UNBSJ is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, marking a huge accomplishment and major milestone for the Tucker Park campus.
On Thursday, Sep. 11, the university held a 50th Anniversary Kick-Off celebration that began at noon in the quad.
The Alumni Association and the UNB-SRC rented a tent, which they sent up in the quad, to host the 50th Anniversary Kick-Off and the First Class Bash that would happen later in the week.
The 50th anniversary celebration was open to staff, faculty, current students, alumni, and guests.
The turnout for UNBSJ’s 50th celebration was hardly a disappointment, with many past and present students in attendance.
Guests recounted their experiences at the campus and mingled, reminiscing on what has been accomplished over the university’s 50 years. Some alumni in attendance were students from UNBSJ’s first ever classes, and remember its construction way back in 1964.
UNB’s President Eddy Campbell was pleased with the large crowd, praising the “absolutely fabulous turnout” and stating that, “it was great to see so many happy faces.”
With cake, live music, balloons, and, of course, party guests, the event was most definitely a celebration. As Dr. Eddy Campbell so aptly stated, “It really is a birthday party.”
The main attraction for the event was the band “Ivory Tower,” consisting of professors Cheryl Fury, Dann Downes and David Flagel, as well as Grant Heckman from UNBSJ’s Writing Centre and the university’s VP Robert MacKinnon on drums. Students eagerly surrounded the stage to watch some of their favourite professors perform.
For Ashely Stoneham, a second year student at UNBSJ, the professors’ performance was the highlight of the event. She praised the live music, stating, “It’s great to see the teachers rocking out in their band, and everyone having such a good time.” In terms of the university in the future, Stoneham hopes that UNBSJ “will keep growing and expanding.”
Kennedy Cosman, a second year BA student at UNBSJ, is similarly hopeful for the campus’ future. She believes that 50 years from now “the campus will grow and internationally will expand.”
When asked if she was enjoying the kick-off event, Cosman said, “I’m really enjoying this event.” “It’s great to see that we recognize that UNBSJ has lasted for 50 years,” she elaborated, emphasizing her pleasure that people are “recognizing the students and alumni” as well.
When asked what UNBSJ will look like at their 100th anniversary celebration, alumni Eric Marks states that, “Our quad will still be beautiful. There will be at least another five buildings, and we will be moving towards a student population of closer to 3,000. It will be a very international campus, as it already is.”
Marks also commented on the changes to the UNBSJ campus since 1992. He explained, “We’ve seen the Irving building go up, the Hans W. Klohn Commons go up. We’ve seen the internationalization of the campus, and more respect from the board of governors in Fredericton. And we’ve seen a lot more maturity among students, faculty, and alumni and how they view the campus”.
For alumni Erin Caines, UNBSJ has always been a part of her family. Both of Caines’ parents attended the university in previous years. When it came time for Caines to choose a university, UNBSJ was the obvious choice. She states, “I always knew. Both of my parents went here…and UNB Saint John was always in our family, and was always talked about. So when I had to decide on what university to go to, it was just always in my mind.”
When asked about the event itself, Caines said, “I think it’s great! It’s so nice to see so many students out, and it’s so great that there’s so many alumni here…it’s a really positive vibe, and a happy vibe, which is great.”
Joanna Everitt, UNBSJ’s Dean of Arts, said the following about the event, “I think it’s wonderful to see people here who have had a real connection with UNBSJ over its 50 year history.” She elaborates, “I’ve seen lots of old students, former faculty, a minister, there’s people who are really connected and put a lot of energy and love into this institution.”
UNBSJ’s 50th Anniversary Kick-Off event allowed past and present students, staff, faculty, and guests to come together and revel at the beauty and success of the Tucker Park campus.