then up-river to Chengdu in 1892 after 3 months of hard journey.
Two months later, unluckily, Jennie Fowler died of cholera in Chengdu.
Upon arriving in Sichuan, he and Mr. Stevenson opened a little Gospel hospital and later R.B. Ewen, H.M. Hare and W.E. Smith joined them. Although just a clinic indeed, the gospel hospital was still the earliest western hospital as well as the beginning of the affiliated school of West China University of Medical Sciences.
Under the fierce clashes of Chinese culture and Western culture, on May 28, 1895, the dragon boat festival in Chinese lunar year, people were holding Sa Li Zi (throwing plum) activity, as the mass passed the homes of Kilborn and Stevenson in North Sishengci Street, they happened to meet the two foreigners bringing their children home.
As old saying went that foreigners might abduct Chinese children, many Chinese people gathered there to see what happened. As there were more and more people gathered, Kilborn and Stevenson took out guns to shoot into the sky to dispel the crowd. Unfortunately, the situation got out of control with the gunshots.
The mass began to attack their houses with stones, tiles and clubs, first destroyed the gospel church and clinic in North Sishengci Street, then destroyed more gospel churches and clinics in the following two days. The turmoil spread to over ten prefectures and countries in June. After the religious case calmed down, Kilborn built the clinic on the site of the original one.
The restored clinic offered 25 beds for only male patients. The clinic was then called Sishengci Hospital for Males". In 1905, Kilborn received 1,500 tael of gold in subsidy from the provincial government of Sichuan, which enabled them to complete a 4-storey building in 1907 with 120 beds. Later, the hospital and Red Cross reached an agreement to name the hospital Sichuan Red Cross Gospel Hospital and all social circles of Sichuan came to congratulate at its inauguration ceremony.
In 1914 when West China Union University had medical department, the hospital became the base for clinical teaching and practice for students and was formally named Yan Chai Hospital which continued to be operated by clinical doctors.
In 1904, Kilborn participated in the preparatory work for the board of directors of West China University. In 1910, when West China Union University was formally established, he became the first chairman of the school board. A vanguard in establishing medical college, as early as in 1909, Kilborn published an article on the Medical College of West China Union University in Chengdu, Sichuan.
In the article he said, This college is not finished yet, but it is an integral part of the West China Union University . Hope development of our medical college will start in 1911. Although the full plan has not been worked out, after setting up the time for establishing, I believe that, to a great extent, everything will depend on the capacity and efficiency of our undertaking staff.
One principle is that all teaching activities shall be processed with Chinese language. Christian students are welcome naturally, while non-Christian students should also be acceptable. One of the major objectives of the college is to prepare and train China s medical missionaries. In 1909, the temporary administrative committee of West China Union University also proposed to establish medical college as soon as possible.
After that, the school administrative affairs committee entrusted Kilborn to make preparations. On November 12, 1914, Kilborn masterminded the establishment of the medical college, he determined the candidates for the dean and assistants of the college and set a 6-year academic system. After admission, he taught courses of chemistry, physiology and ophthalmology.
Morse said that his high standard and his special contributions should be written into history.
In 1896, she opened a hospital in Xizhigong Street, Chengdu. In 1912, the hospital was moved to South Xizhigong Street and named as Yan Chai Women s Hospital, or Hospital for Women and Children, the earliest women s hospital in Sichuan. The hospital became the base for teaching and practice for West China Union University.
After being burnt in 1940, the hospital was merged into Sishengci Hospital. After Kilborn died of disease in 1920, she returned to West China Union University. Apart from management work in the hospital, she also undertook the teaching of some courses such as pediatrics, therapeutics, etc. She worked until retirement in 1933 and returned to Canada.
She was the first woman doctor in West China that had received special training and acquired high technical skills. Her greatest contribution was to treat children s diseases. In hospital, she was often busy on the operation table curing the ill or wounded women and children. Before the school recruited girl students, with the enthusiasm of young people, she persuaded her superiors again and again that medical college should admit girl students.
With determination no less than that of her husband, she and her church friends had been devoted to church assigned work and contributions to Chinese people. Like her husband, she was eloquent and very popular among and trusted by Chinese people. She was also one of the pioneers in the movement against foot-binding and early in her career became president of the Chengdu Anti-Footbinding Society.
She died in Toronto on December 1, 1942 in her 79th year..
Kilborn s younger daughter, Cora Alfetta Kilborn, was born in 1899. She graduated from Victoria College, Toronto, in 1920 with a B.A. honors degree in modern languages, and then trained in the School of Nursing of the Toronto General Hospital. After graduation Cora studied public health nursing at the University of Toronto and later completed the course in teaching and administration and became a registered nurse.
In 1926, he went to West China under the Women s Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada. Cora and her mother gave leadership in medical and nursing education in the hospital for women and children. For a few years, during the final illness of her mother, Cora returned to Canada to give special care to her mother.
After her mother s death in 1941, Cora returned to Chengdu and resumed her work there. She had devoted herself to the nursing education in West China until she returned to Canada in 1950.
People always say that children are the continuation of the lives of their parents. Leslie Gifford Kilborn, the elder son of Kilborn, faithfully inherited the cause of his parents. He was born in Jiading, Sichuan in 1894. While his parents were involved in establishing West China University, he returned to Canada for his education in 1913 in which year he passed his senior matriculation and was awarded an Edward Blake Scholarship in science and modern languages.
He enrolled in Victoria College, University of Toronto, in the honors course of physiology and biochemistry. He graduated in 1917 with first-class honors and the Victoria Silver Medal in Science. He then registered for postgraduate work in physiology. He obtained most of the money necessary to finance himself by being an animal-house attendant, and by doing other available jobs.
Also, he carried a heavy load as a demonstrator in physiology. In 1918 Leslie obtained his M.A. in physiology from the University of Toronto, and then continued his studies in medicine. Graduating in 1921, he married Janet McClure Kilborn.
Leslie and his wife then set out for West China in the autumn of 1921. On arrival in Chengdu, Leslie was sent at once to Pengxian County to study Chinese at the language school of the W.C.U.U. and did some medical work there. 18 months later, he returned to Chengdu and began his teaching of physiology as a lecturer.
In 1922, he became the dean of the Department of Physiology and deputy section head of medical division. He undertook the teaching of physiology and biochemistry in the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry of the West China Union University, giving all his lectures in Chinese. He also translated a textbook of physiology into Chinese and produced a laboratory manual of physiology.
Morse called him a specialist with highest professional training we have never seen before. He was able to lead the development of physiology. He was born in China, no other foreign teachers could speak decent Chinese like him. His laboratory was the best of its kind in W.C.U.U.
He was also enthusiastic about the investigations on some ethnic groups in West China. Successively, he had also assumed the posts of editor and editor-in-chief for sociology magazine. In 1943, when Canada and China first established independent diplomatic relations, Dr. Leslie Kilborn was requested by the Canadian Government to assist the newly appointed Canadian Minister, General Victor Odlum, in establishing the first Canadian Legation in Chongqing, the wartime capital of China.
He was given the temporary rank of Counselor and Adviser on Chinese Affairs, and spent four months in this very absorbing work. His journeys between Canada and Chengdu turned out to be difficulty ones. For two times, he had to fly over the hump.
After Janet McClure Kilborn came to W.C.U.U., she took over the eye hospital, taught students of medicine and dentistry pediatrics and medical English. Later she became school doctor helping W.C.U.U. in solving the health issues of staff and students of W.C.U.U. Her father was once a professor of Cheeloo University and her younger brother was also doing medical education in Henan for practitioners in Chinese medicine.
In 1945, she had a very severe coronary occlusion and died after some months of hospital treatment. The medical library founded with her donation was named after her as Janet Kilborn Memorial Library.
In January 1952, Leslie and Jean Kilborn left Chengdu for Hong Kong at the invitation of the University of Hong Kong. Leslie was invited to the Chair of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine there and then served for three years as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and developed his department to such an extent that the Department of Physiology was split into Departments of Physiology, Pharmacology and Biochemistry.
As soon as he arrived in Hong Kong, he began to take an interest in the newly organized Chung Chi College. In 1960, on his retirement from the University of Hong Kong, Leslie accepted an appointment as vice-president of Chung Chi College and later he became the chair of the organizing committee. During the 11 years, in that capacity he brought his wisdom and patience and profound experience in pioneer and complex situations and gave guidance to raise the academic standards of the three independent colleges, New Asia College, United College and Chung Chi College.
In 1963, the three colleges were federated to become the Foundation Colleges of the Chinese University of Hong Kong..
In the spring of 1963, Leslie and Jean Kilborn left Hong Kong for retirement in Canada. In April 1965, his Alma Mater, Victoria University, Toronto, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Scared Letters (D. Lit. S.). On June 23, 1967,Leslie died in Toronto at the age of 72. In the obituary notice for Leslie, the Board of World Mission of the United Church of Canada praised him as the central figure in the memories of the graduates of W.
C.U.U. He had been engaged in the epic story of a Christian with his vigor and vitality. Lewis C. Walmsley praised him that he is a careful manager, a capable teacher, an accomplished scientists and an education manager.
To commemorate the contribution of the Kilborn family, Chung Chi College named board room as Kilborn Room Canadians should be proud of such a family. The Kilborn family, and others of similar quality, were commemorated by the Foundation Stone of Chung Chi College Chapel. The stone reads, in memory of all Canadian missionaries who have given their lives to the service of God and of their fellow men in China .
When the chapel was officially opened in April , 1962, Leslie delivered his address in the chapel. The farewell speech he delivered in Chung Chi College was later published entitled Awareness .
In his China Mission Accomplished, Wilder Penfield wrote, They feel, I gather, that no one takes them seriously in medical circles at home. But as members of the Canadian Church volunteer team, through various ways, they have helped China in dangerous times and given health and wellbeing to a nation of seven-hundred million.
They have brought to Chinese people education on Western civilization. Their mission is sublime, their deeds worth esteem. If we say that Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who died in 18 months service in China, is worth commemorating, then, the Kilborn family, with its 72 years of contribution to China, is equally worthy of our memorization, forever.