University of Regina holds homecoming party to celebrate its centennial
It was a celebration 100 years in the making.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, the University of Regina hosted a number of homecoming festivities to celebrate its centennial.
“A hundred years ago, on October 25th, the first cornerstone was laid for Regina College,” said Vianne Timmons, U of R president and vice-chancellor, during the university’s 100th birthday party on the Academic Green on Friday. “People think of the University of Regina as a young institution, and it is. It is a young institution with a fabulous past.
“What’s interesting to me is that the University of Regina, or Regina College, until it was taken over by the University of Saskatchewan, was funded, built, and supported by the citizens of Regina one hundred per cent. There was no government funding that went into Regina College at all, and I think that is reflective of this city, the people in this city, and the commitment of post-secondary education that’s here.”
On Friday, along with the birthday party, the main events included a pancake breakfast and a pep rally and barbeque at Mosaic Stadium before the University of Regina Rams’ game versus the rival Manitoba Bisons.
There were over 50 other events during the weekend, including camps for children and meet-and-greets for alumni of all different faculties. Alumni could go back to class, attend lectures, and tour the campus to observe what might have changed since they graduated.
Timmons hosted the party and cake-cutting on the green, and her pride was noticeable.
“Happy Birthday everybody,” she greeted the crowd. “Today is a day of celebration.”
She then prompted the crowd to cheer, asking them to wave their gold and green pompoms in the air.
The University of Regina originally opened its doors in 1911 as Regina College: a small, residential high school that accommodated 27 students. It wasn’t until 1974 that the University of Regina separated from the University of Saskatchewan and changed its name from the University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus to what it is today.
Today, the university has over 12,000 students, and an alumni base of almost 60,000.
“A hundred years ago, Regina College started with 27 students,” she explained. “Now, as of today, it has the highest course enrollment in its history, with close to 13,000 students, approximately 10 per cent self-declared Aboriginal, and 13 per cent international from over 60 countries.
“This is a diverse, inclusive, dynamic campus. This is your university, and it is a university I am so proud to be president of.”
On Friday, the crowd consisted of not only the alumni and their families and friends, but also students, such as second-year business student Jen Marlowe. Marlowe enjoyed the experience and found it inspiring to see the large crowd of returning alumni.
“I looked around at all the people who went to our university and wondered what they made out of their lives, if they were successful,” she said.
Marlowe attended the cake-cutting, as well as the Rams’ game Friday evening, although she regrets that she did not attend more.
“If I had known about more events, I would have attended them,” Marlowe said. “I didn’t really know about them.”
However, she also was present at the Owl after the football game. Students like Marlowe weren’t the only ones present at the Owl either..
“I saw some alumni at the Owl after the football game, and I thought it was cool that they wanted to check out the party scene at the school they spent so much time at,” she said. “It probably reminded them of their glory days and all the fun times they had.”
There was the issue of scheduled classes conflicting with the times of the events.
“I think they should have cancelled classes on Friday so I could have attended al the awesome events,” said Marlowe, who had to run to class after the majority of the speeches concluded. “I didn’t have a chance to have a piece of cake.”
Some students, however, didn’t attend events because they were disinterested, not because it conflicted with their own schedules.
“My girlfriend wanted me to take her for the free cake,” said one student. “It was just too out of the way.”
Brenda Oliver, acting manager of Alumni Relations, said there was a good turnout of students at the events like the birthday partyand the pep rally and football game. She also explained that many business and sciences students were in attendance at the Alumni Crowning Achievements Award Gala on Saturday night, where five distinguished alumni were honoured.
Oliver is happy with the way the weekend went, and was happy to have such a large turnout of alumni return.
“We had over 250 alumni who came home,” she said. “They came from B.C., Alberta, of course Saskatchewan and Regina, Manitoba, Ontario, and Florida.
“It was a phenomenal experience to have so many alumni come back to campus. They were very happy to be here.”