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Celebrating 50 Years: 1991

Celebrate!: University of Calgary marks its first quarter-century

Balloons, birthday cake and bursaries -- the University of Calgary’s twenty-fifth year was marked by celebrations that focused on thanking Calgary and southern Alberta for its support in making the university’s growth possible. “What made the university a success was being part of the community” said Fin Campbell, a retired professor of geology and former UofC vice-president, noting that the university became autonomous just as Calgary was experiencing an unprecedented growth in its educated workforce. The city supported the university but expected excellence from it in return which contributed to the expansion of programs offered and the size of its student body and workforce. The 25th anniversary provided the university with an excellent opportunity to reflect on and celebrate its achievements and to look forward to the next 25 years. 

Events throughout the year included a birthday party on April 1st – the anniversary of autonomy – academic conferences, arts performances, sporting events and publications to mark the anniversary, as well as a $40 million fund-raising campaign entitled Building on the Vision. An avalanche of balloons was showered upon thousands of staff, students, alumni and friends of the university who attended the April 1st party which also featured free hotdogs and more than 100 cakes that local businesses and community organizations contributed to the event. President Murray Fraser presented
bursaries to 34 babies born on April 1st which would help pay their future UofC tuition costs. “This is our way of thanking Calgary for helping build and invest in the university”, he said.

In September a university and Olympic landmark was returned permanently to campus when the Trans-Canada Pipelines Olympic Arch was moved from outside city hall to the UofC. The arch was located at the entrance to the Athletes Village on the UofC campus during the 1988 Olympic Games, but was later moved to downtown Calgary. A parade which included mascots and the Calgary Police Pipe Band accompanied the arch from city hall along part of its journey back to campus. The high-point of the silver anniversary for many was the university’s Open House in October. Held during City council-declared University of Calgary Week, the first Open House in a decade involved special guests from government, business, service organizations, religious and cultural groups, as well as prospective students and members of the community at large. Music and dancing in the Alumni Hospitality Tent infused the event with a party atmosphere as the university said “thank you” to the community that had contributed to its first 25 years of success.

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