University of Calgary Central Library
Kananaskis Hall

Springboard to the future

For half a century, we've created and grown a community of thinkers, leaders and drivers. Now, we're poised for another half-century of forward thinking and forward motion.

Administration building atrium
University of Calgary Registrar's Office

Diversity in growth

With a little more than 4,000 full-time students in 1966 to an enrollment of more than 30,000 students in 2016, UCalgary has grown by leaps and bounds. Nowhere is that growth better reflected than in the faces of the campus population, which becomes more diverse and international with each passing year.

1950
University of Calgary Beginnings
A Calgary branch of the University of Alberta takes up roots in a former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) hut on the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA) campus
1955
CITY COUNCIL PROVIDES CAMPUS SITE
The City of Calgary council approves a 99-year lease (with option to purchase) on a 348-acre site for the future University of Alberta at Calgary campus.
1956
FACULTY WOMEN'S CLUB ESTABLISHED
The Faculty Women’s Club was created out of the notion that friendship and community belonging are vital to a successful organization. A non-profit organization, it continues today.
1958
CAMPUS GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new University campus was held on November 1. The Honourable Fred C. Colborne, provincial minister without portfolio, turned the first sod. Ceremony officials, their families and the media were transported to the site on buses provided by the City of Calgary.
FOUNDING OF THE GUANTLET
Founding editor is Maurice Yacowar, BA’62 and recipient of the Alumni Association’s second-ever Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 1986. Yacowar went on to teach at the university in the Department of English in 1995.
1960
OFFICIAL OPENING OF BUILDINGS ON NEW CAMPUS
Alberta Chief Justice Clinton J. Ford presides over ribbon-cutting. Mayor Harry Hays participates in the ceremony.
1961
BANFF CONFERENCE ON CAMPUS DESIGN
The conference, called "The Design of the University of Alberta, Calgary", envisions the future growth and development of the budding institution. In its final session, delegates pass 14 resolutions which provide direction for action.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION BUILDING COMPLETE
New facility contains a swimming pool, diving tower and gymnasium. Lieutenant-Governor J. Percy Page officially opens the building in March of the following year. Arthur Arnold, deputy minister of public works, notes that “all the materials in the building were manufactured in the province.”
1962
RESEARCH PARK DESIGNATED
80 acres north of campus set aside.
CAMPUS SECURITY ESTABLISHED
Led by Chief C.V. Teeple, the five members are responsible for establishing order and ensuring security on campus.
1963
LIBRARY BUILDING OPENS
Later renamed the Library Block.
1965
CONSTRUCTION BOOM (1965-69)
Kananaskis Hall and Rundle Hall residences, meteorological station, the Education, Science B, Social Sciences, Science III B, Mathematics and Computing buildings, Calgary Hall (blocks F and G), Engineering building (blocks C and D), central heating and cooling plant and Kananaskis field station are all completed.
1966
UNIVERSITY THEATRE AND MUSIC WING OPEN
To mark the occasion, the Department of Fine Arts and Fine Arts hold a Fine Arts Festival. Lieutenant-Governor Grant MacEwan officiates.
PLANS TAKING SHAPE
Public Works Minister Fred Colborne predicts that after six years and $70 million invested in university construction to date, a further $250 million will be required to "round off the campus." Officials predict the student population to increase to 18,000 students by 1985.
1967
MACEWAN HALL OFFICIALLY OPENS
Lieutenant Governor Grant MacEwan cuts the ribbon. He declines to make a speech siting he is at a loss for words; it means so much to him.
STUDENTS’ ADELPHE SOCIETY HOSTS CHARM COURSE FOR CO-EDS
A fashion show caps off a charm-school course for co-eds, sponsored by the student club Adelphe Society. The fashions include day and evening wear.
1970
LIBRARY EXTENSION BEGINS
Originally planned in three stages, the Library Tower's first phase featured seven stories and a two-storey link to the Library Block. Two other stages with additions of another six and seven storeys were planned. The first phase opens in 1973. The upper floors are completed in 1974.
1972
MORE SCIENCES BUILDINGS OPEN
Biological Sciences, Earth Sciences and Mathematical Sciences buildings officially opened. Ceremonies coincide with convocation.
1973
HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE OPENS
Premier Peter Lougheed presides. The first class of MDs graduates simultaneously. Dean Cochrane calls it "a very proud day for us all."
1975
"PRAIRIE CHICKEN" UNVEILED
Artist George Norris wins 1973 competition to design an artwork for the Swann Mall. Installed in September 1975, the 4.5-ton, 18-foot aluminum sculpture becomes known as "The Prairie Chicken."
1977
STUDENT ID CARDS ISSUED
1982
RESIDENCE EXPANSION
Development of Brewster, Castle and Norquay residences begins. They're completed in 1985.
1986
SCURFIELD HALL OPENS
President Norman Wagner conducts the ceremony. An $8-million donation from Ralph Scurfield and NuWest, along with matching provincial funding, are key to the project's completion.
ENTRANCEWAY ARCH INSTALLED
The Rainbow Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that had spanned Crowchild Trail, is dismantled and moved to create the new arch over University Drive. During a ceremony to commemorate the new gate, a cornerstone is laid in the eastern abutment, to be opened in 2086.
1987
JACK SIMPSON GYM IS FIRST USED FOR CONVOCATION CEREMONIES
Convocation ceremonies are held on campus, in the Jack Simpson Gym, for the first time since pre-autonomy days. Until then ceremonies were held at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Jack Simpson was involved in the construction of the Jubilee Auditorium in both Edmonton and Calgary.
NORTHWEST LRT OPENS
First run on September 4, 1987. The terminus is University Station. Construction involves a land swap agreement in 1985 that includes the Rainbow Bridge, repurposed in 1986 as the campus gate. In its inaugural run, Mayor Ralph Klein takes the controls, and a five-piece Dixieland band plays while dignitaries enjoy the ride.
THE SPIRE ERECTED
19.88-metre sculpture, representing a progression of human movement, installed at the entrance to the Olympic Oval. Created by Calgarian Charles Boyce, the sculpture is valued at $130,000.
CALGARY HALL RENAMED
The building is rededicated in honour of the late Peter C. Craigie, VP Academic, Dean of Humanities and professor of Religious Studies. Craigie was killed in a road accident in 1985.
OLYMPIC OVAL OPENS
Nicknamed the fastest ice in the world™ North America’s first covered speed skating dome features state-of-the-art climate control capabilities that produce the highest-quality ice possible. 261 long track and 30 short track world records have been set at the facility and is the training centre for national speed skating teams from around the world.
1988
No smoking please
Campus becomes a non-smoking area. More than 20 smoking areas are designated.
1989
UNIVERSITY TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL (UTI) LAUNCHED
University Technologies International (UTI) was launched with a mandate to provide services on all matters related to technology transfer and commercialization of university research. It is located in the Shell Technology Park.
1990
LIBRARY DISMANTLES OLD CARD FILES
The last of the card catalogues was dismantled in January 1990 as the library switched to digital retrieval system.
1991
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
Cakes, balloons – and scholarships. As part of the celebrations, the university creates $1000 scholarships to every baby born in Calgary on April 1, 1991 in appreciation of the larger community.
ONLINE LEARNING INTRODUCED
UCalgary is the first university in Canada to offer a language course entirely online - German 305.
OLYMPIC ARCH AQUIRED
Colette Whiten and Paul Kipps' 1988 sculpture "Olympic Arch,” originally located at Calgary Municipal Building, is installed in front of the Physical Education complex.
1992
CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY STARTS WITH PAPER RECYCLING
In April 1992, the university launched a campus-wide program to recycle paper. Today, through the Office of Sustainability, the university is a leader in sustainable campuses in all areas including water, energy and the built environment.
1993
NEW CHILD CARE CENTRE FOCUSES ON TEACHING AND LEARNING
The child care centre, located near the Children’s Hospital, is not only a child care facility for students, faculty and staff, but it is also a teaching and research facility focusing on early childhood development.
ROZSA CENTRE OPENS
UCalgary’s newest arts centre, built with support from Drs. Theodore and Lola Rozsa, features venues for music, dance and drama performances in addition to conference, reception and meeting spaces.
2000
Ideas shared at Campus Community Plan Charrett
Examination of UCalgary's evolving Campus Community Plan begins.
2005
SPYHILL CAMPUS
20 minutes from the main campus, the Spy Hill Campus is home to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s Clinical Skills Building, grazing land and other animal housing and the library’s High Density Library. The HDL houses about 60 percent of the university’s current book and journal collection and much of its archival holdings.
DOWNTOWN CAMPUS OPENS ITS DOORS
The new campus in Calgary’s downtown core will house some of the continuing education programs, its executive and professional development programs, the School of Public Policy and other initiatives where students benefit from being downtown.
2007
CAMPUS IN DOHA, QATAR OPENS
The UCalgary campus in Qatar offers a Bachelor of Nursing and a Nursing Diploma as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030 by educating the future nurse leaders to take their places at the forefront of Qatar's world-class health care system.
2009
HOTEL ON CAMPUS
Named after the late Hong Kong philanthropist, Dr. Fok Ying Tung, International House opens. It is the university’s first multicultural living-learning residence and one of the first hotels in Canada on a university campus.
2011
TAYLOR FAMILY DIGITAL LIBRARY OPENS
The TFDL is one of the most technologically advanced university libraries in North America. More than 9 million objects were coded, packed and moved into the TFDL, including items from the MacKimmie Library, Nickle Arts Museum and from offsite storage facilities.

Timeline: A Record of Change

Events in time inspire us all to reach for ever more distant heights, to redefine what’s possible and to keep pushing forward.

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