The University of Waterloo, then known as the Waterloo College Associate Faculties, was founded in 1956 and the first lectures were held on July 3, 1957. This class of seventy-four men was part of an academic experiment in Canada's first university founded on the co-operative (work/study) method of learning. Forty years have now passed since the days when those would-be engineers studied in two hastily constructed buildings in an open field.
Forty years is a brief history compared to many other institutions; nevertheless, the University of Waterloo has become one of the world's leading institutions of post-secondary education, having established a reputation for initiating practical and innovative education. What the University of Waterloo has accomplished in forty years is impressive by any measurement.
Last year President Downey asked me to chair an ad hoc committee to recognize this significant milestone. The Fortieth Anniversary Committee's mandate was to coordinate the staging of all celebratory events, to define the calendar period, to invite ideas and suggestions, to make recommendations, and to strike a budget and raise funds. Many dedicated volunteers have helped make this mandate a reality as we plan several special events and integrate the anniversary theme into regularly-scheduled activities. These celebrations are designed to promote awareness of the fortieth anniversary on campus, with our alumni, and with the local community, and to engender an atmosphere of unity, pride, and harmony.
Thus, the President and the Fortieth Anniversary Committee are pleased to host several educational, social, and promotional events. The official opening of the anniversary year begins on May 27 with the Founders event. On June 3, the University celebrates its fortieth birthday with a lunch social and activities for staff, faculty, and retirees. The traditional Canada Day activities will include a pavilion housing displays and artifacts donated by the six Faculties. October 14 marks the UW/Community Partnership event--"Business After 40"--which is a meeting of community and business leaders from Canada's "technology triangle." These and other events scheduled throughout 1997 will model display boards depicting the history of the University of Waterloo. For a lasting memento, UW Shop has a wide range of fortieth-anniversary merchandise available, such as magnets, pens, ties, scarves, and sweatshirts.
With the participation of staff, faculty, and students, the fortieth anniversary will acknowledge a proud past, celebrate the present, and look with optimism and vigour to the future.
Forty years ago the Library was one room in the Engineering building. Since then three major moves have taken place and the Library now consists of one entire building and parts of two others on campus, and an Annex in Guelph.
Pictured surrounded by books in the Annex are University Librarian Murray Shepherd and Bruce MacNeil (formerly Associate Librarian, Information, now retired).
Sharon, Stuart, and Alex LamontPhoto: United Canadian Directories Inc.
When I first heard about UW's 40th anniversary plans, I was pretty interested. Having just turned 40 myself, I was in the mood to celebrate such a momentous occasion. It seemed obvious, therefore, to focus on the 40th anniversary as the theme of this issue of the newsletter. The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was by the notion that some of us have essentially grown up with the University.
Though I was born in Texas, my family moved to Kitchener when I was five. My earliest memory of UW was really just the idea of higher education: I clearly remember my father encouraging my mother to take courses to give herself a break from raising their seven children! As I got older, I remember enjoying attending special events on campus. When I started thinking about going to university, Waterloo seemed like the perfect place to go; since my family was returning to the United States, I liked the idea of being away from home in a place that still felt like home. So, in September, 1975, my brother and I both moved to Conrad Grebel College and started classes. The following January, I was hired to work Saturdays signing out records and tapes in the Dana Porter Library. Little did I know that I would still be in the Library twenty-two years later--and still loving it.
UW is now important to other members of my family as well: my brother Paul and I are both alumni; my husband, Stuart, will be soon; and our son, Alex, is just finishing his first year. Ironically, Stuart and Alex discovered to their chagrin that they were both enrolled in the same psychology class this term--luckily it was a class of 275 so it was easy for them to ignore each other.
Though the last of the original library staff left with the early retirements of 1996, the remaining staff have many years of service, including 18 who have worked at UW for twenty-five or more years. Families of staff are also connected to UW in a variety of ways. An informal poll of current library staff revealed that 20 of them came to UW as students and 21 have children and/or spouses who are or have been UW students. Lynda Johnson and Jitka Dvoracek, both from the Davis Centre Library, each have three children with degrees from UW.
Another staff member with particularly close ties and a keen interest in the anniversary is Jane Britton. Jane enrolled as a student in 1968 and received both a BA and MA. In 1974, she began working in the Library. In her current work as the University Archives Operations Manager, Jane makes available the vast resources of the University Archives to committees and individuals, and thus was an active supplier of data to various fortieth anniversary committees. And the tradition continues as Jane's son, Zachary, is now a second year student in Arts.
We are interested in hearing about your connections to UW. Please send me a note or give me a call at extension 3519 if you would be willing to share your story with the Friends.
This Writer's Life: Disembodied Processes
a public talk by Illona Haus
UW alumnus, staff member, and romance writer.
Wednesday, May 14, 1997, 12 noon
Theatre of the Arts
Modern Languages Building
University of Waterloo
Friends of the Library Newsletter is a publication of the University of Waterloo Library. It is scheduled to be published twice yearly and is supported by the University of Waterloo Friends of the Library association.
Editor: Sharon Lamont
Assistant Editor: Esther Millar
Contributors: Susan Bellingham, Sharon Lamont, Murray Shepherd, Mary Stanley
Photography: (unless otherwise noted) Central Photographic University of Waterloo
Printed: Graphic Services University of Waterloo
Return to Friends of the Library Newsletter
June 11, 1997