University of Victoria history will repeat itself from on high Friday.
It happens from 2 to 4 p.m. with a concert on the roof of the Student Union Building, one of the first events of the UVic 50th Anniversary Festival. The celebration Friday and Saturday marks five decades of academia and student life at the Gordon Head campus.
Rooftop concerts at the SUB, as the UVic community affectionately calls it, were all the rage in the mid-1960s - just a few years after UVic officially opened its doors in 1963. The lineup for the 2012 reprise includes former UVic student Kathryn Calder, formerly of the New Pornographers, the band Rugged Uncle and a talented collection of current and former students known as the Chanterelles.
UVic is marking a half-century as a post-secondary institution with a series of events and celebrations from now through next June. That will mean everything from more musical performances (including a Battle of the Bands during the fall) to shining a spotlight on the cutting-edge research, individual accomplishment and athletic achievement that make up the UVic legacy.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate 50 years of achievement, to honour the generations of faculty, students, staff and alumni who have built UVic into a university that is recognized around the world for its excellence," said UVic president David Turpin. "We look forward to welcoming our alumni back to UVic - I know some will have travelled great distances to take part in the festival and homecoming.
The kick-off to the goldenanniversary year came earlier this month and featured a keynote address from Craig Kielburger, founder of the human-rights organization Free the Children, to 2,300 new students.
The university evolved from both Victoria College, which dates back to 1903, and the Victoria Provincial Normal School, now the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College.
A jump in enrolment after the Second World War necessitated a 1946 move of the normal school, which trained teachers, from Craigdarroch Castle to the Lansdowne site.
The school became Victoria College's faculty of education 10 years later.
Another step forward came in 1961, when Victoria College, which had been offering first-and second-year courses, awarded its first bachelor's degrees as part of a long-standing affiliation with the University of British Columbia.
By then, the wheels were turning to find a larger site to accommodate even more growth in student numbers. The Council of Victoria College had bought the former Gordon Head Army Camp, a 49-hectare property, in 1959, and in March 1961, council members brought in university planners from San Francisco to assess the site.
The planners came up with a concept for a circular campus - hence the establishment of Ring Road, UVic's main thoroughfare - with academic facilities inside the circle and student housing and parking largely on the outside.
Also in 1961, another parcel of land was bought from the Hudson's Bay Company, adding 57 hectares to the size of the property. More land was added later to bring the overall size of the campus holdings to 161 hectares.
Construction has continued in stages almost from the outset, but 10,000 trees have also been planted on the campus over the years. A significant portion of the area remains in its natural forested state.
The university became autonomous with the passing of the University Act in 1963.
Authority was given to an elected chancellor, board of governors and president whose appointment came from the board.
UVic's first official president was Malcolm Taylor, who served from 1964-68, following Harry Hickman's stint as acting president in 1963-64.
The initial stages of UVic's existence also brought about the creation of a coat of arms, with the school's official colours of blue, gold and red. "A Multitude of the Wise is the Health of the World" and "Let there be Light" are its two mottoes, in Latin and Hebrew, respectively.
UVic was split between the new Gordon Head site and the Lansdowne campus for its first few years, before a complete shift to Gordon Head.
The student count in 1963 was 2,085, and had climbed to 4,726 by 1968. Over the same period, the number of faculty went from 120 to 300.
Today's campus has about 20,000 students and more than 870 full-time faculty members, while the first 50 years have seen the university grant about 110,000 degrees, certificates and diplomas.
Other 50th Anniversary Festival events and attractions:
- Elders' Voices Coast Salish "Pit Cook" - Presented by the department of anthropology and the UVic Elders in Residence from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next to the First Peoples House. There will be stories and teachings, along with samples of pit-cooked food.
- For the Love of Books - The English department invites everyone to the UVic bookstore at 7: 30 p.m. to enjoy For the Love of Books. Current and former department staff members will give short readings from books that have affected them. Cash bar and hors d'oeuvres.
- Alumni can take in a special Pub Night at local establishments. Smugglers Cove will host the class of 1987 and alumni from chemistry and economics. Maude Hunters welcomes the Young Alumni Council and the Sticky Wicket's Maple Room sets out the welcome mat for the class of 2002 and alumni from the Model United Nations, political science and anthropology.
- Human and Social Development Parade - Community groups and supporters of the department of human and social development will be part of a one-hour parade, starting at 10 a.m. from the Family Centre to the Human and Social Development Building.
- UVic Living Stories Campus Walk - The department of geography and environmental studies is staging interpretive "geo-historical" walks around Ring Road. Times are 10: 30 a.m. to noon, 1 to 2: 30 p.m. and 2: 30 to 4 p.m.
- Music in the central quad - A stage will be set up from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a performance schedule that includes Indonesian gamelan music from Sutrisno Hartana, a PhD student in UVic's school of music. Also performing are Acres of Lions, Carmanah and Hayley McLean. The Welcome Tent, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be close by to provide information.
- Island Savings Family Zone - This will also be in the quad, next to the totem poles, with activities geared toward children. Runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Barbecue - Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. at the Petch Fountain, in front of the McPherson Library. The campus has several permanent food outlets, as well.
- Many faculties and centres will be holding Saturday open houses and showcases, with a full schedule available at uvic.ca. Among the highlights during the day are a "tree walk scavenger hunt" from the centre for forest biology, a touch-screen driving test at the centre on aging, a display of the largest collection of skeletons on campus from the department of anthropology, followed by a lecture and look at the new telescope facility from 7 to 9 p.m., courtesy of the department of astronomy.
- The Vikes and the UVic Alumni Association host the Vikes Retro Party Saturday at McKinnon Gym, featuring music of the Timebenders. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets available at the Welcome Tent.
- Alumni talks run from 10: 30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. at the Social Sciences and Mathematics Building. firstname.lastname@example.org
> On the web: uvic.ca/anniversary
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