by Richard Yu Khin
Rangoon University Badminton team used to have badminton courts at Convocation Hall in the early 1950s. My father who was All-Burma Badminton Doubles Champion in the late 1920s made arrangements for students to use Convocation Hall after work hours – i.e. after 4.00pm. But students bunked classes and starting playing Badminton at Convocation Hall during office hours. So, permission to use Convocation Hall had to revoked. My father secured funds from an American Foundation to built Recreation Center where students could play badminton. But Prime Minister U Nu suspended all American economic aid due to Chinese KMT invasion of Shan States of Burma. The Caretaker Government of 1958 permitted construction of Recreation Center and the building was built by 1962. At the opening of Recreation Center, a basketball goodwill game was played between Sailors from visiting American Warship and Rangoon University students. I invited my sailing friend Barbara Everton, daughter of American Ambassador, to this event. Barbara was a student at Mount Holyoke College ( one of the seven sister colleges, female equivalent of Ivy League) who was spending her Junior year at Rangoon University. What is important is that a top college in America was accepting grades earned at Rangoon University as transfer credits because Rangoon University was then one of the best universities in Asia.
Chancellor Road leading to Convocation Hall – you will notice there are no exposed electrical wires at the lamp-posts. When my father returned from a study tour of America, he was impressed with electrical wires being buried underground in America.
American Ambassador John Everton was President of Kalamazoo College in Western Michigan before serving as Ford Foundation Representative in Burma in the 1950s, when he also served as Adjunct Professor at Rangoon University. Barbara Everton attended MEHS and is seen in class photos with Jillian Logie, daughter of Principal Mrs Logie.
Submitted by Edwin Tin Hut