W.O. Mitchell
Engineering prank, the Rock

Beacon of Free Thought

Much like the welcoming, hospitable spirit that characterizes the West, UCalgary is known for its innovation and open-door policy on differing ideas and points of view. Since our beginnings, those characteristics have attracted a wide array of leading thinkers and academic pioneers, drawn to the prospect of contributing to the culture and personality of this place.

Ceremonial headdresss
Cast of Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs

A Hotbed of Arts, Culture and Heritage

From our rich Aboriginal heritage to our début as Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012, Calgary exudes community and artistic pride through jaw-dropping festivals, world-class performing groups and facilities, and one of the highest cultural investments per capita in Canada. This incredibly diverse community speaks dozens of languages, unites cultural practices from around the world, and presents unique opportunities for those providing support services on campus and around the city.

1951
J.W. GRANT MACEWAN LOSES ELECTION IN MANITOBA
MacEwan had resigned as Dean of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba to run in a federal by-election in Brandon. After his loss, he moves to Calgary. MacEwan becomes an important personality associated with UCalgary in his capacity as alderman, MLA, mayor and Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta.
1954
JUBILEE AUDITORIA ANNOUNCED FOR CALGARY AND EDMONTON
The auditoria are built on or adjacent to the campuses of University of Alberta and UAC. Jack Simpson, future namesake of the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, is involved in the construction of both auditoria. Convocations for UAC and, subsequently, UCalgary, take place at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until they are moved to the new Jack Simpson Gymnasium in 1987.
1960
FIRST BERMUDA SHORTS DAY IS HELD
A freshman, wanting to wear his colourful new shorts and to celebrate spring, wrote "Tomorrow is Bermuda Shorts Day—everyone wear Bermuda Shorts" on a school blackboard. A tradition is born.
CFCN BEGINS BROADCASTING
Station later becomes a charter member of CTV network as CTV Calgary.
CJSW TAKES TO THE AIR
Beginning in the basement of the arts and administration building, using home-built and donated equipment, the campus radio station officially became Calgary's 13th FM station in 1985.
THE GAUNTLET BEGINS PUBLICATION
The first issue is published Sept. 23, 1960. Maurice Yacowar is editor. On Nov. 11, Yacowar writes an editorial titled “Don’t Buy a Poppy for Remembrance Day.” The piece gets him fired.
AILEEN FISH (1898–1977) APPOINTED ADVISOR TO WOMEN STUDENTS
She remains in this position until 1964. She is later identified as the ghost of the Faculty Club.
1966
AUTONOMY GRANTED
After a years-long campaign to sever ties from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary is officially formed by the Universities Act.
Glenbow Museum opens
The university later collaborates with the museum on an exhibit based on Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, by Aritha van Herk, to celebrate Alberta's centennial.
Alberta Ballet is founded
With its roots planted in the early 1950s by the late Dr. Ruth Carse, the organization took its official name of Alberta Ballet in 1966 in Edmonton, Canada. In 1990, Alberta Ballet and Calgary City Ballet merged into the company it is today with its headquarters in Calgary.
University of Calgary becomes trustee of The Banff School of Fine Arts
The Banff School of Fine Arts (now known as The Banff Centre) began in 1933. Stewardship of the School was transferred to the University of Calgary when UCalgary became autonomous in 1966 and in 1978, the Alberta government legislation granted The Banff Centre full autonomy as a non-degree granting educational institution under the governance of an appointed board.
STUDENTS PROTEST LIBRARY HOURS
700 students stage a sit-in to demand longer library hours. As a result, library hours are extended on a limited basis. In 1967, library hours are extended permanently.
1967
FACULTY OF FINE ARTS ESTABLISHED
General Faculty Council approves union of faculties of Art, Music and Drama. It's the first of its kind in Canada.
MACEWAN HALL OFFICIALLY OPENS
At the official ceremony, Lieutenant-Governor Grant MacEwan declines to speak, saying the dedication “has affected me more than anything I can remember. This is something that does not happen often in a man’s lifetime.”
FIRST CONCERT HELD ON CAMPUS
Folk singers Sylvia and Ian Tyson appear. A failed fire inspection sparks concerns the concert might be canceled, but it goes ahead after temporary fire equipment is installed.
1968
DIEFENBAKER SPEAKS ON CAMPUS
Sponsored by the Progressive conservative Student Federation and the Students’ Union, the former prime minister gives an address on nationalism.
NATIONAL PARKS CONFERENCE
Jean Chrétien, minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (and future prime minister) addresses the conference, held on campus outlined what he intended to do for the promotion and improvement of the Canadian parks system.
CONIC FREE FORM INSTALLED
Commissioned by the Engineering Wives Club as a Centennial gift, renowned Canadian sculptor Katie Ohe creates a sculpture for the Faculty of Engineering.
1969
CAMPUS NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED
The first issue of the University of Calgary Gazette illustrates how UCalgary contributes to culture in Calgary. Examples include a Drama Department performance at Spy Hill Prison and downtown lunchtime “happenings” that begin in 1968, offering art, drama, lectures, discussions and concerts.
“THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN”
UCalgary drama department stages performances in the community, including downtown during lunch hour and at Spy Hill Prison. At the time, Calgary is lacking in a live-theatre scene.
W.O. MITCHELL NAMED AUTHOR-IN-RESIDENCE
Who Has Seen The Wind author spends the latter part of his career in Calgary, donating his fonds to UCalgary archives in 1976.
"THE ROCK" DUG UP
“The Rock” is unearthed during excavations of the Social Sciences building. After students apply several coats of paint during the dark of night, university administration decides to place the rock in front of MacEwan Hall and students use it as a message board.
1970
YIPPIE REVOLUTION COMES TO CALGARY
American activist Abbie Hoffman, appears on campus on a speaking tour to pay his legal bills. He passively attempts to start an Alberta chapter of his Youth International Party (hence the term YIPPIE) and taunts UCalgary students in his speech, saying they would be more inclined to strike “if this wasn’t such a pablum university.”
FIRST ABORIGINAL STUDENT GRADUATES
Vivian Ayoungman, the university's first indigenous student, graduates with a Bachelor of Education degree. She goes on to earn a Master's degree in education, a Master's in Adult Education, a Ph.D. in Elementary Curriculum Instruction from Arizona State University. Dr. Ayoungman becomes Director of Education for the Treaty 7 Tribal Council and is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award in 1992.
1972
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS BEGINS ACQUIRING CANADIAN AUTHORS' PAPERS
Chief Librarian Kenneth Glazier establishes this program. He eventually acquires papers of Alice Munro, Hugh MacLennan, James Gray and Mordecai Richler, among others.

1974
MORDECAI RICHLER WAS HERE
Author addresses campus and donates his personal papers to Special Collections.
PROFESSOR BORIS ROUBAKINE DIES
A colleague describes him as “without a doubt Canada’s best-known and admired exponent of piano teaching”.
1975
Law school opens
Members of the university and the Calgary legal community, in conjunction with the City of Calgary, succeed in bringing a law school into existence.
PRAIRIE CHICKEN SCULPTURE 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."
1976
PORCELAIN MURAL AcQUIRED
Originally located in the Hudson’s Bay Oil and Gas building, Ed Drahanchuk’s 1973 piece is presented to the university and installed in the Sciences Complex when the company moves.
EFFECTIVE WRITING PROGRAM
University College develops and implements program to improve English language comprehension and use. 55% of first-year students tested required assistance in improving their writing skills.
1977
FIRST HOMECOMING WEEKEND
Celebrations mark the Alumni Association's 10-year anniversary.
1978
PM PIERRE TRUDEAU VISITS CAMPUS
On a tour across the western provinces, Trudeau fielded questions from a four-student panel mostly on the topic of bilingualism and Quebec separatism. The official purpose of the tour was to increase people’s familiarity with government members and policies.
CONFERENCE ON THE CANADIAN NOVEL
Chief Librarian Kenneth Glazier, referring to national media attention remarks, “while heretofore such conferences would have been held in Toronto or the Eastern area, it was now Calgary which could host such a gathering.”
1979
NICKLE ARTS MUSEUM ESTABLISHED
With matching provincial funds, Samuel Clarence Nickle donates $1 million and a substantial numismatics collection to establish a museum devoted to numismatics, archaeology, art and artifacts. At the time, it is the largest donation in the university’s history.
1980
CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE COMES TO CALGARY
The branch, called Canadian Music Centre – Prairie Region, occupies offices in the MacKimmie Library.
1981
CANADIAN-ARAB RELATIONS CONFERENCE
Held from June 22 to June 24, it's the first conference on this subject in North America.
1982
A DINO IS BORN
Named Dexter Dinosaur by students Jeff Jewitt and Greg Kirkham, the university mascot is unveiled.
1983
CAMPUS TELEVISION STATION ARRIVES
NUTV begins producing content in Calgary’s first TV studio.
1984
CURTAINS RISE ON DINNER THEATRE
Food Services and the Special Events office collaborate on this project, held in the Blue Room. The inaugural presentation is “Boeing-Boeing,” an “uproarious comedy about the jet age.”
1985
BROTHERS OF THE WIND ACQUIRED
1925 bronze sculptural relief by Robert Tait McKenzie, to be displayed in the new Olympic Oval, depicts speed skaters.
1987
UNREST OVER FUNDING
5000 students and staff block traffic on Crowchild Trail and 32 Avenue NW and occupy the administration office in protest of provincial funding cuts. Advanced Education Minister Dave Russell, responsible for the cuts, says "I would participate too. [Protests are] part of student life."
1988
SCHOOL OF MUSIC BAND RELEASES NIGHT SUITE
Directed by professor Warren Rowley, the album is the first recording by students of the department of music. It is played across Canada and received favourably by critics.
1991
GEORGE FOX: COUNTRY ON CAMPUS
CBC special starring Albertan rancher-turned-singer/songwriter films in August. Fox brings stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood with him.
OLYMPIC ARCH AQUIRED
Colette Whiten and Paul Kipps' 1988 sculpture "Olympic Arch,” originally located at Calgary Municipal Building, is installed in front of Physical Education complex.
STEPHEN HARPER, economist
Future prime minister earns his Master’s degree in Economics.
APRIL SCHOOLS
To show appreciation for the larger community, UCalgary donates a $1,000 scholarship to every baby born in Calgary on April 1, 1991.
1992
STATUS OF WOMEN COMMITTEE APPOINTED
Committee makes 123 recommendations for change by the year 2000, looking for a "transformation from a society whose policies and practices are generated from male experience and values and attributes to one that is truly gender-balanced."
WOMEN IN THE NINETIES
Report authored by Advisor on Women's Issues Susan Stone-Blackburn.
1993
FUTURE MAYOR GRADUATES
Naheed Nenshi earns his Bachelor of Commerce degree, goes on to attend Harvard. Nenshi also serves as Students' Union president.
DISNEY ON CAMPUS
Scenes from the movie “Cool Runnings,” loosely based on the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Games, are shot at the Olympic Oval and the Physical Education link.
NEW CHILD CARE CENTRE OPENS
Imperial Oil contributes $500,000 to project. Centre includes space for research into early childhood education.
1996
ROZSA CENTRE OPENS
Built with support from Drs. Theodore and Lola Rozsa, features venues for music, dance and drama performances. Neils Jordan acoustically tuned the hall, which is proclaimed by some to be one of the finest chamber music halls in Canada, if not North America.
2000
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV AWARDED HONORARY DEGREE
Former Soviet leader co-hosts conference on campus, delivers James S. Palmer lecture on the future of federalism.
HISTORY GOES DIGITAL
Alberta Heritage Digitization Project” is launched, coordinated by UCalgary. It creates a digital database of documents, photographs and artifacts outlining Alberta’s history.
DESERT DISCOVERIES
Archaeology professor William Glanzman and an international team unearth a 3,000-year-old temple in Yemen that is linked with the Queen of Sheba.
Military Museums Library partnership
The Military Museums Library and Archives is managed by UCalgary through a partnership established in 2000. The library has over 20,000 books and periodicals on Canadian and general military subjects.
2002
GIBSON SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTION
The Gibson Science Fiction collection, one of the largest resources for science fiction research, consisting of over 30,000 books and magazines is donated to Special Collections.
MACEWAN HALL EXPANSION
Addition opens of 50,000-square-foot live music and conference venue to the Student Centre.
NUTV GOES ON-AIR
New campus-wide closed-circuit television system is the first of its kind in Canada.
PRESTON MANNING BECOMES A “DISTINGUISHED VISITOR”
Preston Manning donates the records of the Reform Party to the University Archives and becomes a “Distinguished Visitor” to the University of Calgary.
The Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology (CCIT) officially opens
CCIT fosters multidisciplinary initiatives through teams of researchers, students and professors collaborating with industry, government agencies and other universities to find solutions to problems facing society and industry in several key areas.
2003
BUDGET WOES
Board announces $30 million in cutbacks over two years. Law, medicine and MBA students face doubling of tuition; all other programs hiked 6.3% across the board. 16 staff laid off.
FIRST ISSUE OF ON CAMPUS PUBLISHED
On Campus is the predecessor of UToday, the campus newsletter.
2004
PUBLIC HEALTH ENDOWMENT
Allan Markin, Chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, donates $18 million to establish a Public Health Institute. It is the largest individual donation to date.
CLASSICAL RECORDING RECOGNIZED
A CD co-directed by Dr. Victor Coelho, director of the Centre for Research in the Fine Arts, wins a 2004 Prelude Classical Award, one of Europe's top awards for classical recordings. La Notte d'Amore: Music for the Wedding of Cosimo Il Medici and Maria Magdalena of Austria was based on research by Coelho, who reconstructed the music and poetry from the three-week long event held in 1608.
2005
SCHULICH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING ESTABLISHED
Seymour Schulich, director of Newmount Mining Corporation, donates $25 million to the engineering faculty. It is matched by the province, making it the largest donation in the university's history. The faculty is renamed and 100 new engineering scholarships are created.
Health Recreation Centre the largest facility in Calgary
University of Calgary Health Recreation Centre is now the largest multi-sport recreation facility in Calgary, offering health, fitness, recreation, children and youth and outdoor programs to the general public as well as the university community.
2008
UCalgary launches Canada's fifth veterinary medicine program
UCalgary launches Canada's fifth veterinary program in its new Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Student involvement beyond the classroom is recognized as part of a new initiative called co-curricular record. The record is a first for western Canadian universities.
2010
DR. ELIZABETH CANNON NAMED PRESIDENT
A university alumna, she becomes the university's first female president.
Downtown campus opens
A new campus in the city’s downtown core is opened, a community hub providing programming, meeting facilities and function space.
2011
DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE VISIT
UCalgary is the only university Will and Kate visit on their first official tour. They visit the Ward of the 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre. They help "save" iStan, the centre's patient simulator, from a heart attack.
TAYLOR FAMILY DIGITAL LIBRARY OPENS
One of the most digitally progressive academic libraries in North America, combining a library, art gallery, archives, rare collections, a student success centre and the latest digital tools for learning and research.
Spo’pi solar house project launched
Cenovus TRTL (Technological Residence Traditional Living) is a student-built, net-zero house that features the latest in solar power technology. Now permanently installed on campus as a solar energy and sustainability research facility.
2012
Math Minds program launched
An innovative approach to math education, making it more accessible, interesting and enjoyable to students from kindergarten to Grade 6 and helping to establish Calgary as a centre of excellence in math education.
Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business established
The university launches the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business, funded by four founding donors passionate about values-driven business.
Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) launched
A partnership between the Rozsa Foundation and the Haskayne School of Business, RAMP is a customized Executive Education program addressing the specific needs of arts administrators.
Calgary named the Cultural Capital of Canada
The titled bestowed by the federal government came with $1.6 million grant as part of a national program to recognize special activities in Canadian cities that harness the benefits of arts and culture in the community. The Calgary Stampede also celebrated its 100 Anniversary in 2012.
2014
Program for public archaeology launched
Participants in the program take part in the excavation of the university’s Archaeology Field School at the Cluny Fortified Village on the Siksika Nation.

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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