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Offspring of Founder (O.L. Kilborn, Canada) of Modern Medical Science in West China Visited Sichuan

Offspring of Founder (O.L. Kilborn, Canada) of Modern Medical Science in West China Visited Sichuan

Write: Anar [2011-05-20]

Offspring of Founder (O.L. Kilborn, Canada) of Modern Medical Science in West China Visited Sichuan

Recently, the offspring of O.L. Kilborn, Canadian founder of west China medical science Visited Sichuan University. On the afternoon of April 27, in the No.3 meeting room in the office building of Huaxi Campus,, relevant heads of Medical Service Management Office, University Archives, Foreign Affairs Office and Medical Colleges of Sichuan University had a cordial and friendly talk with the family of O.L. Kilborn.

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.

After the meeting, representatives of the Medical Service Management Office send the book Impressions on Hua Xi Ba to the guests and accompanied the Kilborn family to visit the Huaxi Campus.
News Background:
Time Reveals the Hearts of Benevolence
In the long course of history, a man s life is transient and what he can do is also limited. Yet, those people who and whose generations of offspring have donated their lifetime for the well-being of the majority, are often remembered and respected by people forever. From the virgin sail to China of Mr. and Mrs. Kilborn in 1891, to Leslie Gifford Kilborn s returning to home from Hong Kong after retirement, over ten members of the Kilborn family had contributed amazingly 72 years of wisdom and arduous work to Chinese medical cause and higher medical education. In 1963, Bertha Hensman, a professor of English language and literature in the Chung Chi College in Chinese University of Hong Kong wrote in the college journal a special article entitled The Kilborn family: A record of a Canadian Family's Service to Medical Work and Education in China and Hong Kong . In 1963, with the permission of the original author, the article was revised and republished in the magazine of Canadian Medical Society. The legendary story of this Canadian family has been popular among and a pride for Canadian people. Last year, Prof. Lei Qingfang translated the article into Chinese entitled The Kilborn Family in the blog My Huaxi Friends From the experience of this family in China, we can understand how valuable it is for us to remember forever the founder of the West China Union University.

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.

Kilborn was an educator full of originality, a linguist who wrote several books such as Chinese Lessons for first year students In West China and Heal the Sick. He was also one of the founders of Red Cross Society of China (Sichuan Chapter). During the 1911 Revolution, Kilborn stood out to participate in rescuing the wounded in the rain season, walking in muddy battlefield, wearing straw sandals barefooted. With his profound medical knowledge in helping the wounded, he was famed as a man with unprecedented benevolence and humanitarian spirit .
In 1919 he returned to Canada on vacation and received honorary title of doctor of stomatological medicine from Victoria University in 1920. However, one month later, he died of pneumonia. Christians and Chinese friends held very grand ceremony to commemorate him. Never before and after had any other Christian received such kind of honor. People highly valued his achievements and called him a careful, eloquent manager; a creative educator and a faithful friend. He was highly praised for his contributions in China. The most meaningful thing was his unremitting efforts on causes beneficial to China, for which he had won the deep love of Chinese people. Morse wrote in Three Crosses amidst the Purple Fog, As a pioneer in founding this college,, he maybe more memorable than any others.
Dr. Retta Gifford Kilborn was born in Meaford, Ontario, Canada in 1863. She was one of the few girl students admitted to Women s Medical College, Toronto and graduated in 1891 with the Trinity degrees of M.D., C.M. In 1893, at the invitation of the Women s Missionary Society of the Canadian Methodist Church, she came to Sichuan to found Sichuan Women s Society. 1894, she married Kilborn who lost his first wife in 1892.

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..

The eldest daughter of Kilborn, Constance Ellen Kilborn graduated from Victoria College majoring in English and history with excellent academic scores. After obtaining her teacher s qualification from the Faculty of Education of the University of Toronto, she taught for a year in Alma College, and then married Lewis C. Walmsley, a classmate. And then they took responsibility for the Canadian School in Chengdu.
Lewis C. Walmsley was born in Ontario in 1897, majored in honors mathematics and physics in Victoria College of the University of Toronto and graduated from there with BA (bachelor of art) degree in 1919. In 1921, the Walmsleys set out for West China and worked in the Canadian School which was originally set up for the education of the children of missionaries and Walmsley was the principal of the school. Under the principalship of Lewis Walmsley, aided by Constance, the school was placed on a higher standard during their stay in Chengdu, the escape from the Japanese bombing and the period in Renshou County. After 1929, he also served as teaching assistant, lecture and associate professor in the Education Department of West China Union University.. He taught pedagogy, social psychology and experimental psychology there. In 1948, Lewis returned to Toronto and worked in the Department of East Asiatic Studies. They Walmsleys had educated many high-level graduates for Canadian universities. Two of these students even became Roads Scholars later, a proof of the excellence of the Walmsleys as educators. Lewis was not only an eloquent educator, but also an artist. In collaboration with Chang Yin-Nam he published in 1958 a translation of Poems of Wang Wei. In 1968, he wrote Wang Wei, A Pastoral Poet. He accepted the task of writing school history for West China Union University. With his nearly 40 years of life experience in China, he finished writing the concise yet comprehensive history of West China Union University. The book was published in 1974 by United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, New York. He had also painted in oils, scenes in West China and, more recently, in Canada and other parts of the world.

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.

In 1925, he received serious wounds from a dum-dum bullet, for four months his condition was serious and recovery progress was slow. The wounds left him with a permanently disabled shoulder. In 1927-28, while on his first furlough to Canada, Leslie completed his doctoral studies and was awarded the PH.D degrees in medicine, pharmacology and religious literature. Before leaving, Leslie had managed to work in a brief period at the Carnegie Nutrition Laboratory in Boston. When they sailed from Vancouver, included in their baggage was a Benedict apparatus for determining basal metabolic rates under field conditions, for he planned to study various physiological characteristics of some of the aboriginal" races on the West China border. In 1928, he and his family returned to Chengdu. He was then promoted as professor of biology and assumed the position of vice dean of the medical college. In addition to a heavy teaching schedule in physiology and pharmacology, he also taught medical English. In 1936 he became dean of College of Medicine and in he was elected the director of the College of Dentistry in 1939, a post which he had held until 1947. At that time, the Sino-Japanese War broke out, in common with all other members of the staff of W.C.U.U., he helped to welcome and find accommodation for refugee students and staff of colleges. Leslie s responsibilities were tremendous in helping to find accommodation for the medical contingents from Cheeloo University, the Medical and Dental Colleges of the National Central University and, later, the students from the Peking Union Medical College. He arranged for them to continue their studies in the buildings and laboratories of the W.C.U.U., and in the clinics and hospitals associated with the College of Medicine and Dentistry. Leslie and Janet usually had their home filled to capacity with staff members of one or other of the refugee universities. Among those who lived in the Kilborn home for longer or shorter periods were renowned professors and their families such as President Wu I-Fang of Ginling College, Dr. and Mrs. W.P. Penn and their two daughters (University of Nanking). In 1947, he was re-elected as the director of the College of Medicine and continued his directorship in College of Dentistry. He promoted the development of medical education and enabled clinical dentistry and stomatological medicine to grow up gradually. Leslie wrote the book Experimental Physiology and 40 papers. In collaboration with another author, he translated Halliburton s Physiology. His management methods, his knowledge and his teaching methods were the confidence of 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 1947, Leslie married again with Jean E. Millar Kilborn. A specialist in anesthesia, she was born in Ontario in 1906 and graduated from Western Ontario with M.D. In 1932 she was sent by the Women s Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada to West China to take over the work of Dr. Retta Kilborn who was soon to retire. She continued to undertake management of the hospital and teaching of pediatrics.

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.

Leslie s eldest daughter, May Eleanor Kilborn was born in Chengdu in 1924, she completed the study of nursing at the Women s College in Toronto. After doing postgraduate work in nursing in Montreal, she accompanied her father to Chengdu in October, 1949. Immediately upon arrival, she began work in the University Hospital of the W.C.U.U. making the contribution of the third generation of the Kilborn family to medical work in China. Mary left Chengdu in 1951, and returned to Canada.

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.