On his arrival at Appleby in 1968 as our fourth headmaster, Edward Reynolds (Ned) Larsen sounded a keynote that was to echo through the College community and influence profoundly the development of the school over the next 12 years: that, given men, women and boys who were prepared to work hard, the possibilities for greatness at Appleby were unlimited.
Prior to his appointment, Ned Larsen was for nine years the headmaster of British Columbia's Shawnigan Lake School, of which he was an Old Boy. A scholar and athlete, he held degrees from both U.B.C. and Oxford. He served twice as President of the Canadian Headmaster's Association, and was a ranking squash player at the Canadian Senior level.
Larsen is remembered for growth. The student body increased during his tenure from 250 to 385, allowing a wider range of academic options, greater selectivity in choosing prefects and teams, the establishment of a meaningful admissions waiting list, and a policy of basing admission on entrance exams. He enhanced academic standards, brought a new level of professionalism to the faculty, and broadened extracurricular
He expanded Appleby's athletic offerings by adding rugby, senior soccer, squash, swimming, track and tennis to Appleby’s ‘traditional’ sports (football, hockey, basketball and cricket). His insistence on sportsmanship and good manners at all levels made Appleby an exemplar among ISAA schools.
Improvements to the College’s physical plant accomplished in Ned’s administration include the J. S. Gairdner arena, the pool, the library, three science labs, the extension of New (now Walker) House, the renovation of Colley House, and the Northern campus in Temagami (with the Appleby Northward Bound program), as well as many other projects. In addition, the College endowment saw significant growth.
He encouraged both the Old Boys’ (now Alumni) and the Women’s (now Parents) Associations, whose programs became increasingly ambitious and successful. Ned Larsen resigned from Appleby in 1980 to teach for a year in England. Upon returning to Canada, he was appointed headmaster of Rothesay Collegiate School in New Brunswick, a post he held for one year. He returned to Oakville, and assumed the post of Director of Development and Membership Services for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
He died of a brain tumour in 1983 at age 58.