Sixteen-month birthday party underway for MRU
by Catherine Szabo
After three years of planning, Mount Royal University’s Centennial Committee has organized 16 months of events to mark 100 years of learning. “The feeling we got [from the Mount Royal community] was to leave a legacy — not just have all of these big splashy celebrations that were forgotten the next day,” said Lara Hamnett, centennial events strategist.
She listed centennial scholarships, the year-long mural mosaic project displayed at East Gate and the planting of 100 trees on campus as some of these long-term events. The kick-off to the centennial is planned for Sept. 20, when MRU president Dave Marshall will make a centennial address. The university’s celebratory beer, Royal 100, will also make its debut that day in the MRU beer tent at Wild Rose Brewery.
“You want to do [this event] well,” Hamnett said. “You only have one chance — you only turn 100 once.” The University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan are other post-secondary institutions that have recently seen their 100th birthday come and go, and co-ordinators there were contacted for information and ideas.
“But [Mount Royal] is a different community and a different place,” Hamnett said. “Mount Royal has always done things a little different and we wanted to make sure what we did spoke to what we were about.”
An archive project has been launched, and Hamnett recalled two tidbits in particular that stuck with her: at one time women weren’t allowed to wear red on campus — it was considered too promiscuous — and in 1913, Mount Royal had one of the first women’s hockey teams, thanks to Emily Kerby, wife of George Kerby, the school’s first principal.
“What’s amazing in 100 years — I think the most surprising thing — is that not a lot has changed in that the core at Mount Royal is still the same,” Hamnett said, listing such examples as the small class sizes, student-professor relationships and courses responsive to community needs.
For a partial calendar of centennial events in September, see page 11.