When SAIT first had the idea to encourage the community to complete 100 charitable acts during our centennial year, we worried it couldn’t be done. We were even told by others that it was impossible.
They were wrong.
The 100 Projects Project rallied students, alumni, employees and friends to complete 100 Projects by June 30, 2017. By February of that year, we knew we were going to meet that goal so we stepped up our efforts and aimed to complete 150 projects in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial.
Thanks to your efforts, we have doubled our initial goal and have completed 203 PROJECTS!
The projects range from cooking for those in need and building houses, to collecting cash and donations for groups like the SAITSA Food Bank and PAWS Animal Rescue, to creating opportunities for students such as mentoring and learning trips. The projects are as varied as the groups who participated, and they were completed across the campus, across the city, and across the globe.
SAIT Cares – the ripple effect
While the 100 Projects Project was initially started to encourage the SAIT community to give back during our centennial year, it became so much more. Volunteers were brought together with organizations that needed them. Some of the volunteers who spent time winterizing the garden at Agape Hospice in September offered to come back and became regular volunteer gardeners in the spring. During our first SAIT-led Made by Momma event in November, one volunteer immediately felt a connection to the organization and joined their group as a board member. When we came back to Made by Momma in January, she was the group kitchen coordinator. And in March, after the Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids project, one of the volunteers signed up to become a weekly volunteer for the organization.
It also became clear that giving back is a large part of the SAIT culture. Staff and faculty were among the many who volunteered, raised money and organized projects for students. It’s no wonder SAIT was named the Best Workplace in Alberta for Volunteerism and Community Involvement by Alberta Venture Magazine.
Way to go!
SAIT’s centennial gave us an opportunity to look back and reflect on our first 100 years. The story of SAIT began with only eleven students in a rented space and with borrowed equipment. Now, we have an alumni family of over 233,000 who have helped to build this city, this province and this country. We knew this centennial year was going to be one for the history books, but it far exceeded our expectations. Thank you for being a part of it all.
As we bring our centennial year to a close on June 30, we want to take a moment and look back at the activities and events that made the past few months so extraordinary.
100th Birthday Party
Over three days in October 2016, SAIT welcomed alumni, donors, staff, faculty and students back to campus for an epic birthday celebration that is sure to be talked about for years to come. The weekend began on Oct. 13 with An Evening of History. In the Making, a one-night-only performance that brought SAIT’s history to life on stage. The party continued on Oct. 15 when we welcomed our alumni home with a special day to celebrate their contribution to the SAIT story. On October 16, more than 20,000 people came to campus for the party. There were bouncy castles, LEGO building, and a Wheels and Wings car and aero show in the Clayton Carroll Automotive Centre. The 10-tiered birthday cake was shared by thousands and a barbecue lunch was served to the first 2,500 visitors. The 1966 time capsule contents were revealed by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and many came out to watch the Alumni Speaker Series in Macdonald Hall. The day was capped off with an outdoor concert by Juno award winner Dan Mangan, and an epic fireworks finale that lit the Calgary sky.
More than 10,000 images were collected over 14 months to make up the Centennial Photo Mosaic that now hangs on the wall in the Irene Lewis Atrium. The giant 8 foot by 20 foot mosaic will be a lasting legacy of SAIT’s centennial celebrations and a snapshot of campus life in 2016/17.
2016 Time Capsule
Throughout the year, items and ideas were collected to be included in the 2016 time capsule that is to be opened on SAIT’s 200th birthday on Oct. 16, 2116. The items in the time capsule represent SAIT, Calgary, and campus life in 2016/17. The time capsule ceremony was held on June 5, 2017 in front of Heritage Hall. It was buried just near the front steps and capped with a cairn including a marble base and large silver dome sandblasted with the iconic catalyst of SAIT’s new logo.
In celebration of our centennial, SAIT commissioned a special art installation by alumnus and metal artist Michael Perks (Millwright ’06). The reveal ceremony took place on the afternoon of June 5, 2017, capping off an exciting year of centennial celebration events on campus. The spectacular forged piece is 16 feet tall and 16 feet wide and is a stylized interpretation of SAIT’s catalyst symbol. You can see the sculpture for yourself in the newly named FirstEnergy Capital Corp Centennial Circle, the traffic circle on 12 Street NW off 16 Avenue North.
Watch: The centennial art unveiling
Just two weeks ago we saw the first class of SAIT’s second century cross the stage during spring convocation. SAIT’s commitment to provide hands-on, skilled-oriented training to students hasn’t changed since those first eleven students in 1916. As we look towards SAIT’s second century that philosophy and passion for student success continues to drive all that we do.
Thank you for being a part of our first hundred years, and for being an important part of SAIT’s continuing story.
SAIT wrapped up its centennial celebrations on June 5 with an emotional, once-in-a-lifetime event — the burying of the centennial time capsule and the unveiling of a special art installation by SAIT alumnus and metal artist, Michael Perks.
Special guests, SAIT staff, students and alumni, including 102-year-old Clarence Hollingworth — SAIT's oldest known alumnus — filled the sidewalks on the south side of Heritage Hall for the event with Global Calgary news anchor Linda Olsen as master of ceremonies. Olsen, herself, is a graduate of SAIT's Cinema, Television, Stage and Radio (CTSR) program in 1988 and a 2015 SAIT honorary degree holder.
Another one for the books
The centennial time capsule, complete with RCMP Honour Guard escort, was interred in front of Heritage Hall, SAIT's iconic building constructed in 1921.
"SAIT has been through the ebbs and flows of history and here we are today — a century later — from humble beginnings to one of the most vibrant, relevant applied-education institutions in Canada," says Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO. "We are a long-standing foundation of this community. Very few institutions, especially in western Canada, have 100 years under their belt."
SAIT collected memories throughout its centennial year to include in the 2016 time capsule which will be opened on Oct. 16, 2116. It was designed and built by SAIT employees from the School of Manufacturing and Automation, taking more than 60 hours and two cubic metres of 20-gauge stainless steel to create.
Ross continues, "It's exciting to try to envision the next century. I can only imagine what SAIT will be like on our 200th birthday when the time capsule is opened."
Time capsule facts:
- The contents are protected in a PVC pipe and encase in a stainless steel sleeve
- The capsule is 67 cm wide by 116 cm tall and weighs approximately 80 kg
- A cairn with a marble base is set on top of the time capsule
- Fourteen stainless steel nuts and bolts used
- Two cubic meters of 20-gauge stainless steel used on the main body of the sleeve
- Fourteen-gauge stainless steel used for the lid and bottom
- The hold for the time capsule is two metres deep reinforced with 3.56 cubic metres of concrete, 152 metres of rebar, and 1.5 cubic metres of grav
Notable time capsule items:
- A photo of Dr. David Ross and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in front of Heritage Hall
- A 3D printed mini Heritage Hall figurine
- Letters from SAIT executive leaders and board members
- An empty Tool Shed Brewery SAIT Centennial Ale beer can
- A Loonie and other Canadian currency
- Menu from SAIT's The Highwood restaurant
- Numerous photos of SAIT staff, students and alumni in 2016
- SAIT Trojans athletic clothing
- SAITSA (student association) memorabilia
- Various SAIT student guides and award information books
- The Weal, SAIT's newspaper
Centennial art installation unveiled
The centennial art installation was also unveiled on June 5 at the FirstEnergy Capital Corp Centennial Circle on the SAIT campus as special guests, SAIT staff, students and alumni looked on.
SAIT alumnus Michael Perks (Millwright '06) created a special and spectacular piece of art nearly five metres wide and five metres tall in celebration of SAIT's 100 years. The piece is an interpretation of the SAIT's catalyst symbol which is forged by five s-shape connectors, representing the people and relationships that define us — students, faculty and staff, alumni, employers and partners, and the diverse communities we serve.
Watch history in the making
This weekend, artist Michael Perks is installing his work in the FirstEnergy Capital Corp Centennial Circle (12 Street traffic circle). From Friday, June 2 at 5 pm to Monday, June 5 at 5 pm, closures will impact roads leading directly to and from the traffic circle, as well as lanes turning from 16 Avenue onto 12 Street. Be there when the sculpture is unveiled Monday, June 5 at 1:30 pm.
We appreciate your patience as we celebrate the close of our centennial celebrations! See you there!
June 5 events:
Workers are busily adding 454 new names to the brick donor wall standing out front of Heritage Hall on SAIT's main campus.
The new additions are the result of a successful Buy-a-brick Campaign that ran during SAIT's centennial year. Proceeds of the campaign went to support the SAIT Opportunities Fund, which helps SAIT students every day by supporting programs and projects not covered by tuition or government. The new engravings join others previously placed on the donor wall and will total 875 sketched bricks when the wall is complete.
Can you find these bricks?
Donors were given the opportunity to write a personalized message on their brick. See if you can spot:
• Two duplicates
• One Star Trek reference
• One video game reference
• "Thanks" or "Thank you" appears on four different bricks.
SAIT’s centennial birthday launched with a party of epic proportions, bringing together more than 20,000 people. Throughout the year we delivered more than 150 charitable projects in the community, unveiled the #SAIT100 photo mosaic and shared the stories of SAIT’s people through #SAITstory.
The celebration continues on June 5, 2017 where we will be burying the 2016 time capsule and unveiling the centennial art sculpture in two public ceremonies.
Some of the most exciting moments from SAIT’s centennial year will be preserved for the next 100 years in a time capsule to be opened on our 200th birthday. Join us for the official burial of the 2016 time capsule, find out what items will be included and be a part of the legacy for future generations of students, alumni, employees and partners.
When: Monday, June 5
Time: 11 am
Where: Front steps of Heritage Hall (Main Building)
A special centennial art installation, created by SAIT millwright grad Michael Perks, will be revealed for the first time. The sculpture is dedicated to students, employees, alumni and partners who make up the SAIT community. Join us for the unveil ceremony on main campus at the FirstEnergy Capital Corp. Centennial Circle.
When: Monday, June 5
Time: 1:30 pm
Where: FirstEnergy Capital Corp. Centennial Circle, 12 Street entrance off 16 Avenue NW (located between Aldred Centre and Thomas Riley Building)
Commemorative Brick Wall
The 454 individual donors who supported the SAIT Opportunities Fund during SAIT’s centennial celebrations in 2016 have been added to the commemorative brick wall in front of Heritage Hall. Find your name and read messages from other donors who have supported SAIT throughout the years.
The SAIT community has rallied behind the centennial theme of SAIT Cares and has surpassed the goal of completing 100 charitable projects in SAIT’s centennial year. The SAIT Centennial 100 Projects Project was started to encourage the SAIT community – students, employees, alumni and partners to go forth and do 100 good deeds. And boy did you come through!
In early 2017, when we were getting close to our goal of 100 projects, we decided to add another 50 projects to honour Canada’s 150th birthday. We’ve now surpassed that goal and are easily within reach of 175 – maybe even 200 – with one month left to go.
It’s not just the SAIT community benefiting from this initiative. Projects are being completed on campus, in our community, across Calgary, and across the world. Recent projects include a group of more than 50 SAIT alumni and friends lending a hand to make our city’s pathways safer for citizens and wildlife as part of the 50th Annual City of Calgary Pathway and River Cleanup. Employees and students from the Hospitality Management program recently stocked the kitchen at Brenda’s House, an emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness, with much-needed small appliances, cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, and students in the Electrical Engineering Technology program spent two weeks in Peru installing solar panels in a community with no access to electricity.
The final SAIT-led project will take place on Tuesday, May 30. Volunteers will be helping out a local senior in the community with small home repairs and outdoor painting as part of the City of Calgary’s Paint the Town for a Senior initiative. There are still a few spots available. Join us for a day outside having some fun, and doing a very good deed for someone in need. Lunch and snacks are provided.
Mark your calendar, and join us for SAIT’s final centennial event! The SAIT Centennial Golf Classic will take place on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club. The money raised from this tournament will make an important difference to students who are facing financial need in their commitment to finding their passion through enrollment in SAIT programming. The SAIT Centennial Classic focuses on supporting students who demonstrate a commitment to athletic excellence, academic success, and community citizenship.
This tournament promises to be a great day of golf on this beautiful, private golf course and a fun day to support SAIT students. Registration and breakfast begins at 7:30 am, and the shotgun start tees-off at 8:30 am. Included in your tournament registration will be breakfast, a BBQ dinner, tees, balls and cart, plus a great lineup of prizes await you at the closing banquet.
This is the final event of SAIT’s year of centennial celebrations and with your help, we can continue to create the shapers, makers and originals needed by Calgary’s ever changing workforce. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together friends and colleagues for a great day of golf and help SAIT celebrate 100 years of educational excellence while supporting student success.
Be a part of history and join us for this unique golfing experience. We need sponsors, golfers and donors to make this day a success. You can register online or click here to download our Sponsorship Package. Register early as the tournament will sell out quickly.
This past year SAIT students, employees, alumni and friends have been busy – being charitable that is. When SAIT's centennial team set a target to complete 100 charitable projects during SAIT’s centennial year we were told it couldn’t be done. Not only have we reached our target, we’re still going strong!
The 100 Projects Project has been a great opportunity for the SAIT community to share our skills, passion and enthusiasm with our city and the world – we’ve had projects in our own backyard and around the globe. It’s inspiring.
In true SAIT fashion, reaching our goal of 100 projects wasn’t enough. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday this year, a new goal of completing 150 projects before June 15 has been set.
You can still participate. Volunteering your time, or collecting and donating for a cause all count as charitable endeavours. Even if it’s already completed, you’re still able to add your project to the list by contacting Jodi Currie.
Join one of the remaining SAIT-led projects still in need of volunteers.
Pathway and River Clean Up – help remove winter-accumulated litter as part of the City of Calgary’s annual pathway and river clean-up which helps keep our shared spaces free from materials that could harm us, the environment, and our city’s wildlife.
- Sunday, May 7, 8:30 am to noon
- 60 volunteers required (great for families – kids over 12 years are welcome!)
- Located in Monterey Park, NE Calgary
- Registration for the Pathway and River Clean Up closes May
Paint the Town for a Senior – Make a huge difference in the life of a senior through the City of Calgary’s Paint the Town project. Run by the City of Calgary Senior Services, the project assists low-income seniors, or those not physically able, with exterior painting and minor repairs.
- Tuesday, May 30, 9 am to 3 pm
- 25 volunteers required
- Location TBD
- Registration for Paint the Town for a Senior closes May 19
It was 14 months in the making and now the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic is offically a permanent installation on SAIT's main campus.
The mosaic is made up of 10,000 photos — your memories — which were added through Twitter, Instagram and the centennial website. From convocation ceremonies and centennial celebrations to the unique and ordinary moments in between, together we built one incredible picture.
"We needed 10,000 photos to complete the mosaic, which was a bit daunting in the beginning," says Cathy Downey, Director, centennial project. "We ended up reaching over 11,000 images. It's fantastic — the SAIT community really came through."
SAIT students and employees celebrated with a reveal party sponsored by PepsiCo, Xerox and Chartwells. 2017 President's Medal recipients Yekaterina Gyasova and Hamzah Al-Hakime did the honours of unveiling the 20-foot by eight-foot image.
The image is now open for viewing to the public. Comes see it yourself and find your own photos. It's like your own personal "Where is Waldo?"
It’s official ― the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic is complete.
Over 445 days, almost 9,000 SAIT photo memories were added through Twitter, Instagram and the centennial website. From convocation ceremonies and centennial celebrations to the unique and ordinary moments in between, together, we built one incredible picture.
Soon the mosaic will become a 20-foot by eight-foot, permanent installation in SAIT’s Irene Lewis Atrium, Stan Grad Centre. The fusion of memories will serve as a legacy for future generations of students and be a physical reminder of SAIT’s centennial year.
Don’t miss the opportunity to find your own photos and see the giant mosaic in person beginning April 10.
Clarence Hollingworth may be old, but he sure is spry. “Old age isn’t for sissies,” he says.
SAIT's oldest known alumnus (Electrical Engineering Technology ’34, Honorary Bachelor of Science ’15) celebrated his 102 birthday among family and friends in SAIT’s Heritage Hall, almost 96 years after he witnessed the laying of the building’s cornerstone in 1921.
As part of the celebrations, 102 birthday cards, along with a portrait drawing of Hollingworth by SAIT alumnus and staff member Jorge Torres, were given to Hollignworth. His cake was made by Baking and Pastry Arts students.
When families arrive at the Inn from the Cold shelter they do so in a period of crisis and trauma. Staff at the Inn do their best to wrap them in warmth and welcome the entire family to stay together. They live in semi-private cubicles until they can get back on their feet, in a sanctuary providing stability and safety to families in need.
Every month a group is welcomed to the Inn to host a birthday party for the kids and families who live there. It provides a break in the routine, and a special treat for everyone. On February 24, a dozen enthusiastic SAIT alumni and friends volunteered their time to put on an exciting party as part of the 100 Projects Project. They decorated the rooms in streamers, balloons and `Happy Birthday` signs to create a fun birthday party atmosphere for the more than 30 kids and parents who would be participating.
The evening started off with a show by “Funny Juggler” Paul Isaak who had everyone from the littlest kids, to the oldest adults in hysterics during his show. There were crafts to make, including decorating and making their own buttons, provided by SAITSA, and games to play. What would a birthday be without cake, and if you’re going to be creating an epic birthday party, well then there better be two – chocolate and vanilla. The cake and ice cream, provided by the Inn, was the cherry on top of a fantastic evening. The hour-long party flew by!
It was an inspiring night for the volunteers, and a fun diversion for the kids and families who took part.
On February 14, SAIT adopted the Canadian Blood Services clinic in downtown Calgary as part of a 100 Projects Project. Our goal was to encourage 100 donors to come down and donate blood between 9 am and 7 pm. At the end of the day, 172 people had visited the clinic – 50 of those were affiliated with SAIT.
Canadian Blood Services has a campaign to find 100,000 new donors by the end of March 2017, and though their numbers are usually lower after Christmas, they’ve been experiencing a much lower donor turnout than in the past. With help from SAIT staff, students, alumni and friends they are now closer to that goal.
Volunteers were on hand throughout the day greeting donors, thanking them for their donation and chatting about SAIT. Because it was Valentine’s Day, volunteers handed out special heart-shaped cookies and red SAIT t-shirts. It was an inspiring day for donors and volunteers alike.
The 100 Projects Project is a centennial initiative to rally our community to complete 100 charitable projects during our centennial year. The blood donor clinic is the 95th completed project to be added to the list – and we’re not done yet. In honour of Canada’s 150 birthday we’re now aiming to complete 150 projects by June 30, 2017. Be a part of this initiative showcasing how much SAIT cares for the community. Get involved today!
On February 14th we’re looking for 100 SAIT students, employees, alumni and friends to donate blood and help save a life as part of this special 100 Projects Project.
When: Tuesday, Feb. 14 – 9 AM – 7 PM
Where: Canadian Blood Services, 737 13 Ave SW (google map)
Pre-booking your time is STRONGLY recommended. Click here to schedule an appointment.
It’s Valentine’s Day, bring a date to donate, and make it an extra special night.
For more details on eligibility requirements, visit blood.ca
SAIT campus boasts some of the best views in Calgary, especially during sunrise or sunset! Capture a photo of the next colourful skyscape you see at SAIT and share it on Instagram with #SAIT100 and #SAITsunrise (sunsets still count!) Each photo you post before 10 pm on Friday, Feb. 17 will earn you an entry to win a SAIT gift basket valued at more than $300, including a $100 gift certificate to The Highwood resturaunt. This contest is open to everyone!
Your photos will also be included in the #SAIT100 Photo Mosiac. The 10,000-image installation will be added to the Irene Lewis Atrium, Stan Grad Centre in spring 2017.
Chef Rose Warden, one of SAIT's Baking and Pastry Arts instructors, took the lead to create the epic 7-foot centennial birthday cake unveiled during the celebrations on Oct. 16, but she couldn't do it alone. To help her out she brought together a team of nearly 80 students, alumni, and industry partners who put in 1,200 hours of volunteer time to create the 10-tier masterpiece. They helped in all aspects from planning, to baking, to creating the 150 figurines, to putting it all together for the party. It was truly a team effort, and now that the 'flour' has settled, Rose took a moment to say a special thank you to the dedicated group of bakers.
She brought the group together for a special reception where each person received a special gift which included an exclusive centennial cake apron, an icing spatula, and a special frosting tip. It was a great night for the group to come together and socialize, watch a video about the making of the cake, and enjoy some pizza and beverages. The night would not be complete without a cake, and Chef Rose did not disappoint. The two-foot round cake looked like a very realistic looking deep-dish ham and pineapple pizza. Yes, a cake that looked very much like a pizza - complete with bits of ham that looked a little singed on the edges and mini pineapple chunks. The pizza cake was an inside joke. Rose figured that since the bakers didn't get a chance to get a piece of cake on the birthday, that she would make a pizza cake - get it, pizza cake/piece of cake!
What a great team! Thank you again for all you did to create the biggest cake ever seen at SAIT!
Win a free XL Tim Horton's coffee every day until the end of term!
Enter to win by posting your photos of life at SAIT on Instagram and Twitter using #SAIT100 & #SKIPTHELINE (*both hashtags to enter).
One SAIT student and one employee will win the opportunity to skip the line and grab one free XL coffee each day from Feb. 21, 2017 - April 28, 2017. Coffee must be redeemed at the Tim Hortons located in SAIT's Senator Burns Building, located on main campus.
The 100 Projects Project encourages SAIT students, employees, alumni and friends to complete 100 charitable projects in SAIT’s centennial year. And, we’re over 60% of the way there! So why not up the stakes a little bit? As part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebration, we are now aiming to complete 150 projects by the end of June 2017.
We know it can be done, we just need your help!
There are few ways to get involved:
1. LEAD a project - rally your friends, family, coworkers, team, club, etc. to volunteer their time for a good cause. It could be as easy as shoveling a elderly neighbour's sidewalk, collecting donations, volunteering your time, or hosting a fundraising event such as a polar dip. The possibilities are nearly endless!
2. JOIN a project - each month until July 2017, SAIT has organized several volunteer opportunities which include:
- Brown Bagging 4 Calgary's Kids
- Annual Pathway and River Clean Up
- Paint the Town for a Senior
3. SHARE your project - do you already volunteer in the community? Let us know and send a photo. We would love to share it on social and recognize your good deeds as part of the 100 Projects Project!
Projects like these are having a ripple effect in the communities they serve. Adding 50 projects to our goal means we are able to make an even bigger impact.
For inspiration, see a list of completed projects.
Sign up for a project and join others from the SAIT community.
More than 120 students took their picture with the official centennial fireworks plunger, and posted it using #SAIT100 for a chance to win. Each student who participated received a centennial t-shirt designed by SAIT’s outstanding young alumna Sarah Erasmus, and was given a ballot to enter their name for a chance to win one of two $50 SAIT e-cards.
Congratulations Jasdeep and Ross!
The photos will be added to the centennial SAIT Photo Mosaic, to be unveiled this spring.
On Wednesday, Jan. 11 volunteers braved the slippery streets to help give back to a worth organization as part of a SAIT-led 100 Projects Project. Thirteen volunteers, made up of SAIT employees and alumni, prepared 40 meals for families who are served by Made by Momma. They spent the evening chopping, dicing and sautéing the ingredients for the four different meals which included turkey chili, jerk pork, and cottage pie.
Made by Momma helps families facing adversity and crisis by providing healthy prepared meals and other services to families where the mom may have been diagnosed with a chronic injury or illness. This allows mothers the time they need to rest, recover, and focus on their families and health. Like most non-profit groups Made by Momma was born from a need. When a mom who was part of a Meetup group was diagnosed with a serious illness the other mothers realized that because she had no family here, she had no support network. Mothers are usually the ones taking care of kids and family, but what happens when the mom is the one who is sick? The other mothers stepped up to cook meals, assist with her kids, and help where they could. It occurred to them that there are probably plenty of moms without a support network in the city and were being overwhelmed with their situation. “Women helping women – one of the best and strongest support systems that has ever existed.”
The New Year has begun and we can't wait to see what it holds, but before we do, we want to give one more nod to 2016. We closed this calendar year off with a new brand, a new website and incredible memories from our epic centennial celebrations in October. Speaking of our birthday weekend, did you know hundreds of volunteers donated 1,100 hours of their time to bring our centennial to life for the 20,000 people who come to campus that weekend? That's one pretty incredible community effort, if we do say so ourselves. But it isn't over yet!
Make your mark on history
Our centennial year has only gotten started. There are still plenty of ways to get involved, and we hope you do:
- Add your photo memories to the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic
Become a part of a permanent installation on SAIT's main campus.
- Give back through the 100 Projects Project which aims to complete 100 charitable projects by June 30, 2017.
We've now upped this this goal to 150 projects in celebration of Canada's 150th.
- Get your copy of Shapers, Makers and Originals: The Story of SAIT's First 100 Years
Buy the book and learn fascinating and surprising details of how we helped shape our city, province and nation. Available for purchase in the SAIT Library.
- Submit your Class Notes
Share your news, stories and memories and catch up with classmates.
- Sign up for the centennial newsletter
Keep up on the latest news, upcoming events and more.
Achievements and highlights from 2016
In the midst of her pain and grief, it was a much-needed piece of sanctuary.
“Very peaceful,” offers Julie Donaldson.
Last May, Donaldson’s husband Don passed away after a long and courageous fight with cancer. Don spent his final five weeks at the Salvation Army Agapé Hospice, where he, Julie and their two daughters would sit together in the hospice’s outdoor garden as spring arrived with a riot of colour.
“It was a good place to sit with your thoughts and your family,” says Julie. “I’d like to think that Don enjoyed it a bit, too.”
In September, Julie (PLA ’99), who works in mineral land administration with Calgary’s Crew Energy, returned to Agapé Hospice—this time with fellow volunteers from the SAITennial Squad, to winterize the garden, trim hedges, clear flowerbeds and rake leaves.
The experience has inspired Julie to continue her relationship with the facility, by taking on more volunteer gardening with Agapé Hospice next spring.
It’s one example of the profound ripple effect that SAIT’s centennial celebrations are having on the Calgary-and-area community. As part of the 100 Projects Project, SAIT is mobilizing alumni, students, employees and partners to deliver 100 charitable projects by the spring of 2017 for 100 years of SAIT.
“These are organic initiatives, bringing people together to do good for others,” says Jodi Currie, SAIT’s Centennial Volunteer Coordinator.
And just as Julie Donaldson is keen to stay involved with Agapé Hospice, Ashley Livingston has been energized into further action by her own 100 Projects Project volunteer experience earlier this month—an evening of meal preparation for Made by Momma.
A local non-profit organization and registered charity 100% driven by volunteers, Made by Momma provides wholesome nourishment and nurturing care for mothers and young children facing adversity and crisis.
“I was raised by a single mom, and I understand firsthand that there are women out there who don’t have a massive support network when life gets really challenging,” says Livingston, who made chili, soup, and quinoa turkey meatballs in the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen with about a dozen others from the SAITennial Squad.
“I immediately connected to that organization,” she adds. “I’ve applied to be a board member at Made by Momma—and I also applied for the position of group kitchen coordinator!”
There are two ways to get involved with the 100 Projects Project—pitch in with a project of your own, or join a SAIT-led project. Under Currie’s direction, those SAIT-led initiatives over the next several months include volunteer opportunities with:
- The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society;
- Inn from the Cold;
- Brown Bagging 4 Calgary’s Kids; and
- Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta.
“I’m not a SAIT graduate,” says Livingston, “but I can see how great an organization SAIT is, and I can’t wait to do more volunteering with SAIT.”
Written by Todd Kimberley
In the early hours of our centennial, one Calgary family was also experiencing an incredible moment — the birth of their child.
Only hours after baby Mohammed Sher had arrived, his parents, Sidra Siddique and Umar Riaz, were informed their son shared a birthday with SAIT and had been named the SAIT Centennial Baby — a title that comes with a full SAIT scholarship. The generous gift was made possible by Mawer Investment Management, a SAIT centennial sponsor.
“Baby Mohammed is an exciting part of our future as we kick off our second century,” says SAIT President and CEO, Dr. David Ross. “He is already a part of the SAIT family, and it will be a special moment when Mohammed walks through our doors on his first day as a student.”
Sidra’s brother, Ali Awais, was with the new parents when they found out Mohammed was named the SAIT centennial baby.
“We were so excited when the nurse came in to tell us. We are so happy,” says Awais.
Mohammed will have the option to attend SAIT after his 18th birthday for a full two-year or four-year program.
The $40,000 scholarship will be divided across his total years of study. Any unused funds will be reinvested by SAIT into a general Entrance Award.
Good things come in small packages — or in SAIT’s case, a small envelope.
In honour of our centennial, Canada Post has issued a commemorative envelope that showcases SAIT’s past and present.
The envelope is a special collectible issued in limited quantities. The section process for the commemorative stamp is robust. Canada’s Stamp Advisory Committee reviews suggestions from the public, experts and Canada Post employees, ensuring the element selected would appeal to all Canadians.
Other Canadian historical milestones honoured with an envelope include the 150th year of the Charlottetown Conference (the birthplace of Canada’s confederation) and the 100 anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (soldiers whose heroics included the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele).
How to buy the SAIT envelope
Envelopes will be in Calgary post offices and available throughout Canada at Canadapost.ca/shop or by calling 1-877-632-6347.
SAIT's School of Hospitality and Tourism built us a cake of extraordinary proportions and it captured the hearts and stomachs of the thousands who came to see ― and eat ― it. The idea of such a cake was conceived in the fall 2014 and it took six months of planning and creation to complete. Take a look at how it was done:
It was a remarkable weekend as The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) celebrated 100 years of action-based education in Alberta.
The festivities reached a high point on Sunday, when approximately over 15,000 people visited campus to mark SAIT’s proud history.
The afternoon kicked off with food and fun, but the good times kept on rolling into the evening when Canadian musician Dan Mangan took the stage. A countdown to 7:16 pm (better known as 19:16 — a military time to match the year of SAIT’s inception) led to the grand fireworks finale.
Such an action-packed day made for hundreds of great moments — photographers were there to capture as many of them as possible.
Time after time
After 50 years in the ground, the 1966 time capsule was unearthed and the contents were unpacked in front of a full house. Here are some of the items preserved inside.
Watch video of the crew taking the time capsule out of the ground.
Visit the Reg Erhardt Library to see the full contents of the 1966 and 1991 capsules.
Become a part of the time capsule to be opened on SAIT's 200th birthday in 2116 by sharing a photo using the hashtag #SAIT100 — your photo will be included in the photo mosaic and be added to the time capsule contents.
An Evening of History in the Making
On Thursday, Oct. 13, early celebrations kicked off with a one-night-only show at the Jubilee. An Evening of History in the Making was put on in collaboration with Calgary’s Kelly Brothers Productions — it beautifully and creatively showcased our proud past, people and community. Watch the whole show below.
It all started from a borrowed building, borrowed equipment, 11 students, seven staff and a big dream to prepare students with relevant and applied learning. One century later, SAIT has stood the test of time and played an integral role in shaping our city, our province and world along the way. Perseverance and strength is in our DNA. We think big ― we always have. Learn how we got here by watching the incredible performance, created in collaboration with Calgary’s Kelly Brothers Productions. It will take you on a unique journey through SAIT’s proud past, introduce you some of our incredible people and show you why SAIT remains a one-of-a-kind place in the community.
*The presentation was captured through a live stream and officially begins at 19:20 mins in the video.
The singer-songwriter reflects on his own history ahead of his performance at SAIT’s centennial celebrations Oct. 16.
Dan Mangan knows great things take time.
Whether you’re an artist or educator, building a legacy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes innovation, inspiration, heart and patience to become a leader in your field.
As SAIT approaches its centennial, we recognize the many minds and moments that have made our institution a leader in applied education. In celebration, we’re teaming up with two-time JUNO award winning singer-songwriter Mangan — a leader in his own field — for a free, all ages evening show on our 100th birthday celebration Oct. 16.
As we look back on 100 years of defining best-in-class in action-based learning, Mangan reminisces on his musical journey and the evolution of his own profession — and explains why his mother keeps the poster from his first SAIT performance on her wall:
Can you remember the moment or period of time you wanted to become a musician?
“I was in a band in high school and we played at the Dunbar Community Centre in Vancouver. There were 25 teenagers there, all our buddies.
The last song we did was a cover of Everlong by the Foo Fighters and I remember my friend Julian got hoisted up and started crowd surfing. It wasn’t like there was this massive crowd that you could crowd surf on – the whole thing was so pathetic and adorable and teenage, but three or four people lifted him up and started carrying him around. Adorable as it is in hindsight, at the moment, it was like — oh my god, we’re rock stars! That feeling, that exhilaration, was a high I’ve been chasing ever since.”
You grew up listening to your parent's records. Who were you listening to?
“The band I listened to most from my parent’s record collection was definitely The Beatles.
I learned how to play the entirety of Abbey Road on the piano when I was seven or eight years old. I played it ad nauseam driving my entire family totally nuts in that way that kids can repeat something over and over and it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment.
When I think about the songs I sing to my kid at bedtime today, more times than not it’s Beatles songs. Those songs are timeless somehow.”
What was the very first cassette or CD you personally owned?
“My first cassette was The Simpsons Sing the Blues. The first compact disc I bought with my own money was Aerosmith, Get a Grip.”
On your website, you share a blog entry titled “Please Stand By.” Within it, you say “All of my favourite bands played the long game.” What do you mean by that?
“It’s entirely possible for a band to become huge overnight on buzz alone, but it’s impossible for that band to sustain that buzz for decades by accident.
If you focus on creating a body of work that you can be proud of and is an honest representation of your mind and heart, then that will slowly accumulate believers, listeners and supporters. I admire those artists: Radiohead, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Nick Cave — people who invented and re-invented themselves.
I like the idea that you can refer to their body of work in eras – you can say ‘I love Leonard Cohen in the ’90s and someone else says they loved him in the ’80s. These people have managed to accumulate such an incredible body of work that people can nitpick what they like and don’t like.”
Who has had a big impact on who you are today?
“I had a sociology professor at the University of British Colombia named Richard Fredericks. Every lecture he kind of exploded 100, twenty-somethings’ minds open. I hope every post-secondary student gets a least one prof like that who can ask the questions that make you inherently question everything you thought you knew. That’s very powerful.”
Is there anything that’s become obsolete that you wish would come back (i.e. video rental stores)?
“Luckily record stores are still here. There’s something really special about the weird mixture of nerdiness and elitism. A space where you can discover things is exciting.
Digital music is so disposable — it’s an infinite resource. If you break a record, it’s gone. If you’re truly on your desert island and there’s no wi-fi, but there’s a turntable, you can play the record until it warps and you can’t play it anymore. There’s something interesting about that scarcity.”
What is your connection to SAIT?
“I played at the Gateway in 2009 or 2010. I don’t know if they still do this, but they printed these HUGE posters — massive 3-foot by 4-foot posters. I remember walking in and there was this ridiculous, life-sized photo of me.
My brother took if off the wall and rolled it up. Now it’s in my mom’s house. Every time I go to my mom’s house I’m getting stared at by this life-sized picture of me. People who visit my mom are like, ‘Wow, I guess you really love your son Dan, eh?’
It’s this ongoing joke. All of that awkwardness and hilarity is thanks to the SAIT printing press. I’m expecting a 6-foot x 9-foot poster this time.”
Tool Shed Brewing Company in partnership with SAIT Students' Association (SAITSA) has created a commemorative craft beer to celebrate SAIT’s centennial.
SAIT Centenni-Ale is aptly named not only for SAIT’s 100th birthday, but also because it is made with centennial hops – an American-born hop that boasts flower and citrus notes with a medium aroma and high bitter value.
“We wanted to make a beer with a bit of an edge to it,” says Jeff Orr, co-owner of Tool Shed and graduate of SAIT’s Broadcast Technology program. “This beer speaks to a broad section of people and it’s made with a lot of Alberta heart – like SAIT!”
Despite living blocks from each other in Calgary, Orr and his partner Graham Sherman met while working for an IT and satellite company in Afghanistan.
“The only reason Graham and I met is because of 9-11,” says Orr. “Had that not happened, we would never have gone to Afghanistan and he would have lived down the street from me and we would have never met."
The two did meet and it quickly became apparent that they shared some pretty unique interests and hobbies – a love for beer being the one that stands out.
When they returned to Calgary, they began brewing in Graham’s backyard tool shed but quickly realized they had something special and looked for opportunities to grow. They incorporated and began brewing first out of B.C. before opening their local brewery in N.E. Calgary in 2014.
“When we set it in motion, there was no going back,” says Orr. “We figured if we were going to be working 24 hours a day, it might as well be doing something we love."
When Orr and Sherman decided they were going to make the beer, they texted SAITSA to see if they would be on board and, "that was it," says Orr, "we were in business."
SAIT Centenni-Ale is currently being brewed and is expected to be ready in time for Centennial Weekend on October 15 and 16.
“We’re super excited to be involved in such a huge event,” says Orr. “SAIT has been a cornerstone of Calgary for so long. To have any part of that is pretty humbling for us and as someone who went to SAIT, it’s amazing to even be the tiniest bit involved.”
SAIT Centenni-Ale will be sold out of SAITSA's Gateway restaurant and Bar beginning Saturday, Oct. 15 and Calgary-wide in mid-fall.
George Webber is a true SAIT original.
Best known for capturing the unexposed and peculiar corners of the Canadian West, the internationally recognized photographer's work can be found in books, magazines and along the walls of museums around the globe. Calgary's Glenbow Museum hosts more than 500 of his photos in their collection.
With such success, it's something to brag about that SAIT was where his 42-year photography career began.
There is a very good chance, he says, that if he hadn't taken a writing job at the post-secondary, he may have never become a photographer at all.
The man who obtained a degree in Political Science and Journalism had dreamed of being a writer. More specifically, a journalist.
One fateful day
"I really, really, really wanted a newspaper job," Webber says. "I got an interview at the Calgary Albertan, which is now the Calgary Sun … I thought I did a good interview, but they didn't offer me the job. I was just crushed."
Later that summer in 1974, Webber saw a posting for a SAIT writing position. He got the job, and well, the rest is history.
"I was doing some research in the SAIT library, I opened up a book of photographs called The Decisive Moment by a French photographer named Henri Cartier-Bresson. And when I closed that book, I knew I wanted to be a photographer ― it was a life-changing experience."
An informal education
Webber began borrowing cameras and practicing darkroom techniques. He bought his own camera after leaving his writing gig at SAIT.
He returned to SAIT as a staff photographer in 1980 and captured the institute's visual story for the next 22 years.
While weekends and summers were reserved for other work ― Hutterite colonies, badlands and Calgary's East Village, to name a few ― Webber says his role at SAIT was where he learned the ropes and truly honed his skills. He learned almost everything he needed to know about photography from colleague Ron Burton, a SAIT staff photographer from the early 1970s - 1992.
"I had decades of support and the opportunity to learn, master my craft and work with it. Everything I know about photography, I learned at SAIT ― it was like my school as well as my workplace. That's the special thing and I am so grateful for that."
A significant contribution to SAIT's first 100 years
Between Burton and Webber, the two photogs captured a combined 40 years of SAIT's history, which makes up a good portion of SAIT's centennial book, Shapers, Makers and Originals: The Story of SAIT's First 100 Years, hitting the shelves of SAIT's Bookstore on Sept. 23.
Webber also played a major role in the making of the book, produced by Kingsley Publishing Services and written by historian David Finch. The photographer helped source and organize over 100 years of images from the SAIT archives and Alberta's Provincial Archives and took photos for the contemporary portion of the historic book.
Although Webber continues to teach continuing education at SAIT and contributes to LINK Magazine, he says the book was an important and deeply meaningful culmination of his time at the post-secondary.
"This September, it will be 42 years since I first walked through the doors of this place. It means a lot to me," he says.
Two-time JUNO award winner Dan Mangan will help SAIT celebrate its 100th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 16!
Since releasing his first of eight albums in 2003, the indie rock artist has toured throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Mangan has performed alongside musical greats including Missy Elliot and Mumford & Sons.
Mangan’s free, all-ages evening show on SAIT campus begins at 6 pm and will be capped off with a fireworks finale at 7:16 pm (19:16 ― get it?).
Awesome music is just one reason to attend SAIT’s 100th Birthday event — a free BBQ, Wheels & Wings show, a speaker series event, the 1966 time capsule opening, family fun and cake (of course!) are also planned for the day.
SAIT’s centennial is in part presented by PepsiCo Canada.
Geocachers are invited to visit SAIT’s new geocache and grab one of our exclusive trackables.
It’s treasure hunting meets travelling gnome. Those who geocache know the activity brings out their inner explorer, allowing them to discover new places abroad and close to home.
On Aug. 20, International Geocaching Day, SAIT will launch its first official geocache as part of its centennial celebrations. The cache will contain SAIT swag, trinkets to trade and a special gift for the FTF — the first person to find the cache!
Along with the new cache, 20 SAIT travel bugs will be released. Travel bugs (also known as trackables) are items meant to be taken and dropped off at new geocaches. Some come with special goals — tasks the geocacher is expected to complete while the travel bug is in their possession.
The SAIT bugs will be attached to a replica of a familiar landmark on campus and come with a special mission — snap selfies with the bug as it travels and post them to Twitter and/or Instagram with #SAIT100. The photos collected before April 2017 will become part of SAIT’s Centennial Photo Mosaic Installation.
Tim Fountain, lead of SAIT’s geocache project, hopes experienced geocachers and “neocachers” (new geocachers) alike will help carry the trackables around the world.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing where our travel bugs go. This is a great opportunity to not only get people exploring our campus, but introduce people around the world to SAIT and all it has to offer,” says Fountain.
How does Geocaching work?
Geocaching is a worldwide game for Global Positioning System (GPS) users. To start playing, you’ll need to use a GPS or download the Geocaching app to your phone, then create a free account with geocaching.com.
Once you’ve set up your profile, start searching for nearby geocaches which will appear as dots on a map. There are already more than two million geocaches to be found worldwide.
Geocaches come in many different sizes and shapes and finding them can be easy to very difficult.
“The difficulty level of SAIT’s geocache will be 1.5 out of 5, so it shouldn’t be too hard to access,” says Fountain.
The geocaches are created by participants of the game, but you don’t need to create a geocache to play. Once you find a cache, inside you’ll see a log-book and maybe some tradable knick-knacks. Sign the log-book, trade some swag if you choose, then log your find online in your app.
You might also find travel bugs inside a cache. When you find a bug, enter its unique tracking code within the app to let the travel bug owner know you have it. Then, drop the trackable off at another geocache in a different location — as near or far away as you’d like! You’ll log that in the app too, so the owner knows its new location.
Getting off the beaten path
SAIT employee Michelle Fernandes was introduced to geocaching in 2009 during a camping trip with some friends. She quickly realized it was a great way to get outside and explore. Now she tries to find at least one geocache everywhere she travels.
“It’s all about bringing you to places you’ve never gone before. I was geocaching in Hawaii and I got to see some amazing views that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been looking for the cache. It’s very easy to learn. Even my kids are into it now – they call it treasure hunting.”
Fernandes and her husband purchased their own trackable coin in 2010 and gave it a goal to travel to India, the Philippines, Germany and England — countries their families are from.
“It’s already been everywhere but India in the past six years.”
Fernandes, who works with SAIT’s Facilities Management team, will be helping to install the new SAIT geocache. She says while the cache will be the largest on SAIT campus, it won’t necessarily be easy to spot.
“It’s hidden in plain sight.”
Geocachers are encouraged to visit the SAIT cache often as one travel bug will be dropped into the geocache each week leading up to Oct. 16, when the remaining 10 will be released throughout the day.
The SAIT archives serve as a memory, keeping alive the stories of the Institute's journey through history. They are a link to the past, present and the future, and Karly Sawatzky, SAIT's Archivist, holds a privileged position as custodian of that collective memory.
“I became an archivist because I have a passion for history and an eye for detail. The papers, photographs, class notes and newspapers housed in our archives, as well as the artifacts, paint a detailed picture of the people who filled our classrooms and hallways.” Sawatzky, who has been SAIT’s Archivist for five years, says she’s often asked if she gets lonely being the only employee in the archives. “During our 100-year history, SAIT has had some VERY large personalities that keep me company – even from the records they left behind. I’m surrounded by the overwhelming enthusiasm and respect Fred Jorgenson (Principal 1969-84) had for his students, by the energy of Nyall Tweedle when he climbed the flag pole, or the contagious smiles of students at SAIT banquets and dances. We have an incredible history – of people, of lives lived, and of growth."
She says it’s important for SAIT to have archives to help preserve the past, and ensure the records of today are maintained for future generations; not only the institutional records, but the stories that shape what SAIT has become. “Without these windows into the past we couldn’t know what it looked and smelled like having classes under the Stampede Grandstand, what it was like for staff and students during the Great Depression, or the tricks students played on fellow students, instructors, and even the principal.”
Sawatzky will be sharing some of those curious stories discovered in the SAIT archives during guided walking tours as part of the centennial birthday on Oct. 16. Learn how SAIT began (hint, it all starts with a good old fashioned competition between Calgary and Edmonton), how the Institute survived the Great Depression, underwent a relocation during the Second World War, and even hosted a major musical act’s Canadian debut concert – by accident.
Guided campus tours will be starting from the SAIT library at 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm and 3:45pm on Oct. 16. Join us and follow our wonderful guides as they take you back into history.
Visit the centennial events page for a list of the exciting 100th birthday activities.
Answers to a historical crossword puzzle that included references to SAIT’s centennial were published in the Calgary Herald this past weekend. The giant crossword — originally posted in the Herald in July — was created by the Historical Society of Alberta. History buffs who answered the clues correctly and submitted the completed puzzle were eligible for prizes.
SAIT-related questions in the crossword included references to our buildings and facilities, athletic teams and the early days of our operation when we were known as PITA.
Review the answers and the list of prize winners below:
SAIT history buff? Complete this crossword puzzle for a chance to win prizes from the Calgary Historical Society.
SAIT's 100th anniversary was featured in a Calgary Herald crossword puzzle that commemorates Calgary's history. The puzzle, published Friday, July 22, was created by the Historical Society of Alberta to honour our centennial and the University of Calgary's golden anniversary.
SAIT-related questions in the crossword puzzle include references to our buildings and facilities, athletic teams, and the early days of our operation when we were known as PITA.
Think you have all the answers? Submit a completed puzzle to the Historical Society of Alberta and enter to win various prizes. Contest entry information is included in the puzzle.
We are less than 100 days away from turning 100, and SAIT is getting into celebration mode! This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment in SAIT’s history — don’t miss your chance to get involved. There’s a centennial event for everyone.
“We are celebrating 100 years of SAIT history,” says Cathy Downey, Centennial Director. “We have a history of incredible people who built this vibrant campus community, and we want students, alumni, staff and partners who continue to make SAIT great to celebrate with us. Centennial represents a pinnacle moment in our evolution and an exciting entry way to our future.”
Countdown is on
July 8, 2016 marked our official 100-day countdown to centennial, and we kicked off the occasion in style with two of our own representing SAIT at the Calgary Stampede Parade.
“This year’s parade happened to coincide with the 100th day to SAIT’s centennial,” says Downey. “It’s a great way to kick off our celebrations. Wayne King, CFO and Senior Vice President, and Gar Gar, President of SAITSA, rode in the parade to kick off our 100 to 100 countdown.”
One hundred lucky alumni cheered them on from a special viewing section along the route.
Birthday of the century
SAIT’s 100th birthday celebration is Oct. 16, 2016. The spectacular line-up includes unveiling the contents of a 50 year-old time capsule; a car, truck and helicopter show; a towering cake, live music, free lunch, fireworks and more. Make it a family affair, as there will be plenty of fun for people of all ages. We’ve got a few other surprises up our sleeves but you’ll have to show up to find out.
“Everyone’s invited,” says Downey. “This is going to be a celebration for the history books — you won’t want to miss it.”
Preparations for SAIT’s October centennial celebrations are in full swing, but it’s nice to note that our institution has always been keen on marking milestones. Former SAIT-ers had the foresight to bury time capsules on both the 50th and 75th anniversaries and, of course, we can hardly wait to uncover the mysteries that lurk inside.
The older of the two time capsules was put together in 1966 by SAIT’s Civil Service Association, an early version of the the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). Originally, the capsule was planted outside of the John Ware building, but as the campus expanded (and it really has over the last 50 years) it had to be moved to the hill south of the Senator Burns building. In 1966 Lester B. Pearson was the Prime Minister of Canada, Americans were protesting the Vietnam War, the Beatles were playing on the radio, and mini-skirts were the look of the day in women’s fashion — find out what the SAIT community believed was most important in 1966 at our Oct. 16 campus-wide public birthday celebration when the contents of that time capsule are finally revealed. Several members of the campus community from that era — including those who helped build the time capsule — have said they’re planning on attending to take a walk down memory lane.
The other capsule is from more recent history, but is still older than a many of SAIT’s current students. Buried outside of Senator Burns in 1991, the 75th anniversary time capsule was originally placed near Heritage Hall but had to be moved to a spot between John Ware and Senator Burns at a later date. That capsule will be opened at an event this September.
What will Calgarians in 100 years want to know about our life today?
For more details and to RSVP to our free October 16 public celebration visit sait.ca/100
The Bush family’s multi-generational connection spans 70 years and counting.
When Chane Bush first came to SAIT in 1957, Heritage Hall was the biggest building he’d seen in his entire life.
He remembers registration day vividly – the layers of imposing red-brown brick towering over the campus, hallways brimming with new students on the first day of school.
“It was a zoo,” Bush recalls. “I’d never been in such a big building in my life.”
After Grade 12, he moved to Calgary to enrol at SAIT, known then as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA), or Tech for short.
He chose to study Automated Services Technology, building on the mechanic skills he had honed keeping his family’s car in working order. “If I wanted to use the old car, there was always some fixing to be done.”
Like father, like son
In coming to PITA, Chane was following in the footsteps of his father, Vernon Bush. Family legend tells how, in the 1940s, Vernon was running a blacksmith shop without a license in McLaughlin. An inspector caught wind of his operation, fined him, and encouraged him to go to Calgary for training.
So, in 1948, Vernon graduated from PITA as a certified welder at the age of 47.
From left: Roy Volkmann (EET '80), Jerrod Jarocki Chaisson (Plumbing '14), Glenda Bush (CET '08), Chane Bush (AST '59), Joan Bush (SAIT nurse for 24 years), Greg Bush (Carpenter '92) , Julie Flemming (current student, Legal Assistant diploma program).
PITA was equally important in the life of Vernon’s son Chane Bush. After his first year at PITA, Chane was awarded the Calgary Motor Products scholarship for academic achievement. The company liked him so much, he was hired as a part-time mechanic while completing his second year, and then as a full-time employee after graduation.
Six years later, Chane was recruited as an instructor for SAIT’s automotive department.
“My life changed drastically,” he says. “I went from being a flat-rate technician to being an automotive instructor, a position I held for 30 years.” Chane was presented with the Ralph T. Scurfield Award of Excellence for Special Contribution and Achievement in 1987.
And Chane’s family connections with SAIT continued to grow when he married his high school sweetheart, Joan Elliott. Her father Alwyn Elliott attended the aeronautics program during the 1930s, until the tough times of the Great Depression required him to return to farming.
Joan in turn accepted a position as an occupational hazard nurse at SAIT soon after she and Chane were married. “She already had a working knowledge of the campus, and knew quite a few people there,” Chane says.
Two of Chane and Joan’s three children went on to graduate from SAIT and each has fond memories of their time on campus.
“It always felt very homey,” says son Greg Bush, who graduated from SAIT’s Carpentry Apprentice program in 1992.
Glenda Bush graduated from the Chemical Engineering Technology program in 2008.
“We’re definitely a SAIT family,” Glenda says, “and it seems to be continuing.” Roy Volkmann, her husband, graduated from SAIT in 1980 as an electrical engineer, and their children both have significant others with SAIT connections.
Looking back, moving forward
Even though each member of the family has gone on their own journey, they keep coming back to SAIT. Chane is proud that his children grew up knowing campus like a second home even before they attended SAIT and that the Institute went on to play a large part in their success. He’s happy to see them make their own memories with a community so close to his heart.
With SAIT’s 100th birthday coming up in October, Chane says his family is excited for the opportunity to celebrate the past, present and future with the school that has grown alongside them.
“Tech has been a big part of my life,” Chane says. In his education, career and family, the Institute has been instrumental in building memories that Chane will keep forever.
“SAIT has been very good to us.”
This year’s convocation celebrates a new generation of alumni, many with family ties to this school. Is SAIT a part of your family tree? Share your story with us!
Article written by Jolisa Tweedie
SAIT's party of the century is coming. Are you ready?
When the time comes to celebrate a 100-year milestone, excitement is an understatement — everyone wants to play a part.
Here are the top five ways to make your mark on this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
1. Attend the 100th Birthday Party
The spectacular lineup includes the opening of a 50 year-old time capsule; a car, truck and helicopter show; a towering cake, live music, free BBQ, fireworks and more. Make it a family affair, as there will be plenty of fun for people of all ages. We've got a few other tricks up our sleeves but you'll have to show up to find out. Free and open to the public. Register here.
2. Plug your memories into the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic
Were you there in 1966 when SAIT celebrated its jubilee? Maybe you've discovered one of those "I can't believe you wore that" photos from your dad's 1964 frosh week? Snapped a selfie at convocation? This is your chance to add your memorable moments ― as well as those of your parents and grandparents and great grandparents ― to the centennial photo mosaic, which will become a permanent installation at SAIT's main campus.
Upload your photos to the photo mosaic or tag #SAIT100 on Instagram and Twitter to make your SAIT memories a permanent part of history.
3. Give back to the community
The Centennial 100 Projects Project is a call to alumni to donate time and talent to the needs around us ― Lead a project, get your workplace involved or join a SAIT-led project.
Browse completed projects for inspiration.
4. Volunteer for our celebration of the century
Speaking of volunteering, we're now in the process of rounding up a team of over 400 people to help make our birthday celebrations unforgettable. If you like to be behind the scenes, centennial needs you.
No seriously, we need your help! Sign up to volunteer.
5. Share your #SAITstory
SAIT is collecting and sharing our community stories in celebration of all the different lives and people who make up what SAIT is today. Whether you're a long-time employee, an alumni, apprentice, current student, someone who walks to campus for the skyline view, or anything in between, tell us your story.
Jona Way (Tourism Administration ’77) learned the value of volunteering by example, watching her grandmother give her time to community organizations into her 80s. It’s a lesson she hopes her students and coworkers learn first-hand from her as an instructor in SAIT’s Travel and Tourism program.
“You can’t ask them to volunteer for events if you’re not willing to go out and volunteer yourself,” she says.
Volunteering for SAIT events lets Jona meet coworkers that she wouldn’t normally have access to. As a lifelong volunteer, Jona and her husband were some of the first to sign up to donate their time to the SAIT centennial events. She continues to roll up her sleeves and volunteer when the call goes out but she’s especially looking forward to pitching in at centennial events.
“We’ll volunteer, but we’re also excited to come with our kids and grandkids to enjoy the birthday festivities.”
Cathy Downey, Centennial Project Director, says more than 400 volunteers will be needed to help put on the birthday celebrations.
“We’re looking to our staff, students and alumni to join in and make these events spectacular. It’s going to be an amazing time to be at SAIT, and there are many exciting volunteer opportunities for the taking.”
Volunteers can get involved with guest relations, be food and beverage attendants, parking directors, family activity facilitators and much more. By signing up early, volunteers get first pick for the roles they want to fill.
“We’re keeping volunteer shifts short so they can have fun and take part in the events too,” says Cathy. “They can come down and volunteer in the afternoon, then stay and enjoy the evening show and fireworks, or vice versa. There will be something for everyone.”
Jona encourages anyone who is sitting on the fence about volunteering during centennial to just go ahead and do it.
“Some people think they don’t have anything to give, but I think everyone has something to give.”
Volunteering is easy, register today!
There has been an incredible response to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) 100 Projects project to celebrate the post-secondary’s centennial.
While there are some great projects already in the works, SAIT alumni still have plenty of time to help reach 100 projects for 100 years of SAIT.
“It’s been really exciting to see all of the unique and innovative project proposals brought forward since the launch ― they’ve been nothing short of impressive,” says Cathy Downey, SAIT’s Centennial Project Director.
Projects range from indigenous awareness initiatives to student mentorship opportunities and mental health events. Those already complete include the SAIT Dental Clinic SMILES Clinic for vulnerable populations, making dinners for sick children and their families, supporting homeless members of our community with care packages, among others.
Get involved with 100 Projects
Downey says grads who are already giving back to their own community can easily participate.
“I know many of our alumni are longtime volunteers or already donate time to charitable projects and initiatives, both on and off campus. We want to recognize these efforts ― they all count as a 100 Projects project.”
To participate in 100 Projects, alumni can lead their own charitable project, champion a project in their workplace or to join a SAIT-led project. All completed projects will be highlighted on the centennial website.
“This community has a lot of heart, and I am very confident we will meet and surpass 100 projects,” Downey says. “Let’s keep the momentum going.”
It’s been 100 years since women won the right to vote in Alberta. Since then women have been making strides and breaking down barriers, including here at SAIT. Many women are entering, and succeeding, in trades and technology industries traditionally dominated by men.
That’s why members of Women of Applied Research and Innovation Services (WARIS) at SAIT held their first mentorship event to encourage female involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as trades.
Times have changed
“We want to create a bridge to help connect students with people in the industry, alumni, and staff to help support each other, to mentor, and to inspire,” says Sherry Yang, a SAIT alumna (ICT ’12) and current software developer with the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Application Development Lab (RADlab), part of SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS).
The event ― part of the SAIT centennial 100 Projects project ― welcomed approximately 50 guests to hear from inspiring women speakers who are part of SAIT’s Women in Technology and Trade (WITT), Ladies Learning Code, Chic Geek, and more.
Yang says when she was a student she didn’t feel there was as much support for women training in her field, and she understands how valuable events like this are.
“If someone else is in the same boat as I am, that’s going to be my inspiration to go on,” Yang says.
Looking back to look ahead
Eileen Jewell (nee Dahr), alumna (Drafting ’61) and first woman instructor in the Drafting department (’76-’93), says at the time she was teaching it was challenging to be the only woman. She remembers wondering if she would fit in.
“The male students could be a little leery when they saw a woman teaching, but I proved myself and I never had any negative issues being a female.”
Although it can still be daunting for women, things have evolved since Jewell’s time.
Alexandria Evans, a second year Diesel Equipment Technician student in SAIT’s School of Transportation, says things are changing.
“It’s not rare to find women in my trade. Women are more career-oriented now and if you like something, go for it.”
Jewell echoes this sentiment.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can’t do. There’s no reason why women can’t succeed. They just need to take the challenge and go for it!”
Hundreds of thousands of human stories have passed through SAIT corridors throughout its 100 years, each impacting where we've come from and who we are today.
Our stories are SAIT's story.
What's your #SAITstory? Whether you're a student, alumni, partner, supporter, staff and faculty, retiree or a family member, we want to hear from you! Help us share little bits and pieces of our history by telling us what led you here, how your SAIT experience has shaped you or your journey. Or tell us if you know someone else who deserves to be recognized for their contribution to SAIT.
SAIT has a new brand, and with it ― drum roll, please ― a new logo, too! It’s been 18 years in the making since SAIT last rebranded. Now, heading straight into our second century, we’re ready for a fresh look.
Throughout the years, SAIT's brand has seen many iterations, but the institute's focus on providing hands-on knowledge for real-world results continues to drive its identity and inform its branding and logo.
Take a look back in time to see how our identity and appearance has changed over time:
1916: PITA's insignia
In 1916, PITA was a little school with big, and attainable, dreams. Its insignia features three words — progress, precision and perseverance — which spoke to its innovative course offerings as well as its role in retraining veterans so that they could continue to persevere and move forward in their civilian lives.
1970: SAIT's first logo
Though PITA became SAIT on Dec. 24, 1960, SAIT didn't get its first logo until 1970. The sweeping "S" of the first design features four bars that represented the four main areas of programing — apprenticeship trades, engineering technologies, applied arts and international education. The line surrounding the SAIT graphic was meant to emphasize the idea of school unity.
1998: SAIT's logo gets a face-lift
In 1998, the long-standing "S" logo was refreshed with a design that became the foundation for SAIT's brand imagery through to today. The SAIT name is enveloped with dual curves representing pride in tradition while looking towards the future. In this logo, the words "Building Careers, Building Business" appear underneath SAIT's name. The tagline is significant of the converging paths of career and business in the continuum of lifelong learning.
2002: Dropping the tagline
In 2002, SAIT removed the tagline from its logo and introduced its full written name — Southern Alberta Institute of Technology — beside the 1998 design. Colours were also brightened and a trademark was added.
2005: Becoming a polytechnic
In 2005, SAIT added "Polytechnic" to its name. The position of Polytechnic under the SAIT name harkens back to its earliest identity and represents the school's devotion to hands-on instruction in technical arts and applied sciences — ranging from trades to technology studies.
2008: Building on tradition
In 2008, a new tagline was introduced. In this design, the SAIT name, dual curves, and Polytechnic branding is all still there, but the logo is surrounded by a red box with the phrase, "Further your passion." The updated look was the result of a goal to gain a new understanding of SAIT's brand essence — that journey meant initiating conversations and listening to what people had to say about SAIT.
In all those conversations, one word kept coming up — passion. The passion to learn, the passion for student success and the passion for careers made possible by a SAIT education —SAIT is the place to further your passion. Though the tagline served SAIT well, it was retired in July 2014 to make way for new branding.
2016: A reflection of who we are and where we are heading
In SAIT's 100th year, the institution's brand has evolved to reflect a new vision for its second century.
The emblem in the SAIT logo is called the Catalyst — an activator of change. SAIT's symbol is forged by five s-shaped connectors representing the people and relationships that define us:
- faculty and staff
- employers and partners
- the diverse communities we serve
As the connectors weave together, they create a series of interlocking infinity symbols reflecting the breadth of our offerings and the infinite opportunities SAIT enables.
The star located at the heart of our Catalyst expresses our passion for excellence, as professionals and as a community.
SAIT's international outlook and global collaborations are echoed in the spherical shape of our symbol.
Be part of SAIT history — submit your photo to the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic.
SAIT is on a mission to collect 10,000 images for one giant photo mosaic, and we need your help. From SAIT memories to campus selfies — if you have a connection to SAIT, we want your face.
The #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic is already filling up with community moments — as more photos are submitted to the mosaic, a top-secret image will begin revealing itself. The final physical mosaic will be permanently installed in the Irene Lewis Atrium on SAIT’s main campus.
Find out what advice the SAIT legend has on life, love, history and why he's determined to live to 111.
Centenarian Clarence Hollingworth is a SAIT rock star — he watched the cornerstone being laid for Heritage Hall, was a student and instructor, and most recently received an honorary SAIT degree.
Although the years have worn down his height, his charisma certainly makes up for it. It only takes a few moments to be captivated by his gratitude and zest for life.
'I've been lucky,' he says.
On the eve of his 101st birthday, SAIT sat down with Hollingworth to ask him questions we gathered from the SAIT community . Here's what he had to say:
What is your idea of a life well-lived? How did you achieve it?
I enjoyed virtually everything I did, including going to school … Having good friends, a good social life and eventually marriage. In my case, I've been exceptionally lucky — I've had all of these things. Now that I'm 101 and still in good health, I can relax and continue to have a real good life. That's if I stay out of mischief, dammit.
You were married 43 years before your beautiful wife Joan passed away. What is your secret to a long and happy marriage?
Joan and I didn't get into heated arguments or use bad language towards one another and we had a nice circle of friends. I always helped around the house, even doing laundry if I was available ― you know, not at work or doing yard work, etc. We made a good team all our lives. We always had the time for movies and dancing.
Who had the greatest impact on your life?
My wife, Joan.
Who is your superhero?
I have two ― Jack Cornwell, and Sir Winston Churchill.
If you could go back in time and relive one year of your life, what year would it be?
What is the greatest invention you've ever seen?
What world events had the most impact on you?
There were two. The great flu epidemic at the end of First World War. It killed more than 20 million people worldwide.
The death camps and gas chambers of the Second World War associated with the rise in power of the Nazi party.
What was your favourite TV show growing up?
Amos and Andy and Little House on the Prairie. But TV didn't come to Calgary until 1958, and I was already grown up ― I was 43!
Clarence talks about the time he lived in Hollywood and why he has a film collection of 3,000 DVDs and VHS
You're one year older than SAIT! As we near 100, what would be your advice for achieving a successful 100th year on earth?
Before I answer, I'll say that old age and success are much like riding a bicycle ― you've got to keep pedaling or you'll fall. Pun intended. So keep breathing, keep learning, keep pedaling and you will have success. You may even live to be 101.
Clarence shares his plans to live until 111
SAIT's 100th birthday cake will be a team effort - and baker Rose Warden wants your input.
One hundred years warrant a cake of spectacular proportions, and Rose Warden — accomplished cake decorator, SAIT alumna and current SAIT instructor — is ready to create a fitting sugary tribute for SAIT's 100th birthday party.
Warden will be working with a team of students, fellow instructors and volunteers will spend hundreds of hours designing, preparing, baking and assembling the scrumptious masterpiece.
In addition to her team, Warden wants design input from the SAIT community.
"This is not just marking a milestone for an institution," Warden explains. "This is 100 years' worth of people's efforts and ideas. We want the cake to represent that — the ideas of a community."
To see more of Warden's work, visit her blog.
On top of North Hill on Jan. 18, 1921, a shovel struck the earth and construction on Heritage Hall was underway.
It was a long time in the making — PITA (Provincial Institute of Technology and Art) had been operating since 1916 in the temporary location of the Colonel James Walker School. The ground breaking brought with it a promise of progress and evolution for the school and its mandate of applied education.
Today, SAIT’s landmark stands tall 95 years after its ground breaking and its design continues to influence the look of the modern campus.
The origins of a landmark
Heritage Hall stands today as a national historic site and its Collegiate Gothic style lends an elegant focal point to campus. Richard Palin Blakey was appointed as the Alberta provincial architect in 1911 and, as PITA was a government institute, he took the helm in designing the school’s new home. Blakey described his initial design as:
“A three story modern structure of brick with stone trimming having two wings, one for the Normal School and the other for technology, each to accommodate 200 students.”
Southern Alberta Gothic
Construction on Heritage Hall was completed in 1922 and doors opened to students in the fall of that year. The red brick and sandstone building loomed large on the hill, overlooking the city and claiming its place as a local landmark. Heritage Hall was unique in its design for Calgary in the early 1920s. Its classic Collegiate Gothic look — featuring twin towers with parapets, gothic arches, an auditorium with a minstrel gallery, terrazzo flooring and gargoyle stone workings — was distinctive.
In the 1950s, the Thomas Riley and John Ware buildings took their place on campus, followed by the E.H. Crandell and Senator Burns buildings in the 1960s. As PITA became SAIT in 1960, growth accelerated. In fact, it’s never stopped.
One of the most recent additions to campus, the Trades and Technology Complex (TTC), is thoroughly modern in its aesthetics, but Wayne King, CFO and Senior Vice President who led the project says the resonance of Heritage Hall can still be felt in its design.
“We call Heritage Hall the Queen. The goal was not to replicate it, but to use it as inspiration,” says King. “The way you dress up a building to make it look good is different now than it was in 1921.”
The TTC doesn’t feature any stone gargoyles, but some of the colours and finishings do reflect the 1922 building.
“They used terra cotta as a brick colour — that was influenced by Heritage Hall,” says Michelle Fernandez, Planning and Design Coordinator with Facilities Management.
Building a legacy
Whether or not Richard Blakey knew it at the time, he was constructing a legacy when he designed Heritage Hall. His hand-drawn elevations would be realized into the brick and sandstone setting for years of educational innovation. The building itself became a landmark, sitting high on the hill and marshaling learners into the future.
“We are very fortunate to have a building as iconic as Heritage Hall,” says King.
The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA) ―now SAIT ― began in the tumultuous years of the Great War. When the school opened in 1916, soldiers and nurses were bravely crossing the sea to fight for freedom. Mothers sent their sons to war with a kiss and a prayer. Wives heard their husbands' voices in letters hastily scrawled in the trenches.
During the war years, everyone pulled together and did their part ― including PITA. The new institute was managed by the Military Hospitals Commission and the provincial government, and it soon became the training ground for veterans re-entering civilian life. On Oct. 16, 1916 PITA's first classes began with six veterans in the Motor Mechanics Program.
The school's relationship with veterans grew. Many of those returning from the war needed to be re-trained so they could find work. By March 1918, 246 veterans were enrolled at PITA.
The institute's way of doing things attracted international attention. PITA's efforts at re-training veterans were so progressive and effective that a group of American educators visited the campus in 1918 to observe the institute's methods in order to duplicate the system in their own schools. Today, SAIT still attracts the attention of international post-secondary institutions whose leaders come to observe how the school delivers innovative, hands-on education.
Second World War
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, skilled workers were in very high demand. The War Emergency Training Program and the Commonwealth Air Training Plan were established to help meet those needs — and PITA was to play a big role in training those workers.
On Sept. 1, 1940 PITA's buildings were transformed into the Royal Canadian Air Force Number 2 Wireless Training School to train air crew who were to serve as wireless operators in bombers. Regular PITA classes were relocated to various locations around Calgary, including under the Calgary Stampede grandstand.
Stories of a student
Clarence Hollingworth, PITA alumnus, retired instructor, 2014 honorary degree recipient and veteran, credits the relationships he made while attending the school's Industrial Electricity program with helping him secure a good position in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.
Hollingworth was in the navy's recruitment line with another PITA alumnus when he recognized a familiar face. It was E.W. Wood — a PITA instructor who later went on the serve as the principal from 1952 to 1962.
"When we faced him, he said ‘I know you,' says Hollingworth. "We had been students of his at PITA."
"(Wood) said, ‘What are your signing up for?' We both said electrical. He says, ‘You don't want electrical. What you want is the ASDIC course."
The ASDIC course was the Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee, and Hollingworth and his friend took the advice.
"So we signed up for ASDIC," says Hollingworth. "Boy, it was the best move we ever made."
After serving two and half years in the Royal Canadian Navy, Hollingworth returned to Calgary in 1946 and put his PITA training to good use as an electrician. In early 1951, he was invited to be an instructor in PITA's electrical department. He remained at the school, seeing it transform from PITA to SAIT, for 28 years before retiring in 1980.
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.
Calgary’s Inglewood community has been named Canada’s Greatest Neighbourhood by the Canadian Institute of Planners. Inglewood holds another distinction: nearly 100 years ago, it was home to SAIT’s original campus.
In 1916, the provincial government agreed to fund a technical institute in Calgary, and the municipal government agreed to provide a temporary location in Colonel James Walker School (1921 – 9 Ave. S.E.) and in an adjacent fire and police station.
Extensive renovations were undertaken in the school and in the station, where the lower level was converted into a machine shop. The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, as SAIT was originally known, officially opened its doors on October 16, 1916, with programs in motor mechanics and metal working — and with 11 students.
By 1922, construction was completed on a permanent home for the school — a three storey red brick and sandstone building on the north hill — and classes were moved there that fall.
In the mid-1920s when this photo was taken, the Industrial Dressmaking and Millinery Program was in its infancy at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (SAIT’s first incarnation). Dressmaking classes were taught on the second floor, in the east wing of Heritage Hall and total expenses, including books, tuition and a recoverable equipment deposit, cost between and per semester for the two-year program.
Post-secondary tuition has changed radically since this time, but it’s clear from this excerpt from the program calendar of the day that SAIT’s focus on training industry-ready grads has not. “The object of this course is to train girls not only for the occupations of dressmaking and millinery, but also to act as capable sales ladies... The girls would command good positions in the larger stores of our cities, and would also be qualified to take charge of ladies’ departments in a general store in any of the towns throughout our province. This training, coupled with trade experience, should qualify them to become capable buyers.”
Owasina Hall, SAIT Polytechnic's first residential building, is being demolished.
Tarps will soon be installed around the upper floors of the 22-story building, which will be dismantled starting from the top, with rubble sent down elevator shafts.
The approach may not be as cinematic as an implosion, but Dave Sommerfeld, Project Superintendent, says it's the best process for the job.
"This method of demolition is much safer for the public and for the people doing the work," says Sommerfeld.
The brick-by-brick tear-down of all 1.5 million square feet will not pose any safety risks to those on or around campus and it allows bricks from Owasina to be repurposed for the portal running through SAIT's Thomas Riley building. Most other materials from the hall will also find new life through recycling.
Owasina has been a SAIT landmark for 43 years, though it hasn't functioned as a residence since closing in 2006.
In recent years the building has served as a frequent tactical training ground for Calgary Police Services-with its significant height offering an excellent location for rappelling drills.
One era ends, another begins
Saying goodbye to Owasina opens the doors for a new residence planned for the space currently occupied by a nearby parking lot. Boris Dragicevic, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management, says the new hall will give the institute some room for further growth.
"We've hit nearly 16,000 students. There's a 10% demand on campus housing, so to serve 20,000 we need to have 800 new beds," says Dragicevic. "The new residence will give us that and create vitality and an even stronger sense of community on campus."
An RFP for the design and build of the new residence facility will go out by the end of the year, and that will help establish a completion date for the project.
Two new parking solutions are also in the works. A surface lot will take the place of Owasina Hall and a new parking garage will be built on what is currently a large surface lot on the south west corner of campus. The new garage will add 500 stalls to campus and help accommodate students living in the new residence hall.
When SAIT opened its doors in 1916, it had a tiny Inglewood campus, a different name — the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art — and 11 students. Airplanes were in their infancy and computers weren’t even on the radar. Actually, radar hadn’t been invented yet, either.
An incredible amount of innovation happened in the 20th century and SAIT was in lockstep with those advances as each decade passed, offering applied learning that changed lives and built careers.
It’s part of the reason why the Institute is so excited about this historic milestone — one that very few in Western Canada have had the chance to celebrate. But marking the 100-year anniversary is about far more than hosting a party. Planning for the centennial celebrations began more than a year ago and Catherine Downey was recently brought in on an extended contract to lead the centennial initiative. She will be working to bring together SAIT’s many constituents from the city, the province, the country and the world: alumni, students, faculty, employees, donors, industry and community partners, and friends.
“SAIT’s second century wouldn’t be possible without the many forward-thinking people who have contributed to its success in its first 100 years. Rather than events and celebrations characterized by nostalgia, we want to show people what they’ve helped build, with programming that honours milestones of the past as stepping stones to the future,” says Brian Bowman, SAIT’s Director of Alumni and Development. “Cathy is an experienced senior leader, a strategic planner and a digital media authority, and her arrival signals the beginning of the planning and implementation phase — a critical part of the project.”
As someone who has created many strategic plans and teaches on the subject, Downey is already hard at work gathering information and beginning to create a framework for the centennial’s programs.
She began the process by learning more about what SAIT has to offer. “I’m amazed by the incredible depth and breadth of SAIT’s offerings. I’ve already observed a live simulation of a hospital emergency room, toured world-class labs and discovered that the School of Hospitality and Tourism has its own bee colony. And that’s really just a taste of what there is to know.”
While the project is still in its infancy, Downey says that the opportunities to collaborate, share stories and get involved will be numerous.
“There is still much work to do and many exciting programs to plan, but one thing that will definitely be part of the centennial — and something I’m excited about — is cracking open the time capsule that has a plaque saying it contains ‘greetings to those who will celebrate the centennial in the year 2016,’” says Downey. ”I (not so secretly) hope that in 2116 everyone planning the 200th anniversary will be thinking, ‘I hope we can do this half as well as they did it in 2016.’”