Official opening of new campus 50 years ago

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 8, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Dignitaries were on hand for the official opening of the Regina campus 50 years ago.
Dignitaries were on hand for the official opening of the Regina campus 50 years ago. Photo courtesy of U of R Archives.

The grand opening of the new Regina Campus was held 50 years ago – on October 8, 1965.

About 400 people turned out on a cool, sunny Friday afternoon to watch Premier Ross Thatcher cut the ribbon to the main door to the Classroom Building. The Premier then addressed the crowd, saying “The changing way of life in Saskatchewan...will make ever increasing demands on the knowledge of our people.”

Premier Ross Thatcher cuts the ribbon for the official opening of the new campus on Oct 8, 1965.
Premier Ross Thatcher cuts the ribbon for the official opening of the new campus on Oct 8, 1965.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening was front-page news in the Regina Leader-Post, which reported: “It was a gala occasion with crowds, bands and traditional ceremonies...Representatives of government, the university and community celebrated together the opening of the new campus, the first of its new buildings and a new chapter in the university’s history. When the formal ribbon cutting ceremonies were over, they walked around the buildings together, sipped tea together in the cafeteria. The university-community spirit was evident.”

After the official opening, guided tours of the new facility for the public were held on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. When the new campus opened, there were just two buildings: the Classroom Building and the Laboratory Building.

The opening ceremonies came a few months after the first students had arrived.

“The new campus, rapidly growing on the southeast outskirts of Regina, has been in business since July when 400 science and history students picked their way over muddy, still-unfinished roads to become the first to take lectures at the new campus. This fall, 1,500 students enrolled for classes at the site. Others take lectures at the College Ave. site,” the Leader-Post reported.

As part of the ceremony, the principal of Regina Campus, Dr. William A. Riddell, officially accepted the keys for the new buildings, and said “Presumabley, the opening of new buildings will become commonplace in the future.”

Work was already underway on two other buildings – the library and the physical education centre.

More buildings went up on campus in the following years, including one named in honour of Dr. Riddell. And now, 50 years later, the newest residence – Kīšik Towers – has just been opened. The skyline of the University of Regina continues to change since the first buildings were officially opened on October 8, 1965.