When one has a story to tell, one should take advantage of the opportunity. So here’s my first memory of SAIT. In 1921, when I was just six years old, I watched them lay the cornerstone of what’s now called Heritage Hall. There’s probably not many people alive that watched that. My friend and I were playing across the street on 16th Avenue and wondered, what are they doing with that big rock on that bald prairie? We went over for a look but couldn’t see much over the adults and their top hats!
When I was a boy of ten, I was riding my bicycle in Riley Park when a terrifying thunder and lightning storm struck full blast. There was no rain and the sky was black. I started for home. I had to walk my bike up the hill and when I got to the top I saw Heritage Hall just as a big bolt of lightning lit up the building outlined against a very black sky. It was a sight I have never forgotten.
In the 1920s, I took Grade 4 and part of Grade 5 at the Calgary Normal School, which shared a building with the Provincial Institute of Technology and Arts, as SAIT was originally known. My next time at PITA was as a student studying industrial electricity. When I graduated in 1934, there was no ceremony — I just received a piece of paper with my marks on it.
In early 1951, after serving in the Canadian Navy and several years working at Hutton’s Electric, Austin Roper and Don Fleming from the Electrical Department came to see me for the express purpose of inviting me to sign on as an instructor.
People talk about “once in a lifetime” things, and being asked to teach at SAIT was sure it for me. Next to marrying my wife, Joan, the best decision I ever made was to teach at SAIT. When I started teaching math in the electrical, I got the same doggone room as I learned all this stuff!
I've always had a big place in my heart for SAIT. As I told the graduating class of 2015 when I had the honour of speaking at their convocation, I hope each of them enjoys their careers for as long as I enjoyed my 28 years teaching there.
Today a beautifully carved box containing my convocational sash sits on a shelf in the middle of my DVD collection. It is a real showpiece and, with such special memorabilia, I will constantly be reminded of all my special days at SAIT.
Clarence Hollingworth (EET ’34) may be 100 years old, but that’s only one of his most recent accomplishments. A SAIT alumnus and former instructor, Hollingworth received an honorary Bachelor of Science at SAIT’s 2015 Spring Convocation in May.