BRANDON, Man. – Brandon University (BU) is marking more than one milestone as the country prepares for Canada 150 celebrations this week.
While the Canada Day festivities on July 1 will signify 150 years since Confederation, 2017 also represents 50 years since BU received its charter and officially became a university. Founded in 1899 as Brandon College (and building on an even earlier history as Prairie College), Brandon University grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, obtaining university status in 1967, the year of Canada’s Centennial.
The charter was officially presented to Brandon University by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra during her visit to Brandon with the Honourable Angus Ogilvie.
Today, Brandon University continues to grow. The Class of 1968, the first graduating class to receive BU degrees, featured 128 students. By comparison, 520 students were awarded degrees at this year’s Convocation ceremonies. Early enrolment numbers for this fall show that Brandon University’s student population is likely to grow even more.
“This occasion presents us with an opportunity to celebrate our growth and our history, and to honour the contributions of staff, faculty and students through the decades,” said Dr. Steven Robinson, Vice-President (Academic & Provost).
“Brandon University has deep roots that touch the 19th, 20th and now the 21st century, and we also remember that for thousands of years this area has been home to Indigenous peoples, which is important for us to honour and reflect in our University.”
Robinson said that this is not only a time to mark the past, but to look to the future as well.
“Looking at our history provides us with perspective, and it is important that we use the insight gained from our experience to plan ahead for our continued progress,” Robinson said. “The ways that we can build on our past and work toward a future as an inclusive, innovative and leading university are key elements to our Academic Plan, our upcoming Campus Master Plan and the enhanced community engagement possible through our downtown initiative.”
Looking ahead will also take on a literal meaning for the day of the joint anniversary. The BU Astronomical Observatory will partner with the Brandon and Area Astronomical Society to take part in Saturday’s Canada Day celebration at the Riverbank Discovery Centre in Brandon. Telescopes and volunteers will be on hand starting at 9 p.m. to present Music with the Stars, giving participants the opportunity to view the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and more while listening to the free Doc Walker concert. The daylong celebration of Canada 150 and the City of Brandon’s 135th birthday will also feature family and cultural activities as well as a fireworks display at 11 p.m.