Royal 100: MRU reaches century mark
by Bryan Weismiller
Mount Royal may be one of Alberta’s oldest universities, but it still knows how to throw one hell of a birthday party.
The 100-year celebration featured pond skating, road hockey, ice sculpture carving, live music and fireworks.
Taking a break from the action, a large crowd packed Ross Glen Hall to see mayor Naheed Nenshi officially proclaim Mount Royal University to be 100 years old on Dec. 16, 2010.
“How amazing it is to be here on such a historic day,” Nenshi said, addressing the crowd. “I’ve never been prouder to say I am Mount Royal.”
Other guest speakers included Mount Royal Students’ Association president Robert Jones, Calgary Centre MP Lee Richardson, Premier Ed Stelmach and Mount Royal president Dave Marshall. However, it was Ruben Nelson, a former student and the 1957 valedictorian, who may have delivered the most memorable speech.
“As a 21st century university, MRU need not follow the path of any other,” Nelson said. “It can walk to its own beat, as it’s always done, and cut its own swath.
“The deepest wish I have for those of us who are gathered here is that we have the wit, the imagination and the courage that was held by those who founded this place 100 years ago.”
Several speakers commented on how the institution has grown since 1910, but Mount Royal’s early years were obviously not forgotten. Guests were greeted by characters who dressed and acted like they were from the 1900’s.
Even Dave Marshall participated, dressing as Rev. Dr. George Kerby, the school’s founding principal.
“Who knows what the next 100 years will hold,” Marshall said.
Winter party transforms MRU campus:
Lincoln Park was buzzing with activity as events were held all over the campus. Despite frigid temperatures, many people still turned out to partake in the centennial celebrations.
A series of street hockey games were held in front of the East Gate entrance. The main event featured two celebrity teams going head-to-head. Led by Ruben Nelson and Calgary Stampeder Dimitri Tsoumpas, Team 1 narrowly beat out Team 2 by a final score of 4-3.
Other participants included Tsoumpas’ Stampeder teammates Randy Chevrier and Tim O’Neill, as well as Carla MacLeod, two-time Olympic gold medalist.
A heated tent was set-up nearby to help players and spectators escape the cold. Mount Royal alumni, The Brian Johnstone Quartet, played smooth-jazz inside of the tent and throughout the formal ceremony in Ross Glen Hall.
“Today was fantastic,” said saxophonist Brian Johnstone. “It was great to see mayor Nenshi, Premier Stelmach and Lee Richardson all up on the same stage.
“I’m really glad that we were asked to play and be a part of it.”
Party-goers were also invited to skate on the campus’ frozen-over pond. Nursing students Hannah Clarke and Rebekah Green were some of the few who were brave enough to strap-on skates and take a few laps.
“The ice was a little bumpy, but it wasn’t all that bad,” Clarke said. “It was just nice to pull out my skates again.”
Elsewhere, Pascal Hinni was happy to be carving ice for another purpose– art. Hinni, a professional ice sculptor, used a chainsaw to cut through several large ice blocks to create his frozen sculptures.
Hinni’s centerpiece featured a large block with the number 100 cut out of it. Pictures and flowers were also frozen in blocks and incorporated in the final piece.
“It’s nice to take a block of ice and shape it into something and then see the end result,” Hinni said. “It seems like people like it, so that’s pretty good.”
The event concluded with a fireworks display on Convocation Lawn, near the East Gate Entrance.
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