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Celebrating 50 Years: 1973

Library Tower, Health Sciences Centre are officially opened

Two core university buildings were opened in 1973: the new Library Tower on main campus and the Health Sciences Centre which houses the Faculty of Medicine on the Foothills campus.  

The new Library Tower was officially opened in a public ceremony on January 10, an event which was attended by several invited guests including Mrs. Margaret Beckman,
president, Canadian Association of College and University Libraries, and Mr. Guy R. D’Avignon, Director General – Information Canada, Ottawa. Lieutenant-Governor J.W.G. MacEwan invited Chief Librarian Dr. K.M. Glazier, to help him cut the ribbon which set the escalator in motion.  Staff librarians conducted tours of the building and a special exhibit of recent additions to the rare book room, including two letters written by Albert Einstein and the oldest book in the library at the time, an incunabulum printed in Rome in 1477.  The building increased the library’s space by 120,000 square feet which Chief Librarian, Dr Kenneth Glazier said was timely, since there would be more than half a million bound volumes in the library by the end of the year. The $3.6 million building incorporated the most up-to-date facilities for speedier and more comfortable user service, including specially-equipped carrels which provided for the use of microfilms or cassette tapes. An article in the campus Gazette newspaper reported that the “traditional library image, dreary and cramped with long tables and hard-backed chairs has given way to a bright décor and comfortable easy chairs….Situated almost in the centre of campus, the new library tower is more than just an attractive addition to the campus skyline. It is a key factor in maintaining high quality teaching and research programs.”  

The University Health Sciences Centre was officially opened on Monday May 28th by Premier Peter Lougheed, the start of a week-long celebration to commemorate the opening. The roster of events included the official opening, a plenary session, open house, and three international medical symposia. At the end of the week, the first graduating class of the medical school received their degrees and honorary degrees were conferred on two distinguished Canadian doctors: Dr Bruce Chown and Dr Morley Young. 

The HSC was completed ahead of schedule and under budget – the final cost, including all fixed equipment totaled $16.3 million.  The design of the school, which has a footprint equivalent to a downtown city block, allowed for flexibility to accommodate the expected physical and functional changes over the building’s expected 50 year life-span.  

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