U of A birthday party takes the cake
Sep 3, 2008
by Ileiren Poon
The U of A celebrated its 100th birthday in sweet style.
Hundreds of U of A students, staff, faculty and alumni gathered in the Old Arts Building/Business Quad to listen to some old-time big band jazz, snack on popcorn, and cavort with stilt-walkers, fortune-tellers and U of A VIPs.
"It is wonderful to see so many of you here today to celebrate," said Indira Samarasekera U of A president, at the event. "A hundred years ago, president Henry Marshall Tory had a vision of what this university would be ... could be. I think that if he were here with us today, he would be proud of how far we have come towards that vision of being a great university."
One hundred years ago, the U of A campus was an empty lot, known only as river lot #5. Tthere was a single staff member, aside from Tory and the first four professors, and the first 45 students arrived from various small towns and farms across Alberta to begin classes.
"Today, as I look out at this crowd of students, staff, and faculty who are as committed to this institution as he and those first 45 students were 100 years ago, I know that together we have created a vision for the University of Alberta that will make the second century even better than the first," said Samarasekara. "Today we have more than 36,000 students in 18 faculties and schools. We also have five campuses. There are nearly 14,000 faculty and staff members, creating the best possible quality-education experience for U of A students."
The U of A has more than 210,000 living alumni, including a former prime minister, Supreme Court justice, award-winning musicians, actors, visual artists, CEOs of companies, and a Nobel Prize winner, she said. "It has been a truly remarkable century of achievement."
Part of Tory's original vision for the U of A included partnerships with the surrounding community, which the university continues to endeavour toward, with Samarasekara announcing an upcoming partnership between the City of Edmonton and the U of A.
"I am pleased to announce that the U of A and the City of Edmonton are coming together to mark the 100th anniversary of the official first day of classes, which in 1908 fell on September 23," said the president. "The City of Edmonton has declared September 23, 2008 as 'Green and Gold Day' in Edmonton. All students, faculty, alumni, friends, and the city and university staff are encouraged to show their pride in the U of A by wearing their green and gold on that day."
As the crowd lined up for colourful balloon hats and free popcorn; participated in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation professor Billy Strean's laughter yoga, Samaraskera urged party-goers to keep the celebrations going.
"Happy Birthday, U of A. Let's celebrate and let's show our school pride in green and gold on September 23."
This article originally appeared in the University of Alberta's ExpressNews
Related Internal Links
- U of A Centenary website: