The Spirit of the 1988 Winter Games Lives on 28 Years Later

In January 1988, I started my first term as an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary - it is sometimes hard to believe it was 28 years ago. Wow! Twenty-eight years ago I marveled about being on campus, about taking courses and writing countless essays, about spending hours in the library, about being a part of an active learning community. Not much has changed!! As a professor and four time Alumni of the University of Calgary (BA, BEd., MSc., PhD), I still look forward to work each day and marvel at the opportunity to be a part of our vibrant University of Calgary as a faculty member!

As a student, I drank countless delicious coffees from the coffee place that is still operating in Mac Hall. As a professor, I still drink countless cups of campus coffee each day! I wish we still had the giant cookies on campus that the old food services used to make - these were oatmeal type cookies full of multigrain stuff and dipped half in chocolate; one of these with a large coffee was heaven! I used to run in the Oval back then, so I could afford one of these bad boys each day and still fit in my jeans. There are many days when I still feel like a newbie on campus - usually at the start of every semester, or when I have had a few too many coffees in one day!

Back when I started university in Winter 1988, I was just about finished paying off my first car, and figured I should get into some student debt before buying a home. ;-) Hah! Tuition for my first semester was around $1100 - a bargain by today's standard. I remember enrolling in four classes that were required for admission to the business school: math, math, economics and english. I was excited to open my brand new textbooks and course outlines (this feeling never changed, which probably explains why I eventually became a professor...). Once a week, I would have lunch with my grandfather who was very interested in hearing all about my experiences as a university student. That first semester at the University of Calgary convinced me that my destiny was in education and in Fall 1988 I transitioned into my program to become a teacher.

As a first term university student, it was pretty darn exciting to have the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. I rode the C-Train to campus most days, and it passed right by Olympic Plaza near city hall. From campus you could see the new Ski Jumps, bobsled tracks and luge runs at Paskapoo, I mean Canada Olympic Park. The University of Calgary had a brand new Olympic Oval and several new residences in the athlete's village that would eventually become student housing. One could take a five minute walk from campus to McMahon Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies were held. Along with my parents and siblings, I watched two hockey games and enjoyed nachos and hot dogs at the still fairly brand new Olympic Saddledome -- since renamed several times and recently surviving a flood. The campus was teeming with people from all over the world - after all, athletes and media and coaches from 57 countries were in Calgary in 1988 for the Winter Olympic Games.

I remember wearing a spring weight jacket to campus that February and the media panic about "no snow" and the chinooks - I also remember getting hit by a typical Calgary deep freeze later that February. Campus rumors abounded about sightings of Katerina Witt or Elizabeth Manley practicing their figure skating routines on Oval ice. Everybody seemed to be wearing those somewhat-corny volunteer snow suits & touques designed by Sun Ice. The new students' union building had 10 fast food outlets and a huge bookstore - a big improvement over the old crappy Mac Hall. In the evenings, you could see the Olympic Flame atop the Calgary Tower from all over the city.

The banners are now being hung, the photo library expanded and the stories collected. I am thrilled to be on campus to wish the University of Calgary Happy 50th Birthday!

Michele Jacobsen, PhD
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs in Education Werklund School of Education

Your Stories

Your stories leave a lasting mark on UCalgary's evolving culture and campuses. Tell your chapter, and help us create the next 50 years.

Submit Your Story

Memories of UofC

By Ron D., alumnus

My first glimpse of The University of Alberta at Calgary, as it was then called, was to my small town mentality, an amazing place. The Education and Science...

Read More

Park-like setting

I've always felt privileged to work on a university campus. The wisdom of the buildings and the knowledge of the trees inspire me daily as I walk to my office. The sunlight...

Read More