The number fifty. It is what is considered the golden anniversary for a married couple. For people who practice photography, it is, in millimeters, the focal length of a normal lens in 35 mm photography. It is a milestone achievement to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of an NHL season, first set by Maurice Richard. To stretch the sports analogy a bit, it is fifty years ago today that the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA Chamionship. While Bostonians might remember this day fondly another trophy for their basketball team or perhaps just as casual Friday…
For us Calgarians, we can all fondly look at this day as the day that the University of Calgary was created. Let me take you on a journey to the past for a bit here. In 1906, Alberta established its first post-secondary institution, the Alberta Normal School, which today we now know as the Werklund School of Education. Two years after its establishment, the University of Alberta was founded in Strathcona and Calgary was given a “branch” of the university as an institution for post-secondary education. But Calgarians were not content with this. They wanted to have an institution of higher learning to call their own. And so they lobbied for decades with great fervor and dedication until on this day, the 29th of April, fifty years ago, the University of Calgary was established.
And it is also today that the University of Calgary has launched a year-long celebration of the legacies this hallowed institution. It was here at the Energy Environment Experiential Learning building that this celebration began to joyous fanfare and roaring crowds. I walk towards the building to be greeted by this large tent with a red carpet welcome for all the guests.
The event volunteers gave me a name tag so that everyone would know my name and so that I would not have to the whole introduce-myself-and-hope-I-don’t-screw-up-my-first-impression-dance. They also provided me a small guide to all the exhibits present in the event. And of course, it would not be a University of Calgary shindig without your friendly neighborhood dino Rex.
Inside, the music was loud and crowds were all around. Smackdab in the middle of it all, the beautiful beast that is Schulich Delta. Around her were the notable alumni, deans from all the faculties of the school, students and staff, and our very own team members. Morgan, Logan, Ryan, Josh, Enoch, Nick and Prajay brought the car in and set up this marvelous display for all guests to see. They mingled with the crowd, curious of this red, white and gold beauty they lay their eyes upon. They spoke of the teams’ triumphs and its glories, regaling them with tales of the team’s forays into the Formula Sun Grand Prix the year before, or the World Solar Challenge back in 2013. Of course others were content in indulging their interest in interpreting the internals mechanisms of the car.
And any grand event in Calgary would not be considered such with the very presence of the noted alumni and Canada’s favorite mayor, Naheed Nenshi. He stopped by our display, and spoke to Morgan and Logan asking about the team and Schulich Delta.
I mean look at all this! We have dancers performing to swinging beats. A live band with singers. Hell they even ordered three thousand cupcakes for the attendees to snack on as they viewed everything the event had to offer.
One such particular offering from this kickoff for the anniversary event were the exhibits such as those on 3D printing, the plethora of books Ucalgary Press printed, or as seen in these pictures, the hands-on demonstrations courtesy of the Bioscience department.
And it wouldn’t be a party without a Taiko drum perfromance. Elizabeth Cannon, the University of Calgary president and vice-chancellor, presented a speech where she elaborated on the university’s humble beginnings and how it evolved to become this magnificent institution in Canada’s most enterprising city.
The mayor gave a speech after the Dr. Cannon, where he expressed his fondness and gratitude to his alma mater and how it shaped the Calgary we know and love to this day. He also presented us with a plaque and a proclamation to honour his alma mater, as he dedicated 29 April 2016 as University of Calgary Day.
It was a truly historic event and I am truly grateful to be a part of the University of Calgary and its Solar Car Team especially in this, our school’s 50th anniversary. Here is to another 50 years more.
-Gabriel Gana, Communications Team Member