Celebrating 50 Years | Archives and Special Collections

Celebrating 50 Years – Archives and Special Collections

Celebrating 50 Years

Celebrating 50 Years: 1966

UAC gains autonomy and the University of Calgary is born

The “University of Calgary” was created as an autonomous provincial university in 1966 when the Universities Act received royal assent in the Alberta Legislature on April 15th. Formerly known as the University of Alberta at Calgary, or UAC, the institution had been a satellite campus of the University of Alberta since 1945. The day after it received autonomy, Herbert Stoker Armstrong was installed by Lieutenant Governor Grant MacEwan as the first President and Vice-Chancellor of the  new University during a Special Convocation held at the Jubilee Auditorium. As required by the Universities Act, the University of Calgary established its own Board of Governors and F.C. Manning was appointed as its first Chair. A Senate was also established and the Honourable Chief Justice Colin Campbell McLaurin was elected first chancellor. During his installation ceremony President Armstrong presented the new university with its Coat of Arms and motto. The Coat of Arms was granted to the University by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh, Scotland as a heraldic symbol of the new institution. Included in the arms’ design was a bull’s head and crossed flags, reminiscent of the family crest of NWMP Lt. Colonel Macleod, who founded Fort Calgary; a wild rose, symbolizing Alberta; open books, representing scholarship; and the University’s newly chosen Gaelic motto: Mo shuile togam suas  — I will lift up my eyes. The chosen colours were gold, representing golden sunshine or golden grain; and scarlet, for the North West Mounted Police under whose influence Western Canada was settled. Full-time student enrolment in 1966 was approximately 4000 students, but anticipated growth of the new university resulted in the continuing development of its campus facilities. New buildings completed or under construction in 1966 included the Students’ Union Building, Blocks F and G of Calgary Hall (renamed Craigie Hall in 1987), Blocks B, C and D of the Engineering Building, the Education Block and Tower, the Central Heating and Cooling plant, and the University Theatre. The University’s programs were also expanding to accommodate demand and 1966 saw the Banff School of Fine Arts become affiliated with the University of Calgary, and the establishment of the School of Social Welfare and the ‘Environmental Sciences Centre’ at Kananaskis.  The new University was off to a running start!


Celebrating 50 Years: 1967

University of Calgary grows its research reputation and capacity

Only one year after it was established as an autonomous institution, the fledgling University of Calgary was fast becoming known in Canadian university circles for its research activities and its ability to attract support from external organizations. In 1967, the University was successful in obtaining $1.8 million in grants from federal and private agencies, more than double what it had received the previous year. Funding support was provided primarily by the National Research Council, the Defence Research Board, the Canada Council, the Government of Canada, the local oil and gas industry, and the Canadian Heart Foundation. In addition, graduate students received $180,000 in scholarships from provincial and national competitions to support their studies. The research topics pursued by University of Calgary academics covered a broad range of subjects across all disciplines, but one study undertaken in the Department of Psychology attracted particular attention in the local media because of its research subjects. Dr R.E. Franken’s research into exploratory behavior and learning employed two young raccoons to assist him in formulating tests for children. Raccoons’ natural curiosity and exploration behavior made them ideal subjects for the study, which aimed to identify colour and shape stimuli attractive to children of different ages. “If we can ascertain these preferences and make use of the preferred stimulus objects in our teaching methods, the process of learning can be greatly speeded up”, explained Dr Franken. The University also celebrated the successful launch of the Environmental Sciences Centre (Kananaskis) which, like the University, completed its first year of operations. The interdisciplinary Centre focused on teaching and research on the natural environment, and involved academics from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Geology and Geography. Buildings had been erected, apparatus accumulated, and the research potentials of the Centre were being shaped as support from national and international agencies was being attracted. The Centre was designed with students in mind to such an extent that no accommodation for Faculty was included in the plans and two trailers had to be purchased in order to mitigate the oversight!


Celebrating 50 Years: 1968

Education Complex opened by Dr A.L. Doucette

The University of Calgary continued the rapid expansion of its campus in 1968 with the official opening of the Education Complex in October. The $5 million complex included a 14-storey tower and 3-storey classroom block which was loaded with $1 million in new equipment and facilities designed to train better teachers who were more conversant with modern hardware and techniques of their profession. The Calgary Herald marveled at the wonders of the new building which included “micro-teaching classrooms” equipped with closed circuit television and video-tape equipment which allowed students to be viewed or taped while presenting practice lessons and then critiqued by their peers and instructor. A basement control room, “which would do justice to the starship Enterprise”, allowed movies or slides to be broadcast to one or many of the television screens in the building.  The new buildings also boasted language and science laboratories, a library instruction room, and computer equipment which would permit increasing emphasis on computer-assisted learning and teaching. Designed to accommodate more than 3000 students, the 251,500 square foot education complex initially housed political science and social work in addition to the Faculty of Education.  It was anticipated that these other programs would move out of the building by the early 1970s and the 35 classroom block would be expanded to accommodate the growth in student numbers.  Those expansion plans were not realized. The new complex was opened by Dr Andrew Leo Doucette who had served as the first head of the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, Calgary Branch, the first Director of University of Alberta, Calgary, and the Associate Dean of Education at University of Alberta, Calgary during the years 1947-1961.  During his years as an administrator Dr Doucette worked strenuously for an autonomous University of Calgary.  He was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Calgary’s first convocation after autonomy.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1969

Alfred Carrothers installed as President

In December 1967 the University of Calgary was notified of the resignation of its first President, Harold Armstrong, effective June 30, 1968.  Armstrong was installed as President in April 1966 after the Universities Act was given royal assent and the University of Calgary established as an autonomous institution.  He left Calgary to take up the position of Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Guelph. In January1969 Dr Alfred William Rooke Carrothers was installed as the University of Calgary’s second President and Vice-Chancellor.  A lawyer with degrees from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Law School, Carrothers taught law at UBC and was Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario before being appointed as President at the University of Calgary.  In his installation address Carrothers noted that he understood the contemporary university scene. “The quiet contemplative life of the academic of 20 years ago has become a highly competitive body-contact spectator sport without rules or referees.” Responding to recent student unrest on campus in which students were demanding a greater role in decision-making at the University, he added that “students are entitled to be involved in matters that affect their legitimate interests”. In later presentations to students he added that student rights must be balanced with student responsibilities. The student must have full freedom of action so long as his studies were not seriously impaired or his university’s academic function not placed in jeopardy.  “Students demand greater involvement in the operation of the university and we must find a way to extend individual involvement.” During Carrothers’ term as President the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors expanded its membership to include students – the first university in Canada to do so.  The Faculty of Environmental Design and the School of Nursing (which later became a Faculty) were established, and the physical development of the campus rapidly expanded to include numerous new buildings, including Social Sciences, Science Theatres, Mathematical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Earth Sciences and Physical Plant. Dr Carrothers was President of the University until 1974.

Celebrating 50 Years: 1970

Faculty of Medicine admits first students

Students were admitted to the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine program for the first time in the fall semester of 1970.  The University received 410 applications for 32 seats in its first medical class, 250 of which were seriously considered for admission. Screening for the successful applicants involved faculty and non-faculty persons who could present a community viewpoint as well as a university one.  Students were chosen based on scholastic potential, personality and motivation, with students who would provide the maximum community service in a future medical career while finding personal satisfaction in their professional work most likely to be admitted.  The class was limited to a small number because the medical school facilities had not yet been constructed, although preliminary work had begun on the Heath Sciences Centre site. This first class of students were taught in a space prepared for them on the top of the Foothills Hospital clinical wing.  The intention was to increase class sizes by stages to 64 and ultimately 96 as more space became available. The school currently accepts approximately 150 students annually. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary had its beginnings in 1964, when a royal commission on health services in Canada outlined the projected needs for family physicians required to maintain a ratio of approximately one physician per 870 people. The commission made specific recommendations for the development of new, basic science facilities to educate future physicians. It also recommended that new medical schools be established across the country, among them a medical school at the University of Alberta in Calgary. Funds were made available from the Health Facilities Development Fund to provide up to half the cost of construction of these new medical schools. Formally created in 1967, the Faculty was originally housed on the University’s main campus. Students in the class of 1975 were the first to start their program in the newly constructed Health Sciences Building built adjacent to the Foothills Hospital.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1971

Dinnie’s Den opens with 3 for $1 beer

The University’s first on campus pub opened on November 24th and was immediately deemed a “roaring success”.  Students, faculty and support staff filled the pub to capacity in order to christen “Dinnie’s Den” on its grand opening. Members of the Students’ Union enforced rules of behavior which included “no gambling, no rowdiness, no smoking it up and not too much walking around”.  The Students’ Union VP-External, Gary Langshaw, said the students acted very responsibly and there was no trouble, adding “there was good attendance from faculty and support staff and we were happy about that too”. The Den initially had a weekly license to open in the MacEwan Hall snack bar on Friday afternoons from 1:30 to 5:30, with a plan to establish a more permanent venue once approvals were obtained from the Alberta Liquor Control Board. The University’s Board of Governors had approved the pub and a licensed dining lounge in September, but the ALCB was reluctant to permit liquor to be served on university campuses except for specific events. Two-thousand bottles of beer were sold at the Den on the first afternoon, at 35 cents per bottle or three for a dollar – well under the local going rate for bottled beer.  Even so, the Students’ Union managed to make a small profit after paying the 10 students employed at the pub.  Profits were to be held in trust by the MacEwan Hall directorate and earmarked for the students’ share of future MacEwan Hall expansion.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1972

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is officially opened

Mr. Alexander (Sandy) Rothney Cross donated a quarter section of land to the University in 1970.  At Cross’s request the observatory was named the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory to honour his mother’s side of the family. The site was officially opened in January 1972 with an unveiling of a sundial to symbolize the emergence of the University of Calgary onto the astronomical scene. When the Observatory opened, the site consisted of a dome to house the 0.4 m telescope, and an ATCO trailer to house equipment, and to double as a teaching area.  In 1983, a Baker-Nunn satellite tracking camera was bought for $.01 and transferred to the RAO from the Canadian Forces base at Cold Lake.  Also in 1983, the ground was broken for a new observatory building and dome to house the Baker-Nunn, the new 1.5 m infrared telescope, and an aeronomy laboratory. At the building opening in 1987, the 1.5 m infrared telescope was renamed the Alexander Rothney Cross Telescope (ARCT) in honour of Cross who continued to donate money to the RAO through the Cross Educational Foundation. In the late 1980s, the Astrophysical Research Consortium at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico offered to fund half the costs of polishing a mirror for a 1.8 m telescope in exchange for its short-term use.  The new 1.8 telescope and mirror were installed in the mid-1990s and “first light” was achieved in January 1996.  A year later, the RAO celebrated its 25th anniversary. The RAO continued to expand with a new Visitor’s Centre and teaching facility that opened in 2005.  The current facility houses research, teaching and community programs with Open Houses and events throughout the year.  The RAO has grown from an empty pasture to become a million-dollar research destination.


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.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1974

Mordecai Richler Papers Grow Library’s Canadiana Collection

In June 1974 the acquisition by the University Library of the papers of Mordecai Richler was formally celebrated during a presentation ceremony attended by the author. A gift from the City Savings and Trust Company and a matching grant from the Provincial Government made possible the acquisition of Richler’s original manuscripts, editorial changes and correspondence with publishers and others connected with his literary career. This was the latest coup in a strategy engineered by Chief Librarian Kenneth Glazier to position the University of Calgary as a centre for Canadian Studies and to develop the best collection of Canadiana in any university library in Canada. The Rare Books section of the University Library became the Special Collections department in 1971 when the unit began collecting archival records. The initial focus of the archival collection was the records of Canadian authors, and there was a flurry of activity during the 1970s as new accessions were purchased. Glazier explained: “Calgary has to have some unique things, and there is no way we can compete with some of the other, more established, universities when it comes to subjects like research and law. If we’re going to do anything here, let’s do it in Canadian studies.” A surge in nationalism and a growing interest in Canadian history and literature were cited as viable reasons for building the University’s Canadian studies resources. Prior to obtaining the Richler records the Library had acquired the papers of Hugh McLennan and James Grey, and 1000 pamphlets of French Canadian significance. Once the collecting of authors’ papers was underway and proving successful, the Library expressed its ambition to create an “archives of Canadian creativity”. In recognition of other manifestations of creativity, its collecting activities soon expanded into the areas of art, architecture and music, eventually including the records of Canadian authors, literary agents, small publishing companies, Canadian visual artists such as book illustrators and caricaturists and the personal papers and business records of Canadian architects, composers, musicians, music educators and music societies. The architectural records were later detached from Special Collections to become the Canadian Architectural Archives.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1975

Faculty of Law is Established and Curriculum Development Begins

After years of lobbying by the Calgary community and members of the Calgary Bar, the Alberta Government appointed an ad hoc Committee on Legal Studies to investigate establishing a Law School in Calgary in 1973. The Minister of Advanced Education approved the findings of the Committee and the University of Calgary received authorization to establish a Faculty of Law in October 1974. The school was slated to begin operations with a Dean and three or four lecturers in 1976 and an initial intake of 60 students. Enrolment was expected to rise to 160 by 1978. The University began a search for a Dean of Law almost immediately and several months later announced the appointment of Professor John McLaren effective July 1, 1975 when the Faculty itself was formally established. In October 1975 Dean McLaren convened a three day workshop intended to shape the backbone of the law school’s curriculum. A dozen deans and professors of law from across Canada and Mr Justice Herb Laycraft of Alberta Supreme Court were involved, while other stakeholders including present and prospective law students and members of the bench and bar were invited to register to participate. “A new law school raises profound questions as to the substance and form of legal education which will be developed therein”, said the new Dean of Law. “How can we ensure that the program will be both intellectually stimulating and socially relevant, and what educational experiences will most effectively promote competence in legal doctrine and skills, as well as in creativity and sensitivity in solving human and institutional law problems?” Dean McLaren used the workshop as an opportunity to search for law professors for the new Faculty and in December seven new academic members of staff were announced. They began the task of developing the first-year curriculum later the same month. A law librarian and two assistants were hired to create a library for the school, which was housed in the Library Tower. Quarters for the Faculty were constructed on the top floor of the Bio Sciences Building where the staff moved from their temporary location in the Arts and Administration Building.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1976

The Faculty of Arts and Science splits into three faculties

The discussion to reorganize the Faculty of Arts & Science began in 1973. The University had grown dramatically since 1966 with enrolment increasing from 3,740 undergraduates to 10,864 in 10 years. In regards to the continuation of a single Faculty, views were expressed that “serious inefficiencies of scale were apparent” resulting in stresses to communication, management, finances and budgeting, human resources, and questions regarding the viable academic structure of the Faculty. A long consultation and study process took place that examined both academic and administrative arguments for changing or maintaining the structure of the Faculty. The consultation resulted in a ballot in March 1975 where 68% of the Faculty voted in favor of some form of division with the most preferred form of division being a split into the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences and a Faculty of Natural Sciences. Following this ballot, the General Faculty Council established a Task Force on the Division of the Faculty of Arts and Science in April 1975. The Task Force recommended that the Faculty be split into three Faculties and a University College: the Faculty of Science would consist of Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics; the Faculty of Social Sciences would consist of Departments of Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology; the Faculty of Humanities would consist of Departments of Classics, English, Germanic and Slavic Studies, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Romance Studies. University College would provide a central administrative location to register students and also an academic counselling and program management service. The reorganization became official on April 1st, 1976. Commenting prior to the reorganization, R.G. Weyant, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, stated: “…this reorganization is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is not every day that one has the chance to reorganize half of a university, and the results of the reorganization will have wide-reaching and long-lasting effects for the entire institution.” The reorganization that occurred in 1976 remained in effect until 2010 when the faculties underwent another change that resulted in the Faculties of Humanities, Social Sciences and Fine Arts being amalgamated into the Faculty of Art.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1977

Continuing Education becomes a Faculty

The Division of Continuing Education was first created to co-ordinate all evening credit and summer credit programmes, plus all non-degree courses and seminars throughout the year. The question of changing the name of the Division to a Faculty was first raised in 1972 from the Baker Report on “The University and Continuing Education in Alberta.” This report examined the current and possible future states of continuing education, and specifically the role that universities should play. The report recommended that universities provide the structure and organization necessary to align continuing education more fully with other university education offerings, and to invest in the resources necessary for success. The debate at the University of Calgary included what status a Faculty of Continuing Education would have, given that the then Universities Act accorded certain powers to a Faculty or School including the granting of degrees, and the right to bring forward courses or programs to General Faculties Council which was thought could lead to some confusion. It was pointed out that Graduate Studies held Faculty status, but did not bring forward programs for consideration. One of the arguments for according Faculty status was to foster a sense of identity and belonging to the students who attended Continuing Education. By 1975, the University of Alberta had made the change to the Faculty of Extension with the senior administrator designated as Dean. At the University of Calgary, a similar change was debated again given that evening credit courses had expanded to become part of the regular load while non-credit offerings had “mushroomed.” Dr. Terentiuk wrote a recommendation for the change, followed a year later by a proposal from Dr. Chapman, Director of the Division of Continuing Education. In August 1977, the Minister of Advanced Education and Manpower approved the Board of Governor’s request to officially change the Division’s name to the Faculty of Continuing Education. In 2004, the Board of Governors approved another name change to University of Calgary Continuing Education (UCCE).


Celebrating 50 Years: 1978

Banff School of Fine Arts becomes autonomous from the University of Calgary

University involvement in Banff can be dated to 1933 when an experimental theatre program was run out of Banff School Board facilities. The Banff School of Fine Arts evolved from these small beginnings as a department of the University of Alberta offering Fine Arts courses in painting, piano, choral work, creative writing, weaving, design and pottery. Helen Stadelbauer, a founding member of the University of Calgary’s Department of Art attended courses at the Banff School in the late 30s and early 40s. She painted many images during her subsequent forays to Banff, including this 1939 poster. Courses were originally offered during a summer program, but as the caliber of instructors grew, the School expanded into a year-round centre for Fine Arts. The infrastructure also kept pace with the growth of the School with residences, teaching and performance spaces being built during the 60s and 70s. The Banff School of Advanced Management came into being in 1952, and although an independent organization, shared space with the School of Fine Arts in what became known as the Banff Centre for Continuing Education, or Banff Centre. Stewardship of the School was transferred to the University of Calgary when the UofC became autonomous in 1966. In 1971, the Banff School of Fine Arts and Centre for Continuing Education was administered for the first time by an “independent” council although still under the aegis of the University of Calgary. The Banff Centre gained its own autonomy from the University of Calgary in April 1978 when the Banff Centre Act proclaimed it as an independent, non-degree granting institution. The Centre’s mandate involved “providing to the public the opportunity of access to a broad range of learning experience with emphasis on the fine arts, management studies, language training and environmental training.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1979

The Opening of the Nickle Arts Museum

The Nickle Arts Museum officially opened on January 12, 1979. The Museum was named for Samuel C. Nickle, a Calgary oil executive who founded Northend Petroleums and Anglo-American Oils in the 1940s. In 1970, Mr. Nickle donated one million dollars to the University’s Building Fund for the construction of “a building that will contribute to the education and overall benefit of both students and the community at large, by including facilities for the maintenance and display of works of art, artifacts, archaeology and numismatics.” The Nickle’s art collection focuses on artworks of the geographic area of Western Canada, but also extends to art of national and international importance, including works by Northern Canadian artists. The art collection currently consists of over 3,000 items. Most of these are works on paper with a growing number of paintings, sculptures and ceramics. The Nickle also manages a small African and Asian collection consisting of 19th and 20th century artifacts. The Nickle Coin Collection is one of the most important such collections in Canada. The Nickle has hosted over 500 exhibitions since opening its doors, featuring local, provincial, national and internationally renowned artists. The opening exhibition in 1979 showcased the diversity that has been a staple of the Nickle offerings for the last 50 years: items from the numismatic collection, the Seymour collection of coronation medals, a collection of 30 forms of abacus, watercolors from Kurt Kranz (Le Chambre du Turk), models, plans, drawings and photographs of architect Douglas Cardinal, and student art projects. In 2011 the Nickle moved to its new home in the Taylor Family Digital Library.

Celebrating 50 Years: 1980

Task Force on Scholarly Communication and the University Press

The late 1970s saw rapid changes to academic publishing by traditional presses. With the loss of previous outlets (McClelland & Stewart opted out; Macmillan press was bought out; McGill-Queen’s press went into suspension in May 1980), the University of Calgary began the process of looking at the status of, and the options for, scholarly communication on campus. The mandate of the Task Force on Scholarly Communication was: To investigate and report on the history, present state and possible future development of scholarly development at the University of Calgary…including a study of the steps involved in conventional scholarly publishing and the implications of new technological developments for this process. Harold Coward chaired the Task Force and the final report from June 1980 noted several favourable recommendations, including a proposal for the establishment of the University of Calgary Press. The report stated: “A press at the University of Calgary could …help serve the larger community of scholars in Canada as well as support scholars within the University.” The Task Force also noted that a UofC Press should reach financial stability within 5 years. The UofC Press initially published scholarly journals and agency publications beginning in 1982; the imprint program was launched in 1984 with the first book Law,Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada edited by Frederick L. Morton and in 2010 embraced Open Access publishing via the Creative Commons. The 1980 report also stated presciently: “We must expect that a variety of forms of scholarly communication from the traditional printed book to completely on-line formats are required…and that the diversity of these forms will increase as time passes.” The Press embraced Open Access publishing via the Creative Commons in 2010 and now publishes in print, e-pub reader-ready versions, and downloadable Open Access PDFs.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1981

Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station closes

The first meteorological station on Sulphur Mountain was built in 1902 and consisted of a 12 foot square stone hut. For the next 30 years, Mr. Norman Sanson climbed the peak every week or fortnight to replace the recorder charts; in winter the journey could take up to 9 hours on snowshoes. The Cosmic Ray Station was built in the winter of 1956-1957 as part of Canada’s contribution to the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958). Cosmic rays intensify at the geomagnetic pole and are easier to track at higher elevations; the monitor on Sulphur Mountain was among the most sensitive in the world. The Cosmic Ray Station became operable in late spring 1957 after the hauling and installation of 5 tons of equipment at the site. Dr. Brian Wilson of the National Research Council was appointed Officer-in-Charge; his initial research trip was extended by a week at the Station after he came down with chicken pox. The Station was part of a world-wide network of cosmic ray monitors; the data received and recorded was invaluable in the furthering of our understanding of space. Research at Sulphur Mountain included measuring cosmic ray intensity variations and interactions, properties of extensive air showers, solar flares, and the study of auroral emissions. In an era before long term space probes were viable, the study of cosmic rays was our window to interplanetary space. The Cosmic Ray Station was closed and the building was dismantled in 1981. The University of Calgary initiated proceedings to officially recognize the Station’s valuable contributions to international science; a National Historic Site plaque was placed on Sulphur Mountain in 1984.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1982

Opening of the Reeve Theatre

The opening of the Reeve Theatre in 1982 marked a “coming of age for Fine Arts programmes at the University of Calgary.” An initial grant of one million dollars by the Francis F. Reeve Foundation, matched by the Province of Alberta, was to support the construction of “specialized theatre facilities…including puppet and youth audience facilities, small studio/practice theatre seating 75-100 persons and dance studio facilities.” The addition of the Reeve Theatre to the University Theatre complex would continue to support the Department of Drama’s philosophy to “provide students with both practical experience in theatre arts and an academic study of drama. Practice would assist training, while theory would inform stage work.” Designed by Hugh McMillan Architect Ltd. of Calgary, the Reeve Theatre was over 2,000 square metres of experimental instruction and performance space. This included a primary stage with modules that could be adjusted up or down, in addition to a secondary theatre laboratory, a scenery workshop, a costume construction workshop, make-up and dressing rooms, two “green rooms” for use as seminar or rehearsal space, storage and control rooms. The Reeve Foundation was started in 1954 by Francis Reeve who worked in towing and transportation in New York before moving to Alberta in 1917. He purchased the Bowview Ranch (now the site of the Ghost Lake Dam) and became involved in the oil and gas industries. His wife, Winnifred Eaton Reeve was a prolific writer, both reporter and novelist, member of the Calgary Women’s Press Club, and first president of the Canadian Authors’ Association (Calgary Branch). The Reeve’s generous donation provided the space for the continuing expression of creativity on campus.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1983

Opening of Norquay, Brewster and Castle Halls

Prior to 1983, the University had an on-campus housing capacity for 702 students (170 single beds and 532 twin accommodations). However, with close to 2,000 requests yearly for accommodation, there was a recognized need both to increase and to diversify on-campus housing. The existing residences (Rundle and Kananaskis Halls), provided dormitory-style housing with on-site common areas and underground walkways that linked the Halls to the Dining Centre. The new residences would have a different style and design as walk-up, self-contained apartments with a certain percentage accessible to disabled students The housing construction project had strong support from the Board of Governors, the Senate and the Students’ Union, who had submitted a housing study report in 1976 upon the request of the Minister of Advanced Education. Construction began in June 1982 and the buildings opened in September 1983. There were a total of 257 beds in 122 units, including 19 units designed for disable use. The units were made up of a living area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom areas with further amenities in the buildings consisting of study lounges, recreation lounges, social/meeting rooms and computer terminals. The policy for naming University buildings is to choose geographical name places in Alberta. The older residences of Rundle and Kananaskis were named after mountains and the Building Planning Committee elected to continue this trend in 1983 by selecting the names of Norquay, Brewster and Castle for the new residences. This trend has continued with the recent construction of two additional residences: Aurora and Crowsnest Halls.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1984

Institute for Computer Assisted Learning (ICAL)

In 1984 the University of Calgary was recognized as the foremost centre in the world for expertise in the Honeywell Multics System; the hardware and software had been installed as the University’s mainframe in 1982. Building on this expertise, and looking towards a future in which every faculty had “expressed the need for research and development in this technology,” the University began exploring the feasibility of establishing the Institute for Computer Assisted Learning (ICAL). Honeywell had already been involved in “industrial affiliate relationships” with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkley and the University of Waterloo. Developing the base already provided by the “very powerful computer system” already purchased by the University from Honeywell, it was hoped the partnership would result in the creation of courseware, or computer assisted instruction programs, of consistent quality and flexibility for delivery to the classroom. Core elements of ICAL’s mandate were: 1) to provide faculty members with the opportunity to develop expertise in computer assisted learning; 2) to provide programming and lesson support; 3) to support the effective use of computer assisted learning through the provision of services in instructional development, computer programming and evaluation; and 4) to foster research and development in computer assisted learning and assist in technology transfer. ICAL was approved by the Board of Governors in December, 1984. Some of the early projects worked on were interactive video programs for Nursing, a data base project for University Theatre Services, lower division engineering courseware (LDEC) available on PLATO systems for Engineering, Physics and Chemistry, and pronunciation programs for first-year German and Russian classes using TANDBERG computer-controlled cassette recorders. The Institute was amalgamated into Academic Computing Services (ACS) in March, 1989.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1985

Canadian Centre for Learning Systems

The University’s involvement with the Canadian Centre for Learning Systems (CCLS) fulfilled a recognized need to explore education’s role in the area of computer assisted learning, a timely partnership with other educational institutions and industry, and an initiative that responded to the Provincial Government’s White Paper of 1984 on an Industrial and Science Strategy for Albertans, 1985-1990. The White Paper emphasized diversification of the economy; the University’s involvement in CCLS would provide a venue for training and support to further the Province’s goals. CCLS was a partnership between the University of Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Mount Royal College, the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Separate School Board, and technology and industry organizations Honeywell, Control Data Canada (CDC) and Reid Chartwell. All partners believed strongly in the value of having one centre where the development, evaluation, training, education, research and use of computer assisted systems could be fully explored. The University was well positioned to take part in the CCLS having created the Institute for Computer Assisted Learning in 1984 as well as just purchasing a SuperComputer (Cyber 205) from CDC that was operating as the fastest arithmetic machine in Canada. The CCLS was based in Parkdale Elementary and Junior High School; the Executive Director was Dr. Barbara Samuels, a senior administrator at the University. The Centre officially opened April 30, 1985 with some of the first simulation software for career training in the oil and gas industry being tested in October. The CCLS ran for 4 years before closing in 1989.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1986

Entrance Archway to University of Calgary is erected

The main entrance to the University of Calgary was transformed into a gateway in 1986 when an archway which spanned University Drive was installed. Designed by Civil Engineering students Brian Hope and Bob Loov in 1966, the arch originally formed part of a pedestrian bridge over Crowchild Trail, linking the campus to the Capital Hill neighbourhood. The students – who later became faculty members — had deemed a bridge design which had been commissioned by the Board of Governors to be ugly, and offered theirs as a more aesthetically pleasing alternative. While intended to represent a Chinook arch cloud pattern, the structure became known as the ‘Rainbow Bridge’. Fast forward twenty years and construction of the Light Rail Transit in 1986 necessitated the widening of Crowchild Trail and the removal of the bridge. A land swap with the city to provide the right-of-way for the LRT resulted in the bridge coming into the possession of the University. The entrance archway was created by removing the walkway portion of the bridge and welding the two spans into one structure. “We’ve transformed a utilitarian bridge into a piece of art”, University spokesman Helen Rojek declared. However, the student newspaper, The Gauntlet, declared the archways to be reminiscent of McDonald’s golden arches and reported that “University students have noticed the resemblance, posting a sign on the structure boasting ’17,000 served daily’, a reference to the number of students on campus and the number of burgers McDonald’s has dispensed over the years.” Renewal of the archway was undertaken in 2012, funded by the Students’ Union quality money program. The renewal involved cleaning and painting the arches in the official red colour of the University. A new gateway sign on the east side of the entrance was also installed and a reopening ceremony held when the project was completed. Student Dominik Rozwadowski was credited with the idea to revitalize the University’s entrance after walking under the arch and past the old sign for five years and finding it “old, depressing and uninspiring. He felt they needed rejuvenation to stimulate inspiration for current and future students”, said Students’ Union President Hardave Birk. At the reopening ceremony President Elizabeth Cannon declared, “When Brian and Bob saw the plans for a more conventional bridge, they knew they could do better – and they did. It was audacious for [them] to design a bridge in 1966, and it was just as bold to create a new university in this young city in that same year. The arch represents our past, and also the pride that we have in our many accomplishments and success today.”


Celebrating 50 Years: 1987

Preparation for the Olympic Games yields dividends on campus

The University of Calgary’s involvement in the 1988 Winter Olympics resulted in a wide range of impacts on campus – both obvious and not so obvious. During the Olympics, the University hosted the Athletes’ Village, providing accommodation for all 2000 officials, athletes and their support personnel. The campus was also the site for the speed skating competitions, and the opening and closing ceremonies were held at McMahon Stadium. The Dining Centre catered exclusively to the needs of the athletes, coaches and Village personnel, and the Physical Education building housed accreditation, shopping, service and medical facilities, and a press room, while the recreational facilities were used exclusively by the athletes. In preparation to meet its responsibilities during the Games, the UofC was the beneficiary of $103 million worth of new facilities. Another $7 million was spent on renovation projects associated with the Athletes Village. Glacier and Olympus Halls were constructed, adding 140 new units to the university’s range of student residences; and Kananaskis and Rundle Halls were renovated to increase comfort and save on energy costs. The Dining Centre was renovated to improve appearance and efficiency to allow a 300% increase in productivity during the Olympics. McMahon stadium was expanded to accommodate larger audiences, and upgraded with a new sound system and artificial turf. New construction included the Olympic Volunteer Centre, major expansions to the Physical Education building, and the Olympic Oval. The university was also the beneficiary of the construction of the “Northwest Line” of the LRT — initially intended to be constructed years earlier – which was completed in September 1987, connecting the university campus to downtown in time for the Olympics the following February. A somewhat unexpected beneficiary of the Games was the research community. Numerous research projects, graduate theses, conferences, presentations, and courses which had ties to the Olympics were undertaken in communications studies, psychology, physical education/ kinesiology, teacher education and supervision, political science, Germanic and Slavic Studies, mechanical engineering, environmental design, management, civil engineering, medicine, fine arts, English, history, anthropology, continuing education, philosophy, and religious studies. During its construction, the Olympic Oval became the world’s only indoor laboratory for undergraduate surveying engineering students. “We have installed 60 reflecting targets at the intersections of the roof beams inside the Oval,” Dr Krakiwsky, head of surveying engineering, explained. “The students will be able to set up their instruments at pre-determined points around the Oval’s interior perimeter and make photo-grammetric, laser and infrared distance measurements. We will even have a computer link-up so they can run their programs right there. It will be a vast improvement over the practice sessions they now run by sighting down hallways or hiking around the campus. The expansive open space inside the Oval – 26,000 square meters, 15 meters high – will give us the only indoor surveying lab in the world.”


Celebrating 50 Years: 1988

University hosts Winter Olympic Games

Calgary was host to the XV Winter Olympic Games from 13-28 February 1988. Selected as host city in 1981, the 1988 Games were the first Winter Games to be held in Canada. A record 57 countries participated in the Games, with 1423 athletes competing and hundreds more involved as alternates. The University of Calgary was home to the Athlete’s Village – consisting of the Physical Education complex, the Dining Centre, and the student residences. Mike McAdam, head of UofC ancillary services and the operator of the village, reported that there were no major problems during the Games, “just a hundred minor things”, adding that the years of planning for the Games had paid off and that he had received nothing but favourable comments. “Athletes say this is the best Olympic village ever, and that the food is the best they’ve tasted at any competition anywhere.” The new training facilities in the Physical Education building – which was part of the village — was also highly rated by athletes: it was the first time such facilities were located within their living area at any Olympic games. Not surprisingly, the Olympic Oval reported that athletes and coaches rated it as the best speed skating facility in any Olympics. The Calgary Games were the first time Olympic speed skating events were held in an indoor facility. An indoor rink was deemed necessary to ensure that the events would proceed despite severely negative temperatures or ice-melting Chinook winds, either of which were possible in the city during February. Even prior to the Games’ opening, the nature of the ice in the facility resulted in numerous world and Canadian records were being set, and in several athletes careening into the end boards as their faster-than-normal skating speeds resulted in out of control corners! During the Games students had a two week-long extended Reading Week(s) and support staff were granted 5 days of paid “Olympic leave”, but campus departments and administrative units continued to operate much as usual. The campus was festooned with Olympic pageantry and the university was host to the Olympic Arts Festival – a panoply of exhibits, music, dance and drama productions. The university also received numerous permanent art acquisitions, including Brothers of the Wind and Spire – both of which are well known to visitors to the Oval. Despite being one of the most expensive Olympics held up until then, the Calgary Games realized over $140 million in profit revenue. At the closing ceremonies, held in McMahon Stadium, International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch declared the Calgary Games “the most successful Olympic Games ever”.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1989

University Technologies International is launched

University Technologies International (UTI), the first for profit, university-owned technology commercialization and intellectual property management company in Canada, was launched by the University of Calgary on June 1, 1989.  Dedicated to creating business opportunities from scientific innovation, the birth of UTI was not without pain, as General Faculties Council vigorously debated the pros and cons of establishing such an entity.  Concerns about legal and moral liability, the membership of the Board of Directors, financial returns, and the power of GFC were raised during a 2 hour discussion on the subject.  Ultimately the “yays” prevailed and UTI’s mandate and memorandum of understanding were approved, allowing the corporation to be established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the university. In its first year of operations, the new company received $50,000 from the University of Calgary, a sum more than handsomely repaid 10 years later when UTI provided the university with a one-time cash donation of $900,000 after a record-breaking year of operations.  “I would like to compliment UTI on its successful record,” said UofC President Terry White, in response to this donation in 2000.  “Since its inception in 1989, the company has provided a vital service to the university in helping our researchers transfer new technology to the market.”  The UofC agreed to set aside half of the money to fund UTI Fellowships for a decade, providing assistance to its students and researchers in medicine, engineering and science faculties. In 2010 University Technologies International partnered with Calgary Technologies Inc. (CTI) to form Innovate Calgary, “a full-service organization offering technology transfer and business incubator services to researchers, entrepreneurs and businesses within the advanced technology sector”.  With more than 50 years combined experience, the new venture focusses its activities on the growth of technology commercialization in southern Alberta.

Celebrating 50 Years: 1990

University focusses efforts on improving well-being of staff and students

In a year marked by global recession, provincial operating grants that were stagnant or falling, and cross-campus budgetary shortfalls, the University of Calgary introduced a number of new initiatives which focused on improving staff well-being, including: Day Care: President Murray Fraser appointed a committee to “develop in some detail a feasible strategy through which the university can best meet the child care needs of its students, faculty and staff”. The appointment of the committee signaled the university’s intention to become more actively involved in resolving outstanding child care issues. While a Senate Task Force Report had recommended capital costs be funded by corporate contributions, fund-raising attempts had shown this was not feasible and other approaches needed to be considered by the committee. The campus daycare had 66 children from infants to age 5 – the waiting list stood at 476 children. The majority of children belonged to student-parents, with the remainder of the parents being either faculty or staff Job rotation program: A new job rotation program was launched as a pilot project, allowing university support staff in different campus units to exchange jobs for a period of 6-12 months. The program was part of the university’s ongoing effort to improve career development opportunities for staff. Employees with similar job classifications and duties exchanged jobs and then returned to their original positions with new skills, increased adaptability and motivation. The outcomes were intended to benefit both the individual and the university which would be better able to make good use of staff skills and talents.  It was anticipated that external job rotations involving other post-secondary educational institutions would be possible, as well as international support staff exchanges. Staff Assistance Program: A new staff assistance program was established when the university contracted a consulting firm to provide counselling and referral services to employees needing help with a wide range of concerns, such as financial problems, alcohol and drugs, stress and marriage difficulties. The program – similar to those beginning to be offered by other larger employers in Calgary — was initially considered by Deans’ Council and later became part of the collective bargaining process with both faculty and staff. Kelly, Luttmer, Schram and Associates Ltd, which provided the service to campus employees, indicated that staff assistance programs contribute towards lower staff turnover, fewer grievance procedures and less absenteeism. In its first six-months of operations the program received 100 requests from employees. Sexual Harassment Advisor: Following extensive review and consultation, revised university policy and procedures concerning sexual harassment were approved, necessitating the appointment of a sexual harassment advisor for the university. Serving as the first official university contact in allegations of sexual harassment, the advisor was required to “be able to deal in an objective, impartial, empathic and confidential manner with complainants and respondents”. The position was intended to be a half-time position, released from the individual’s current position, without additional remuneration. Donna Ferrara-Kerr, a lawyer and instructor in the Faculty of Management, accepted the position for a two-year term and was charged with educating the university community about sexual harassment through workshops and seminars, in addition to investigating and seeking resolution to complaints and reports of sexual harassment on campus. Campus Women’s Centre: A volunteer-run Women’s Collective and Resource Centre opened in MacEwan Hall, following a determined two-year struggle to secure space and funding to allow it to operate. The mandate of the centre “is to work to overcome discrimination against women” by providing a forum for networking, the exchange of information and education. Julie Kearns, former chair of the Status of Women Committee, indicated that, given the large number of women on campus in the student population as well as in faculty and secretarial/clerical positions, the centre could play a dynamic role in supporting the goals of women and advancing their position. Parental Leave: The University of Calgary was the first university in Canada to adopt a policy allowing graduate students to take parental leave without jeopardizing their studies. The Faculty of Graduate Studies urged national granting agencies, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, to follow the UofC’s lead. The policy, which affirmed the principle that graduate students of both sexes must be given adequate opportunities for pre- and post-natal care, allowed students a variety of options to take leave from their studies without penalty or payment of fees. Prior to the adoption of the policy, parental leave was negotiated on a case by case basis resulting in students who were unaware that leave could be granted running into difficulties in their programs.


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.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1992

University of Calgary goes into space

The Discovery space shuttle mission STS-42 which launched on 22 January 1992 carried the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 as its primary payload. A University of Calgary experiment involving a team of five researchers was included as part of the Microgravity Laboratory’s program. The team, led by Howard Parsons, an associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics, included: Roy Krouse, a UofC physics professor; Roy Preshaw, a professor in the Department of Surgery; Jayne Thirsk, manager of nutrition and patient services at the Foothills Hospital; and Denise Bullock, a clinical dietician at the Foothills Hospital. Their study focused on measuring body metabolism and changes in body composition, and implemented the “doubly labelled water” technique to measure how much energy astronauts use in space. The experiment was simple to perform: the astronauts had only to drink measured quantities of water labelled with non-radioactive isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen on the first day of the mission, and then collect samples of the shuttle’s non-labelled water supply and their own urine throughout the mission. Once back on Earth, the astronauts involved in the experiment again drank specific quantities of the labelled water. The Calgary researchers then analyzed the quantities of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in the samples collected, along with dietary logs kept during the mission, to calculate the quantities of the different molecules the astronauts ingested and how much passed out of their bodies. The results, when compared to measurements taken before the flight, would indicate the amount of energy each astronaut expended during the shuttle mission and would contribute to the microgravity lab’s studies into the effects of human adaptation to weightlessness. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space was a member of Discovery’s crew. As a payload specialist she was selected and trained to perform experiments in the Space-lab which contained the International Microgravity Laboratory-1. The microgravity program involved more than 200 scientists from 13 countries, including 19 Canadians. As a memento of the University of Calgary’s research participation in the STS-42 mission, Roberta Bondar presented the university with a signed plaque, containing pictures and crests from the mission, which now forms part of the University Archives’ memorabilia collection. Bondar received an Honorary Degree from the University of Calgary in June 1992.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1993

Building on the Vision Fundraising Campaign

During a period of economic recession and falling provincial funding for universities, the University of Calgary held its first national fundraising campaign, and what was then the most successful fundraising campaign in the history of Alberta. Launched during the university’s 25th anniversary celebrations in October 1991, the Building on the Vision Campaign set a goal to raise $40 million to strengthen teaching, research and facilities on campus. The campaign concluded in October 1993, having exceeded its objective by $5.6 million. “The enormous success of the campaign, particularly in these tough economic times, is a reflection of the strong level of support we enjoy within our community and beyond,” said President Murray Fraser. University of Calgary alumni pledged $3 million and another $2.2 million was given by the more than 80 percent of the 20,000 members of the student body who contributed to the campaign. Faculty, support staff and retired employees donated another $1.5 million. The strong commitment from the campus community, which came early in the campaign, was thought to have encouraged the corporate community, foundations, and thousands of individuals to participate in the nation-wide campaign. $33 million came from 85 pledges of $100,000 or more, and there were 10 gifts of $1 million or more. More than 8000 individuals contributed a total of $21.8 million. Students were the primary beneficiaries of the campaign, with funds going to library acquisitions, equipment, computer labs, a new child care facility, laboratory equipment, new academic program areas and an increased number of endowed chairs and professorships. At the campaign’s closing celebrations, Student Union President, Naheed Nenshi, expressed his thanks on behalf of the student body. “Every time we participate in an event made possible by the campaign, or find out that a professor has taken advantage of the teaching development program, or use new library books or computer labs, it makes a very big difference to us”, he said. In July 1996, the Building on the Vision arch was erected on campus to commemorate the pivotal campaign. A gift of campaign vice-chair Ann McCaig, the arch is inscribed with the university’s Scottish Gaelic motto Mo Shuile Togam Suas – I will lift up mine eyes – and carries plaques engraved with the names of individuals who were key to the university’s development. At the arch’s dedication ceremony McCaig joined campaign chair, then-Chancellor James Palmer, and other members of the campus community in unveiling one of the university’s most recognizable monuments.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1994

University of Calgary hosts Learned Societies Conference

The University of Calgary played host to the 1994 Learned Societies Conference, the first time the conference had been held on campus since 1968. With nearly 8100 delegates participating, the conference was not only the largest Learneds since the annual event began in 1948, it was also the largest convention hosted in Calgary that year. Held from 3-15 June, the Learneds Societies Conference encompassed the annual meetings of approximately 105 organizations for scholars involved in the humanities and social sciences. While each of the scholarly organizations held its own meetings, with presentation of research being the major emphasis, academics from other disciplines conducting work related to the social sciences and humanities were also expected to attend. “The reason the Learneds Societies is held on one campus is to encourage interdisciplinary work,” said Harry Hiller, director of the Conference Secretariat. “It’s not unusual to have someone in political science participating in a sociology session, for example.” The logistics of hosting such a large-scale event were massive, with organizers arranging over 1200 conference room bookings, more than 150 catered functions from coffee breaks to receptions and banquets, hotel block bookings, extra taxi stands on campus, rental car drop offs, discounted LRT passes, campus signage from banners to room signs, microcomputer labs to allow delegates to check their email, duplication and printing services, hundreds of orders for audio-visual equipment, a day care for children of delegates, portable stages and hospitality tents, exhibition areas, 12 President’s Receptions, daily busses to the Boundary Ranch in Kananaskis County where social events took place, coordinating the volunteers who were helping ensure the event ran smoothly, and much more. The conference provided an opportunity for the University of Calgary to support and facilitate an important scholarly event, to display its academic excellence to the broader post-secondary and research communities, and to reap the intellectual benefits of the conference. To facilitate the latter, it gave the conference secretariat a block grant to provide free registration to all interested faculty and graduate students on campus. The city of Calgary also benefited from the conference, with delegates injecting at least $4.4 million into the local economy. The Learneds Societies Conference, now known as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, is being held at the University of Calgary May 28-June 3, 2016, during the university’s 50th anniversary year.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1994

University of Calgary hosts Learned Societies Conference

The University of Calgary played host to the 1994 Learned Societies Conference, the first time the conference had been held on campus since 1968. With nearly 8100 delegates participating, the conference was not only the largest Learneds since the annual event began in 1948, it was also the largest convention hosted in Calgary that year. Held from 3-15 June, the Learneds Societies Conference encompassed the annual meetings of approximately 105 organizations for scholars involved in the humanities and social sciences. While each of the scholarly organizations held its own meetings, with presentation of research being the major emphasis, academics from other disciplines conducting work related to the social sciences and humanities were also expected to attend. “The reason the Learneds Societies is held on one campus is to encourage interdisciplinary work,” said Harry Hiller, director of the Conference Secretariat. “It’s not unusual to have someone in political science participating in a sociology session, for example.” The logistics of hosting such a large-scale event were massive, with organizers arranging over 1200 conference room bookings, more than 150 catered functions from coffee breaks to receptions and banquets, hotel block bookings, extra taxi stands on campus, rental car drop offs, discounted LRT passes, campus signage from banners to room signs, microcomputer labs to allow delegates to check their email, duplication and printing services, hundreds of orders for audio-visual equipment, a day care for children of delegates, portable stages and hospitality tents, exhibition areas, 12 President’s Receptions, daily busses to the Boundary Ranch in Kananaskis County where social events took place, coordinating the volunteers who were helping ensure the event ran smoothly, and much more. The conference provided an opportunity for the University of Calgary to support and facilitate an important scholarly event, to display its academic excellence to the broader post-secondary and research communities, and to reap the intellectual benefits of the conference. To facilitate the latter, it gave the conference secretariat a block grant to provide free registration to all interested faculty and graduate students on campus. The city of Calgary also benefited from the conference, with delegates injecting at least $4.4 million into the local economy. The Learneds Societies Conference, now known as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, is being held at the University of Calgary May 28-June 3, 2016, during the university’s 50th anniversary year.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1995

Site Dedication for the Rozsa Centre

The University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre has been acclaimed as “one of the most outstanding chamber music halls in Canada, if not North America.” Funded entirely by private donations to the university’s Building on the Vision campaign, the concept and drawings for the education and performance building were unveiled at a site dedication ceremony on November 17, 1995. Ted and Lola Rozsa, philanthropists and long-time supporters of the arts in Calgary, provided a $3.5 million gift towards the construction of the new building which houses a 385 seat concert hall, a 200-person gathering hall for conferences and performances, and several smaller meeting rooms. Dean of Fine Arts, John Roberts, said the building would provide rehearsal and performance spaces on campus, which were in short supply. “It is no secret that present music and dance facilities leave a great deal to be desired. There is not a single venue on campus that was designed for the performance of music or dance. We lack other essential facilities such as rehearsal and practice rooms, teaching studios and a centre for the arts and technology. The new building will remedy an unsatisfactory situation that has posed problems for faculty and students for many years….It’s a dream come true.” A ground breaking ceremony for the Centre took place in June 1996, and an opening festival was held in the newly completed building in November 1997. In 1999 the Rozsa Centre’s concert hall, the Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall, had a $440,000 recording studio installed which is able to produce the highest-possible quality recordings of live performances. “This is the recording studio of the 21st century”, said Michael MacFee, the engineer who designed the studio. “These systems approach as close as possible to reproducing what you hear in the hall”. The construction of the recording studio was delayed for two years while funding was arranged.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1996

Garden of Learning Sculpture Installed

Two new sculptures were donated to the university by members of its community and erected on campus in 1996. The Building the Vision Arch, commemorating the university’s hugely successful national fundraising campaign, was installed in the quadrangle outside the Students’ Union building. It was later moved to outside the Social Sciences Tower when the Taylor Quadrangle was constructed. Local artist Katie Ohe’s Garden of Learning sculpture was installed outside the Administration building in July. Fred and Robin Terentiuk gave the sculpture to the university because they wanted to contribute to the campus’s ‘intellectual atmosphere and aesthetic landscape’. Untitled when installed, the sculpture contains three symbols — a tree, a cradle and a root – representing the university’s mandate of research, teaching and service. Fred Terentiuk was a physics professor and university administrator. During his nearly 30 years at the university he served as the first director of Continuing Education, acting dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, acting director of the newly established School of Nursing, and Dean of University College, the predecessor of the Faculty of General Studies. He was also the university’s lead organizer for its involvement with the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. At least two other of Ohe’s works are installed at the University of Calgary. The Zipper, made of aluminum coated chrome, can revolve in three different directions at once. “It’s another example of the absurdity of man’s existence – turning and turning around in circles and never getting anywhere”, commented Vice-President Services, Michael Tims, when the sculpture was installed in 1975. The campus landmark apparently became a good luck charm for students: usually in motion it helped calm those working in the adjacent rooms, allowing them to concentrate on their work or exam writing. Ohe’s Conic Free Form, an aluminum and steel structure located in the main foyer of the Engineering Building, was commissioned by the Engineering Institute of Canada Wives Club as a project for Canada’s centennial in 1967.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1997

UofC 101 is launched

In the Fall of 1997, the University of Calgary replaced its New Student Orientation Program with UofC 101: The Introduction, a four day non-credit orientation course for first-year students held during the first week of September. The first program of its kind in Canada, UofC 101 was made mandatory by the General Faculties Council committee that designed the program because research indicated that orientation programs increase retention and decrease attrition of undergraduate students. “The research is strong that when students take part in orientation activities they make a smoother transition to the university environment,” said Peggy Patterson, Associate VP (Student Affairs). “They are more likely to achieve higher grades, participate in extra-curricular activities and use campus resources.” The course began with campus dignitaries welcoming students during an assembly in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. Chancellor Ann McCaig, President Terry White, Patterson, past Alumni Association president Barry Kowalski and Students’ Union president Pat Cleary spoke to the incoming body of students, focusing their comments on how the students’ success would help to build a stronger university. While initially the GFC committee declared the course would be mandatory, ultimately the design of UofC 101 included enough activities that were necessary for students to participate in – such as receiving campus cards and email accounts — that it would be difficult for students to get connected to the university community without being involved in the course. Other aspects of the program included information for students about essay writing, career planning, student loans, parking passes, available technology, other resources and how to access them, a tour of the library, clubs, campus activities, and how to succeed in the first year. The university tracked the performance of first year students in the year after UofC 101 was introduced and found that the course appeared to have a significant impact on student academic performance. The average Grade Point Average for all frosh students was 2.58; for those who skipped UofC 101 it was 2.30; and for those who attended the program it was 2.71. The results supported the research that had led to the creation of the program, and its success was being watched by other Canadian universities which were also impressed with the results and wanted to replicate it.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1998

 Strategic Transformation begins: Strategic Clusters of faculties announced

Early in 1998, the findings of the two-year long Strategic Transformation process began to be implemented at the University of Calgary.  Created in May 1996 to integrate and coordinate strategic planning at the university, the Strategic Transformation Task Force was charged with the mandate of 1) developing a comprehensive and integrative plan for institutional … »direction and 2) coordinating existing innovative efforts and identifying additional issues and activities that must be addressed for an integrated institutional approach. The Task Force’s efforts culminated in the production of the document “Our Strategic Direction to the Future”, which was approved by General Faculties Council and the Board of Governors in December 1996. The University then created several design and other situation assessment teams to evolve and develop action plans for implementing the Strategic Direction. In February 1998 President Terry White announced the clustering of faculties into five strategic groups in order to accommodate some of the changes necessary for transformation.  While the suggestion of some teams had been to reorganize the university into four “super-faculties”, Dr White’s view was that “any such proposals need very careful consideration because they involve major changes in structures that we know well, and it is important to ensure that any improvements expected are not accompanied by deterioration in the quality of our existing activities.” The strategic clusters would “encourage and support collaborative ventures that transcend boundaries between faculties, departments and other units” while allowing those units to retain their separate identities.  The strategic clusters were:

  • Health Sciences: Kinesiology, Medicine, Nursing, Social Work
  • Humanities and Arts: Fine Arts, General Studies, Humanities
  • Management and Law: Management and Law
  • Science and Technology: Engineering, Environmental Design, Science
  • Social Sciences and Education: Social Sciences and Education

The clusters were encouraged to develop their own identities and significant collaborative activities.  Resource allocation would give priority to strategic clusters in order to ensure their success.  In making his announcement, President White stated “the grouping of our facilities into Strategic Clusters for purposes of planning and resource allocation will help us to align the planning and actions of the university with our Strategic Direction without disrupting our existing operations…Strategic Clusters of faculties will facilitate and support the collaborations and partnerships that are essential in building on our existing strengths to create a university for the future.


Celebrating 50 Years: 1999

Tent Camps and Soup Kitchens: Students Protest Tuition Costs

The University of Calgary campus was the site of tent cities and soup kitchens during the spring of 1999 as students protested proposed increases in tuition fees. The proposed increases came as a result of province-wide fiscal restraints as Alberta emerged from the recession of the late 1980s-early 1990s with a huge debt load. Premier Ralph Klein’s austerity measures aimed at paying off public debt resulted in deep cuts in government spending, and operating grants to the university had been reduced or only marginally increased annually since 1994. As a consequence, the university’s operating grant for the 1999-2000 year was less than that received for 1991-1992. Faced with decreasing revenues and increased costs, the university’s Planning and Finance Committee proposed a number of scenarios for tuition levels, including increasing tuition fees by the maximum allowed by provincial legislation. Board of Governors’ Chair Ted Newall expressed concern that increased tuition fees might be necessary in order to retain faculty and staff and maintain the quality of programs offered at the university. Discussions with the province regarding the university’s funding issues had received the response that the university needed to raise more funds from the private sector, he said. Students’ Union representatives pulled out of the consultation process with the Board of Governors in December 1998 when they felt that the discussions were not leading to the results they wanted to see. The SU committed over $30,000 to fight the tuition increase, and during the spring of 1999 it spent some of these funds by sponsoring a series of Soup Kitchens on campus through the Campus Food Bank. In the days leading up to the March 26th Board of Governors’ meeting that would determine tuition fee hikes, student protesters camped in tents outside MacEwan Hall, and on the morning of the meeting about 800 students marched across campus carrying placards protesting the proposed increase. Ultimately, a four-hour-long Board meeting resulted in a decision not to increase tuition fees by the maximum allowed, settling instead on an increase of 80% of that amount. The Board indicated it was “very sensitive to the views of students” and the 10,000-name petition presented to it by SU President Paul Galbraith. Hence it voted in favor of a lesser increase which would result in a $1.054 million shortfall in the university’s budget. Galbraith predicted students would be pleased with the outcome, though unhappy that there was any increase at all.

Celebrating 50 Years: 2000

University of Calgary “Ghost-boggan” wins Concrete Toboggan Race

A team of civil engineering students from University of Calgary won the 26th Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) – a first for the campus since 1989.  The “Ghost-boggan” sled posted the fastest time at 10.3 seconds with a top speed of 45 km per hour, and the best braking system, winning the Calgary Cup and defeating more than 20 other teams from across Canada and the northern United States. In addition to speed, competitors are judged on a number of factors, including: concrete mix, brake design, overall sled design, sled aesthetics, shortest braking distance and the most spectacular run.  In addition, the sled can weigh a maximum of 300 lbs, all surfaces touching the snow must be concrete, and a safety roll bar and braking system must form part of the design.  Teams are also required to present a technical paper and to exhibit the creative aspects of their sled design. Third and fourth year civil engineering students formed a team totaling 33 members for the competition.  Spending only $500 on their sled, the team used the Ghostbusters movie as its theme and included costumes and an exhibit which recreated the Ghostbuster hall, complete with working fire pole.  “It felt good to beat the big teams from down East with their $5,000 toboggans,” says team member Scott MacDougall, a fourth-year civil engineering student. “Waterloo has a project management course dedicated to designing a toboggan.” First held in Red Deer in 1975, the GNCTR is the oldest and largest engineering student competition in Canada.  As of 2016, the University of Calgary has won the competition five times: in 1989, 2000, 2004, 2011 and 2015; and has hosted the event four time, most recently in 2012.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2001

University Receives Accredited Tartan

The University received its official tartan in an accreditation ceremony in May 2001. The tartan was designed by Jim Odell, a University graduate in education and fine arts. The colours in the tartan are a reflection of the Arms of the University: scarlet, gold and black. Odell designed the pattern using the “boldness and simplicity of the older and more traditional tartans” in order to create a strong visual statement for the University. Duncan Paisley of Westerlea, President of the Scottish Tartans Society and Director of the Register of All Publicly Known Tartans, presided over the accreditation ceremony, the first of its kind in Canada. The tartan is used in the ceremonial dress of the University Pipe Band and is an integral part of the colour guard during Convocation marches. A length of the tartan was also presented to the University Archives to form part of the permanent collection.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2002

Changes to the “West 40”

Affectionately known as the “Back 40” or the “West 40,” the lands to the west of the main campus had remained untouched since the University first started development.  Originally the lands were known as the Higher Education Reserve and had been acquired by the Province of Alberta; the then Minister of Public Works held title to the land until such time as a specific use was determined.  The land title was transferred to the University of Calgary in 1980. The Higher Education Reserve Lands later became known as the West Campus.  The University recognized the high value that the area represented in planning for future needs and responsibilities including instructional, research, and service programs.  Over the years, numerous consultations were held, planning programs and designs were considered, and development and concepts were reviewed.  The West Campus lands totaled 183 acres, although slightly less than that was viable for development due to topography.  However, the opportunities for development and growth were significant. By 2001, consultation, planning and discussions had resulted in the West Campus Land Development and Concept Plan which identified the location for the new Alberta Children’s Hospital on the site.  The remaining West Campus lands were to be maintained for future development as a “vibrant sustainable community of scholars, students, researchers and practitioners in the fields of health and wellness, energy, transportation, information and communication technology, and other as yet undefined opportunities. The ground breaking for the Alberta Children’s Hospital took place in September 2002.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2003

100,000 Graduates / EULE Legacy

In 2003 the University reached a milestone and celebrated 100,000 graduates at the June convocation. The year also saw a culmination of the work of the Enhancing Undergraduate Learning Experience (EULE) team which created a roadmap for future action and initiatives. Reaching the 100,000 graduate marker was attributed to the rapid growth of the University – from 2 buildings and under 4,000 students in 1966 to the small city-within-a-city and close to 30,000 students in 2003. For a young university (at only 37 years old), the achievement was even more remarkable. The University continued to look towards the future by seeking ways to continue providing the best learning experience and environment. The Enhancing Undergraduate Learning Experience (EULE) team wrapped up two years of work to coordinate and communicate the integration of key institutional priorities regarding the quality of the undergraduate experience in a research university. Major achievements of the EULE team were: • Creation of UofC Direct Entry • Exploration of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) – investigating what was already in place on campus; developing an understanding of how to implement IBL more fully; communicating how IBL can be vital to invigorating students’ interest in research and academic curiosity; and how IBL could enhance student experience and success. • Development of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Action Plan including the implementation of the UofC Researchers’ Speakers Series and seeking to increase undergraduate research opportunities. EULE played a foundational role in positioning the University as it continues towards its goal of the top 5 research Universities.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2004

Donations advance University research

Several generous gifts and donations in 2004 provided strong support for furthering research and innovation at the University: The University had leased the Petro-Canada Research Laboratory Building since 1991; in 2004, in the 2nd largest donation then received by the University, Petro-Canada donated the building in its entirety. The building is home to the teaching and research activities of the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering including (in 2004) 550 undergraduate and graduate students, 33 faculty and 17 staff. Ongoing research projects included Thermo Fluids and Energy Systems, Automation Control and Robotics, and Bioengineering. The building was officially named the Petro-Canada Building to honor the donation. In the largest single donation by an individual, Allan Markin of Canadian Natural Resources gifted $18 million to the University to endow several research chairs and establish the Institute for Public Health. Dr. Penny Hawe, the Markin Chair in Health and Society, defined the scope of public health: “we try and understand health by looking at larger and larger processes…how things like schooling, housing, and the economy might have an impact on health.” The Institute kickoff was an international symposium on “21st Century Public Health.” Harley Hotchkiss donated $10 million to create the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Hotchkiss’ vision for the Institute was as a “centre of excellence in neurological and mental health, integrating research, education and discoveries into innovative health care for Albertans while creating the neurological and mental health enterprise of the future.” The Institute was designed to leverage existing core competencies in stroke, brain repair, regeneration and functional recover, neural cell signaling and mental disorders and brain imaging. Chancellor Emeritus James Palmer donated $2 million for the establishment of the James S. and Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Law and Public Policy. The vision for the Chair was as a truly interdisciplinary position: based in the Faculty of Law, a Distinguished Research Fellow with the Institute for Advanced Policy Research, with research and teaching across the spectrums of Law, Social Sciences, Humanities, Economics, Energy, and Environment.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2005

Engineering Firsts

Seymour Schulich’s $25 million donation, matched by the Government of Alberta, was the largest charitable gift then received at the University, and the first time a Canadian engineering school was named in honour of a benefactor. Schulich, then 65, was the co-founder of Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation, Chairman of Newmount Capital Limited and Vice-Chairman Emeritus of Beutel, Goodman & Company, one of the largest pension fund management companies in Canada. Schulich’s endowment would be used to create a total of 102 scholarships, assist with supporting engineering student field trips, clubs, teams and associations and would also fund three new research char positions, the first to focus on biomedical engineering. Up to $500,000 yearly would also be allocated to student job placements, fund raising, recruiting personnel, course development and learning materials. The dedication ceremony for the Schulich School of Engineering took place June 2nd, 2005. Engineering students achieved another first in 2005 with their entry into the 4,000 km North American Solar Car Challenge. The race started in Austin Texas with the final leg from Medicine Hat culminating in the finish line at the University. The solar car was designed, constructed, tested and raced by a team of graduate and undergraduate students.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2006

40th Anniversary Celebrations

In 2006 the University celebrated its 40th anniversary. The number of fulltime students had grown from 3,740 in 1966 to over 24,000. Several achievements and celebrations marked the 40th year of autonomy: • Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for three buildings that each held the promise of fostering new forms of learning and research: the Campus Calgary Digital Library (now the Taylor Family Digital Library); the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy; the Experiential Learning Centre. • A one-of-a-kind replica of a German Baroque-era organ is installed in the Eckhardt-Grammate Hall. Built by Jergen and Hendrik Ahrend of German, the organ is dedicated to outgoing Provost and VP (Academic), Dr. Ron Bond. • Dr. Henry Jok Ying Tung donates $2 million towards a new international residence for students and visiting scholars. • Women’s Resource Centre opens on the 3rd floor of MacEwan Hall. • The Nickle Arts Museum celebrates the 40th with an exclusive exhibition from Peru: “Ancient Peru Unearthed – Treasures of a Lost Civilization.” Specific celebrations for the 40th included: • Dr. Tony Rasporich collects materials for the anniversary memoir book: Make No Small Plans: The University of Calgary at 40 • Faculties and departments all work the 40th anniversary theme into their Campus Fair exhibits and displays • “Contrasts” festival stages several concerts highlighting jazz, classical and vocal music. • KICKOFF event or the Once-in-Four-Decades-All-Day-Birthday-Bash. • 40th Anniversary Carnival hosted by Human Resources


Celebrating 50 Years: 2007

University of Calgary-Qatar is launched

May 8, 2007 saw the official opening of the University of Calgary-Qatar (UC-Q) campus, the then largest overseas program developed by a Canadian university.   A gala evening event at the Diplomatic Club in Doha inaugurating UC-Q boasted a guest list that included Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, consort to the Emir, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, and a delegation of Alberta and U of C representatives. Videotaped messages from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Calgary Mayor David Bronconnier and U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten were part of the celebrations. The UC-Q branch campus initially offered a baccalaureate degree in nursing, with the intention of phasing in master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, as well as specialty nursing programs, during the course of the 10-year agreement.  The program is supported by the Qatari government as part of its Qatar National Vision 2030 campaign, which charts a course for the country that includes goals for both an educated and healthy population.  Those goals include offering education and research programs that meet international quality standards, as well as creating a new nursing education and research facility that features the latest in academic programs and medical technology.  Announcing the creation of UC-Q, University of Calgary President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Harvey Weingarten said, “The University of Calgary is excited to be playing a lead role in delivering world class health care in Qatar. It’s an opportunity to broaden our international exposure while assisting the Qatari government in its efforts to redefine health care in Qatar and the Gulf region.” The program offered prospects for local personnel as well, said President Weingarten. “Calgary students and professors will also have an unprecedented opportunity to gain international experience teaching and learning overseas.  They will bring new skills and insights to their health care practices when they return to Canada.” In addition to the nursing school, UC-Q campus includes a Learning Commons, writing centre, bookstore, language resource centre, and student services centre which offers student advising, recruitment, admissions and recreational activities.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2008

Veterinary Medical School opens to inaugural class

Established in 2005, the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine opened its doors to its inaugural class – the class of 2012 – in the fall of 2008.  The Faculty, Canada’s fifth school of Veterinary Medicine and the first to be opened in two decades, offered an innovative undergraduate veterinary program and graduate degrees designed to meet the needs of rural Alberta, the production animal and equine industries, animal and human health research and public health. “This is a very exciting day for us”, said Dean Alistair Cribb. “Our faculty have put together an exceptional program to match the quality of the outstanding Albertan students that have been accepted.” The program, which is based on a partnership with the veterinary and animal health communities across western Canada, integrates active hands-on learning with scientific knowledge throughout its curriculum.  In a new initiative called co-curricular record, students participate in off-campus experiential learning activities in each semester of their degree, with the final year spent learning with veterinarians across Alberta during 40 weeks of practicum rotation experiences.  While the program provides a general veterinary education and prepares students for the range of professional careers in the profession, students also select one area they wish to focus on, and in which they will receive additional educational opportunities. Hands on clinical, diagnostic, surgical and professional skills are taught in the Clinical Skills Building on the Spy Hill Campus which was opened in the fall of 2009 as students were entering the second year of their program.  “The new facility features leading-edge imaging, surgical and diagnostic areas for large and small animals. Not only will it offer an advanced learning environment, it will help our students expand their understanding of the interactions between animal and human health, and build our province’s capacity to protect our food supply and exports”, commented Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, at the opening celebrations.  “Having access to the new technology, equipment and the building itself up at Spy Hill will enhance our learning experience in ways we can’t even imagine at this time”, said Amber Hutchinson, Class of 2012 President.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2009

Honorary Degree conferred in space!

University of Calgary alumnus and Canadian astronaut, Robert Thirsk (BSc’76), received an Honorary Degree from his alma mater on July 8, 2009 while on a 189-day mission aboard the International Space Station.  The first Canadian to receive an Honorary Degree via live downlink from space, Thirsk was also the first Canadian to fly in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the first Canadian Space Agency astronaut to spend 6 months in orbit aboard the Space Station. “If I can’t be in Calgary, I think the second-best place to be is in space,” said Thirsk who did a weightless summersault to express his excitement at receiving the Honorary Degree.  “When I was a student at UofC 33 years ago, I had a dream of one day flying in space and being an astronaut. Fulfilling that dream is a great feeling. Education really is the key to making your dreams come true.” A University of Calgary mechanical engineering graduate, Thirsk later earned two master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from McGill University.  Dr Thirsk served as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 20/21, a 6 month tour of duty and the first time a Canadian took part in a long duration mission.  While on the mission he had responsibility for maintenance and repair of the space station, and for conducting experiments on behalf of Canadian and international researchers that will set the stage for future long-distance missions to the moon and Mars. The Honorary Degree was conferred during a live convocation ceremony on the University of Calgary campus which Thirsk was virtually present at via live satellite downlink.  (Watch the video) “To say we are watching this mission with great pride and interest is an understatement,” U of C President Harvey Weingarten told assembled guests, which included nearly 100 young teens from university summer camp programs. “Dr. Thirsk is a tremendous ambassador for the University of Calgary and for Canada. His accomplishments are beyond impressive and he is a thoroughly genuine and compassionate person.”   Thirsk returned to campus on February 8, 2010 to accept the honorary degree in person. In addition to his honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary, Thirsk received the distinguished alumni award in 1985 and he is an Officer of the Order of Canada.  Thirsk was elected the 13th chancellor of the UofC in May 2014.

Celebrating 50 Years: 2010

President Cannon installed as University of Calgary’s 8th President and Vice-Chancellor

Dr Elizabeth Cannon, a three-time alumnus of the University of Calgary, was officially installed as the university’s eighth president and vice-chancellor on October 8, 2010 – its first female president and its first alumnus to serve in that role.  During the traditional ceremony she took the Oath of Office from The Honourable Donald Ethell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and was invested with the university’s presidential robes. An expert in geomatics engineering, Dr Cannon received a BSc, MSc and PhD at the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Acadia University.  Prior to being appointed President, Cannon was a faculty member and later the first female Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. A Professional Engineer, she is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. During her installation address Cannon indicated her intention to work with all its stakeholders to build the University of Calgary into one of the world’s top research universities, while enhancing undergraduate education and ensuring the institution’s financial and environmental sustainability.  “The University of Calgary has invested much in me – through my almost 30 years as a student, professor and dean – and I am ready to invest all that I have into the future of this university, its people, its potential…We have the talent, we have the community to back us, and we have the courage to make this a university that stands among the best in the world, and we will work together as one university to ensure that our goals are extremely ambitious, clearly define and supported by all. This requires a process that will be, and must be, rigorous and transparent. It will involve all our stakeholders in discussion and planning and it will end with a clear plan for the future.” A year following her installation, Dr Cannon launched Eyes High, a vision for the University of Calgary to become one of Canada’s top five research universities by its 50thanniversary in 2016.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2011

Royalty pays a visit to the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary was the only university in Canada to be honoured with a visit from Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the royal couple’s 2011 cross-Canada tour.  After arriving in Calgary on July 7th the Duke and Duchess toured the Ward of the 21st Century (W21C) Research and Innovation Centre which features technology-focussed research projects that improve the quality of life and safety of care for patients. The work of the Centre directly relates to Prince William’s role as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. The visit provided the university with a wonderful opportunity to highlight the University of Calgary and the work undertaken on W21C to the media and audiences worldwide.  “There’s really no other place in the world with a living laboratory like ours,” said Dr. William Ghali, director of the Calgary Institute for Population and Public Health and co-director of the research program at W21C. “Our research is aimed at improving patient safety and quality of care, which are universal concerns. As such, the progress made here in Calgary could have lasting impacts to people all over the world.” “I was thrilled to lead the Duke and Duchess through the tour of the W21C” said President Cannon.  “Their Highnesses were keenly interested in the W21C demonstrations: the ASL Mobile Eye (an eye movement tracking system); iStan (a human patient simulator that breathes, bleeds and can tell a doctor where it hurts); WiTAT (wireless bandage that monitors a patient’s core temperature); XSENSOR ForeSite Patient Turn System (a bed that monitors pressure and tells healthcare providers when a patient needs to be moved); and Clean Keys (a keyboard that helps prevent the spread of infections). The Duke and Duchess asked many questions of the researchers and graduate students who presented these leading edge technologies to them. iStan even thanked Their Royal Highnesses for visiting the University of Calgary and the W21C, and congratulated them on their wedding. “ Accompanying the President and Their Royal Highnesses were Alberta Premier Stelmach and Mrs Stelmach, Chancellor Jim Dinning and Board of Governors Chair Douglas Black. At the conclusion of their visit, the royal couple unveiled a plaque commemorating their visit which was placed in the W21C Research and Innovation Centre.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2012

University of Calgary Grows its Sustainability Activities

In September 2012 the University of Calgary announced the appointment of its first Chief Sustainability Officer, the first Canadian university to establish such a position.  In the new position, Joanne Perdue had responsibility for integrating sustainability into all aspects of the university including teaching, co-curricular student activities, research, service learning, and operations across campus.  The University of Calgary established an Office of Sustainability in 2007 and began integrating sustainability into university policy, planning and reporting frameworks, earning a Silver rating in 2011 under the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System which ranks post-secondary institutions across North America. Some of the many sustainable ventures and accomplishments undertaken and realized at the University of Calgary in 2012 included:


Celebrating 50 Years: 2013

Don and Ruth Taylor donate $40 million to establish a home for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

In April 2013 the University of Calgary received a $40 million gift — the largest donation it had received to that date – from Don and Ruth Taylor in order to establish the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning on the campus.  The first of its kind in Canada, the teaching and learning institute is intended to inspire teaching excellence across campus, and will help to propel the University of Calgary towards its goal of becoming one of the country’s top five research universities.  President Cannon noted that the Institute would have a tremendous impact on teaching and learning across North America. “It’s a game changer because you look at how teaching is evolving, you see these massive open online courses, you see technology in a classroom, we’re seeing how students learn differently – they’re in the community, they’re working in interdisciplinary teams. We have to keep pace, we have to do research, see what works and what doesn’t and use that to stay on the leading edge.” Don Taylor — the same philanthropist whose earlier $25 million gift to the University of Calgary led to the creation of the Taylor Family Digital Library – was prompted to donate the money to create the Institute in part because of his experience as a sessional instructor while an engineering student.   “When Elizabeth (Cannon) approached me with the idea of a teaching and learning centre, memories of my agony (and) the students not appreciating my efforts came flooding back.  (The Institute) struck me as being the vanguard of a new way of education at the university level – and a new way to teach students” he said.  Ruth Taylor, a former teacher, school counsellor and vice-principal, has a keen awareness of how important it is to provide students with learning opportunities that inspire them.  She and her husband share a passion for life-long learning and have come to appreciate that understanding the learning process is an integral part of enhancing teaching skills at the university level. The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning was officially opened on 18 April 2016, during the university’s 50th anniversary year.  “The possibilities are endless when it comes to transformative education practices”, said President Cannon to the 200 invited community partners, philanthropists, students, faculty and staff.  “With a wealth of new hands-on-learning experiences available to students both on and off campus, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning will shine a light on teaching excellence, and serve as a touchstone for improvements across the country and around the world.”


Celebrating 50 Years: 2014

$200 million donation provides sustainable funding for medical research in the newly named Cumming School of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine was renamed the Cumming School of Medicine in June 2014 when University of Calgary alumnus and businessman Geoffrey Cumming donated $100 million for medical research. The largest single donation to the university in its history was matched by the Government of Alberta in a surprise announcement by Alberta Premier Dave Hancock during the celebration of Mr Cumming’s gift.  The $200 million in combined funding for the School is one of the largest single investments in medical research to a Canadian university. “This gift of $100 million will create long-term sustainable funding for our research programs, allowing our university to exponentially expand medical research and attract the world’s top researchers” said President Elizabeth Cannon.  “The Cumming School of Medicine will innovate solutions to solve pressing health challenges through cutting-edge medical research.” Premier Hancock added, “This initiative will solidify Alberta’s position as a global leader in the area of medical research, to help save lives, to improve quality of life and bring medical breakthroughs to the world.” Joined by family members and 600 invited guests, Geoffrey Cumming explained the impetus for his extraordinary gift.  “I wanted to create genuine, impactful advances in medical science which will make our society and the world better.  Making this donation today is one of the greatest pleasures in my life and I’m particularly keen to see how this large-scale medical program unfolds over the next two to three decades.”  The funding is intended to build on the School’s internationally recognized strengths, particularly in the two priority areas of brain and mental health; and infections, inflammation and chronic diseases. 2014 was also marked by the University of Calgary’s entry into the list of top 10 universities in the world under 50 years of age.  The university was ranked as the top-ranked young university in Canada for the fourth year in a row, but its international ranking leaped over four other schools to become the 9th best in the world among universities established after 1964.


Celebrating 50 Years: 2015

Two new residences open: Aurora Hall and Crowsnest Hall

Two new residences built especially to house third and fourth year undergraduate and graduate students were opened on 16 September 2015 with a sand ceremony.  The ceremony involved pouring vials of brightly coloured sand in a variety of hues into a common vessel to celebrate the symbolic blending of the two new buildings with the entire university community. Aurora Hall was designed to accommodate 268 students in two and three-bedroom suites incorporating full kitchens and bathrooms.  It is linked to the other undergraduate residences, the Dining Centre and the Residence Services Information Desk by an existing system of tunnels.  The building was named for a mountain located in the Blue Range of the Canadian Rockies, in keeping with the university’s history of naming its residences based on features of the Rocky Mountains. Crowsnest Hall accommodates 390 graduate students in one and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens and private bathrooms.  Also included in the building are an academic project room, study rooms, a music room, a multipurpose room and an event kitchen.  Crowsnest Hall was named for Crowsnest Pass which links Alberta and British Columbia, and which was the first passage built through the Rock Mountain range. At the official opening of the buildings President Elizabeth Cannon said “This is an important milestone in the history of the University of Calgary.  With the addition of two new buildings, we have physically enhanced the image of our campus and supported our Eyes High strategic plan by improving graduate student housing, providing more alternatives for international students, and by creating supportive infrastructure which features more housing choices on campus.” Both buildings were designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification in keeping with the University of Calgary’s commitment to sustainability.  They produce only half of the CO2 of the average student residence building in Canada; will reduce the personal green house gas footprint of every student living in them by more than 4 tonnes; and will have 40% lower energy costs than conventional buildings.


Celebrating 50 Years — 2016

The University of Calgary celebrates its 50th anniversary

Fifty years after legislation created the University of Calgary, a year-long celebration began to recognize a half-century of the institution’s pioneering spirit, its evolution from a somewhat humble start to one of the leading universities in Canada, its impact on the community at large, and its boundless potential.  An Alumni Weekend beginning on April 29thlaunched the year of events aimed at celebrating the milestone anniversary and creating opportunities for the broader community to engage in lectures, tours, exhibits and special presentations which highlighted the teaching, learning and research that is at the core of the university’s mandate. During its 50th year the University hosted the 75th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences for the first time since 1994. Attended by over 8000 scholars and involving more than 5500 research presentations, the event provided the University with an opportunity to showcase its successes to a broad sector of the research community.  A key goal of the University of Calgary has been to be one of Canada’s top research universities by its 50th anniversary.  It achieved that goal, and more, ranking among the top young universities in the world for the 5 years leading up to its 50th year. In 2016 the University was listed as number 1 in both Canada and North America on the Times Higher Education Top 150 under 50 and the Quacquarelli Symonds Limited World University Rankings. The University has also been recognized as one of the top 200 most globally oriented universities in the world and one of the world’s top 200 universities overall.  Perhaps most notably, it achieved sixth place in the list of Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities based on sponsored research income of over $358 million: an increase of 10.5 per cent compared to the national average of only 0.6 per cent. This success was even more remarkable at a time of declining government support, making the ability to attract not-for-profit and corporate funding increasingly important.  Of Canada’s top 50 universities, only 21 increased their research income; the other 29 experienced declining revenues.  UCalgary was solidly amongst those celebrating an upswing in their research funding. “When we set out in 2011 to rank among the top research universities in Canada, we recognized that being a young university was a strength for building a strategically focused research program, and for building support,” said President Elizabeth Cannon.  “While attracting growing support in the community, we have continued to enhance our research programs while providing the rich educational opportunities that will prepare our students to lead in our rapidly evolving world….This – our 50th Anniversary year – has truly been a transformational one for the University of Calgary.  And it is due to the ongoing dedication and achievements of our incredible students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and friends whose pioneering spirit, passionate curiosity and quest for innovation inspire us daily.”