A summer summary
Catch up on the campus news you missed
The Bella is on her way
April 26 was a good day for Calgary musicians and music-lovers when Mount Royal University broke ground on the new music conservatory building with an official ceremony.
The facility will include more teaching and ensemble studios, as well as an early childhood instructional suite and the 750-seat Bella Concert Hall.
“I think the new building is going to be inspiring,” said Jennifer Orr, speech arts and drama program co-ordinator. “It’s going to be a real opportunity to dig in and make our programs thrive.”
Of the $73 million earmarked for the project, $20 million was donated by the Taylor family — the single largest donation in the school’s history — and the concert hall at the heart of the conservatory will be named the Bella in honour of the family’s matriarch, Mary Belle Taylor.
Another $10 million came from the City of Calgary, which Mayor Naheed Nenshi said was the first time the city has invested in a post-secondary campus.
“What makes a community successful is its ability to invest in the things that make life worth living,” Nenshi said during the April ceremony. “And we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a thriving arts sector is important for that.”
Dave Marshall, then-president of Mount Royal, pointed out the enduring history of music education at the university.
He also emphasized the special position that the conservatory holds.
“It’s the largest institution of its kind in Canada,” Marshall said, addressing the crowd in Ross Glen Hall. “It’s a leader in performing arts. A leader in culture. A leader in music.”
MRU rolls through Stampede 2011
Mount Royal University whooped it up with the cowboys during this year’s Stampede festivities.
The school had three floats in the Stampede Parade to round out their centennial celebrations.
The floats were accompanied by 100 parade participants, who were selected by lottery from the almost 200 people who volunteered to join the fun.
The three floats — displaying a globe, a 100-year birthday cake with the Cougars’ mascot Calvin as the topper and a gigantic paper airplane — were the inspiration of a 16-person parade committee comprised of faculty, staff and students.
The committee was responsible for everything from the float themes to the choreography and finding flatbeds big enough to handle the massive floats.
Mount Royal student Jenna Lambert was also crowned the 2011 Stampede Queen.
Mount Royal has been represented in the Stampede royalty every year since 2002, with the excpetion of 2008 when there wasn’t a selection.
It was a historic year for the Stampede parade with a record number of attendees, an estimated 425,000 people lining the streets.
People started lining up the night before to catch a glimpse of the main attraction — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Will and Kate.
Also, the Man in Motion Rick Hansen acted as the parade marshal, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his world tour.
The Lib’s out The Hub’s in
Liberty Lounge regulars were forced to bid the old watering hole a tender goodbye at the end of last semester.
The campus pub will be reopening on Sept. 12 with a completely new look, new menu and new name — The Hub.
“The students’ association itself has been referred to as the hub of campus life ever since I’ve been a part of it, so the name completely made sense to me,” said Tiffany Riddell, bar manager.
The Students’ Association of Mount Royal University chose the new moniker from three suggestions stemming from a naming contest: The Link, The Lib and The Hub.
Meghan Melnyk, students’ association president, said The Link was eliminated because there were some negative nicknames that came along with it.
She said they ultimately decided on The Hub because they wanted the new name to reflect the new atmosphere.
“The Lib has been a staple, but it was a bar,” Melnyk said. “A lot of students really loved it, but it was also part of Mount Royal College and there was no special connotation to the name Liberty Lounge except for what we made it.
“With The Hub we wanted something fresh and new. We just wanted something really inviting and the new name goes with that.”
It’s also handy to have a name that lends itself so well to rhymes and puns.
For example, there’s new drink that should bring back some sweet childhood memories.
“One of the drinks has bubblegum vodka in it,” Riddell said. “It’s called the Hubbalicious.”
Doc checks in to MRU
This summer Mount Royal University passed yet another milestone when the school’s eighth president Dave Marshall passed the leadership to David Docherty.
Docherty helped the Calgary Vipers kick off their game against the Lake County Fielders by throwing out the first pitch, just days before he took on his new role as president on Aug. 1.
Docherty’s passion for baseball is matched by his enthusiasm for post-secondary education. Although he’s eager to dig into work at Mount Royal, he said his first order of business will be to meet everyone and listen to what they have to say.
“I’m someone who is very passionate, I really am. I think that no one can question my passion for post-secondary education,” Docherty said. “I’m also someone who has fortunately been in a number of different roles at (Wilfrid) Laurier, which has allowed me to understand the importance of everybody’s contribution.”
Docherty said he firmly believes that it’s important to listen and be open minded, and that’s what he hopes will define his style as president.
Despite his current love of education, Docherty said he definitely didn’t predict the path his career would eventually take.
“It wasn’t one of those things where when I was going to school I thought ‘Someday I’m going to be a university president,’ but as your career starts to develop you see the kinds of opportunities that come up,” he said.