History Supplement Introduction

By Kris Kotarski

It was about midnight on a warm summer night and I was sitting at the Elephant and Castle Pub with the newly elected Students’ Union President Barb Wright. Joining us were Gauntlet photographer Cory Bass and Toby White–Barb’s predecessor atop the throne of campus politics. We were talking about Dinos basketball star Leighann Doan, who was just recognized as the best female university athlete in Canada at the Howard Mackie Awards. We didn’t feel like sticking around the Jack Singer Concert Hall that night as the crowd got rowdier with each toast to Leighann. So we walked a few blocks, settled at the pub and talked.

We talked about Doan’s brilliant career, her off-court charm, her charity work and her nervous speech when she accepted her award only hours before. Eventually the conversation drifted away from basketball, but I couldn’t help but wonder who would remember Leighann Doan in 10 years. How many others like her are forgotten by the very community they worked so hard to improve?

The University of Calgary has decades of tradition, folklore and culture all its own. Constant expansion and change occurs regularly, but we pay little attention. We spend so much time on campus yet we really know nothing about it. The only stories I have to tell involve myself, my friends and maybe a professor or an administrator who took the time to get to know me. For someone who spends more time on campus than at home, I felt ignorant.

The cheque came. We finished off our drinks, sluggishly got up, and went home. Toby and Barb went to Rez while Cory and I each had an extra 10 minute drive home. On the way, I thought about the university. It had been my home for the last two years and probably would be for at least for another two. I decided I would look into its history and get better acquainted with the sidewalks and halls I walk every day.

The warm summer evening ended with a rainstorm, and slowly, the seasons turned. First came the new students, the new staff and the new ICT building. Then came the midterms, the term papers and the snow. Finally, I got somewhat organized, enlisted some friends, and sent them on a mission to find out all they could about the U of C. This is the result. It is a quick guide to the history of our university, though it is by no means thorough or complete. We’ve tried to include something for everyone, but looking back, we’ve barely scratched the surface. As our research progressed, we realized the history of our institution deserves more than 12 pages in the Gauntlet. It deserves the attention of the campus community and we hope we can enlighten you and put some perspective on the bittersweet past of
the U of C.

Kris Kotarski

Co-Editor, University of Calgary History Supplement


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