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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
John M. Millar


In educational circles the name of John M. Millar is well known. Principal of Robertson College, he is bending every energy and effort to the upbuilding of the institution and under his guidance the work has steadily developed and standards have been constantly advanced. Principal Millar is a native of Ontario, his birth having occurred in Kincardine, in 1865. His parents were William and Barbara (McLeod) Millar, natives of Scotland and of Goderich, Ontario, respectively. They were married in Ontario. The mother passed away in 1907 and his father died in 1923, in his ninetieth year. He had made farming his life work and was a self-educated and self-made man, whose life was crowned with a substantial measure of success because of the wise and timely use he made of his opportunities. His political endorsement was given to the Liberal party. Fraternally he was a Mason and he belonged to the Presbyterian church, of which his wife was also an active member. In the work of the church he had taken a most helpful interest and was serving as one of the elders at the time of his death.

John M. Millar is the second in order of birth in a family of nine children, six of whom are living. He enjoyed liberal educational advantages, attending the Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1890, while in 1891 his Alma Mater conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree and in 1905 that of Bachelor of Divinity. He was made Doctor of Divinity at Westminster Hall at Vancouver in 1913, iii recognition of the superior service which he had rendered to the cause of education and religion.

Mr. Millar was ordained to the ministry of the Presbyterian church in 1895 and his first pastorate was at Norwich, Ontario, where he remained for six years. He then went to British Columbia and accepted the pastorate of the church at Phoenix and also was pastor at Nanaimo on Vancouver island. His connection with British Columbia covered a residence of nine years and during his last year of residence there he was moderator of the Presbyterian synod of that province. In 1909 he arrived in Strathcona, Alberta, where he took charge of the Knox Presbyterian church, remaining as minister at that place for two and a half years. He then became identified with Robertson College, a Presbyterian theological school, at Strathcona. He first occupied a professorship but in 1919 became principal and has continued at the head of the institution through the intervening period, his labors constituting a potent force in its development. Throughout his life he has put forth every effort to make his service of the greatest possible benefit to his fellowmen. To this end he did postgraduate work at Halle, Germany, in 1899, and he also attended the Hartford School of Religious Pedagogy at Hartford, Connecticut, and the University of Chicago. Wide reading and study have constantly broadened his knowledge in addition to his training in the schools and universities of this and other countries, and he has ever been actuated by the highest standards in his work, while at all times his enthusiasm is contagious. In 1923 Dr. Millar was elected moderator of the Synod of Alberta.

In December, 1901, Dr. Millar was married to Miss Belle Malcolm, who was born near London, Ontario, and educated in Norwich. They have one child, Jean, who is now a student in the University of Alberta. Dr. Millar is well known in Masonic circles and has served as senior warden and also as chaplain of his lodge. He is a Liberal in his political views and is conversant with the vital questions and issues of the day but without political ambition. He has always been interested in manly outdoor sports and belongs to the Granite Curling Club, of which he is chaplain. He withholds his aid from no civic project which he deems vital to the community and during the election of 1917 he spoke frequently on behalf of the proposed union government as the best means of meeting the crisis of the hour. His indefatigable energy has declined no call to labor or to service and his scholarly attainments have enabled him to translate high ideals into practical efforts for his fellowmen.


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