Flashback to first fall classes 50 years ago

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 13, 2015 8:00 a.m.

When the academic year began in the fall of 1965, the campus consisted of just the classroom and laboratory buildings – and there was lots of room for growth.
When the academic year began in the fall of 1965, the campus consisted of just the classroom and laboratory buildings – and there was lots of room for growth. Photo courtesy – U of R Archives.

Students are getting settled back into another academic year at the University of Regina – and many are returning to familiar territory – but it was a far different story 50 years ago.

When students made their way to the University of Saskatchewan’s new Regina Campus in the fall of 1965, no one was returning to continue their studies; it was the first autumn that classes were offered at the new facility, so everyone on campus was here for the first time.

Although a few classes had been offered during the summer of 1965, the first full academic year began in September 1965, marking the start of a new era of education in the province.

The Leader-Post newspaper reported on Sept. 8, 1965, that Principal Dr. William Riddell was “delighted the first buildings are completed and in use. He added his satisfaction is all the keener because of the fact they are the first buildings to be erected on the new Campus.”

Freshman Pin
When fall classes began on the new Regina Campus for the first time in September 1965 students received a pin like this (U of R Archives).

“It appears they will provide us with facilities that will contribute greatly toward the attainment of the educational objectives of the university.

The laboratories are superb and the library, even though housed in temporary quarters, is a fine unit and very effective,” Dr. Riddell told the Leader-Post.

The newspaper said the Classroom Building included “classrooms, a 165-seat lecture theatre, faculty and facilities, a library, a book store and a post office”; and the Laboratory Building, housed “laboratories, food services, student offices, administrative offices and classrooms.”

The opening of the new campus followed what was the culmination of an announcement made in July 1959 when the President of the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. W. P. Thompson, said a second campus would be developed in Regina, to add to the facilities along College Avenue that had opened almost 50 years earlier, in 1911.

Construction on the new campus on the site of what was once the Dominion Experimental Farm began in 1963 - and the new buildings were ready for the first fall semester in September 1965. 

Stories from our rich past

Regina College one hundred years ago
Roots of Luther College in Regina
When the PM spoke at convocation