The University of Lethbridge is southern Alberta’s university and as the U of L begins the planning process for its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, it is looking to the broader community to help plan the festivities.
“This really is about bringing the entire community together to celebrate,” says Dr. Christopher Hosgood, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. “This is an exciting time in the U of L’s history, to recognize where we’ve come from and, more importantly, to set a direction for our future.”
U of L starts 50th anniversary planning, and is looking to the community to help plan the festivities.
From small beginnings back in 1967, the U of L has grown into one of the country’s leading academic and research institutions. More than 650 students attended the first ever day of classes and this past fall, the University welcomed more than 8,400 students through the doors at campuses in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton. This never would have been possible without the invaluable contributions of the community.
“Our university wouldn’t be here today without the persistence of a forward-thinking group of Lethbridge citizens who believed southern Alberta merited its own university,” says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon. “We have continued to benefit from the incredible support of this community and we are excited to celebrate this milestone with individuals and organizations from across southern Alberta.”
As the U of L’s 50th birthday approaches, planning for a year of celebrations and activities to mark this important occasion in the University’s history is well underway.
The U of L’s Centre for Oral history and Tradition (COHT) is working on a 50 Voices project. This project will use audio clips and photographs from the First Generation Oral History Project, which included stories of those who shaped the U of L’s early years, and add new interviews to the mix.
“This project will help us sustain the U of L culture that celebrates both our origins and our destiny,” says Hosgood. “As our history becomes richer and deeper, celebrating the past so that we can learn for the future is a really important part of the venture.”
A special song has been commissioned from U of L alumnus John Wort Hannam (BA/BEd ’96) to commemorate a half-century of post-secondary learning at the U of L.
“Being an alumnus, it’s a great honour to be asked to write for something that I feel personally connected to,” says Wort Hannam. “It’s one thing to try and write something that celebrates the University’s history and its first 50 years but what I’m going to try and do is create something that also looks forward to the next 50 years.”
Throughout the year, the U of L’s regular events, such as convocations, Abbondanza, the Donor Gala and Play Day, will also have a 50th anniversary feel to them, while the Fiction at Fifty-playwriting competition has been underway for some time.
The University is seeking input from the community for ideas and initiatives for the 50th anniversary celebrations. The public is invited to share these ideas at a special website, blogs.ulethbridge.ca/50-years/. People can also follow the planning process and join in the celebration throughout 2017 via social media, using the Twitter hashtag #uleth50years.