Fall Convocations in the early days of Regina Campus

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 18, 2016 6:00 a.m.

The first Fall Convocation in Regina was held in 1967 at Darke Hall.
The first Fall Convocation in Regina was held in 1967 at Darke Hall. Photo: U of R Archives and Special Collections

Fall Convocation is an autumn tradition at the University of Regina, and this year’s event will be held on Friday, October 21 at the Conexus Arts Centre.

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Minoru Yamasaki received the first honorary degree at Fall Convocation in Regina in 1967.
Here is a look back at the early Fall Convocations in Regina.
1967:  At the first Fall Convocation at Regina Campus, a total of 112 degrees were conferred. An honorary doctor of laws degree went to Minoru Yamasaki of Birmingham, Michigan, who was master planner of Wascana Centre, and oversaw the development of the first two buildings at the new campus, the Classroom Building and the Laboratory Building. The first student to earn a PhD at Regina Campus – Donald Amel of Hunter North Dakota – received his PhD in chemistry.  

1968:  The second Fall Convocation in Regina saw 162 degrees conferred at a ceremony at Darke Hall. Dr. W. A. Riddell, principal of Regina Campus, announced the addition of the fourth and final year of the administration program, and the introduction of a new bilingual program. He also said the Education Building was expected to be completed next summer. A tea and reception was held afterwards at the cafeteria at the main campus. The convocation ball was held at the Regina Inn.

1969:  Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was installed at a ceremony at Fall Convocation at Regina Campus as the new chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. The honorary degree recipient was Henry Janzen, who had been director of curricula for the Saskatchewan department of education from 1944 to 1967.

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Convocation was held at Darke Hall in the late 1960s.
1970:  Degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded to 353 graduates. A tea honouring the graduates and their guests, sponsored by the university and convened by the Regina Faculty Wives’ Club, was held at the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts, now the Conexus Arts Centre.

1971:  Principal of Regina Campus, Dr. John Archer, said in his Convocation address: “Luther College opened its doors to students and faculty this summer. This, the first residential component on campus, will add a further dimension to university life. Building goes on apace on College West, the Administration-Humanities Building and the Maintenance Building. With new buildings, landscaping and paving, the campus has become a pleasant and an inviting place. The University community has an air of confidence and zest.”

1972:  A total of 308 degrees and certificates were awarded at the ceremony at the Education Auditorium. The honorary degree recipient was Irene Salemka, an internationally recognized opera singer. Instead of giving an address after receiving her degree, she sang an aria. The tea honouring graduates and guests was held in the cafeteria of the Laboratory Building.
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Convocation was held in the Education Auditoruim in the 1970s.

1973:  The honorary degree recipient was Dr. W. A. Riddell, former principal of Regina Campus, who had retired earlier in the year. Convocation was held Saturday afternoon at the Education Auditorium. A reception and tea was held afterwards at the College West Cafeteria (now the bookstore). The Convocation dinner and ball was held at the Trianon Ballroom in downtown Regina, where the Trianon Tower now is located, at 12th Ave. and Smith St.

1974:  This marked the first Fall Convocation for the newly-named University of Regina, which became an independent degree-granting institution in July 1974. The University of Regina’s first honorary degree was conferred on former City of Regina engineer, Roy McCannell, who retired in 1955 after 41 years. University President Dr. John Archer said an all-weather walkway was recently completed between College West and the Laboratory Building, and there were plans to build a walkway to the Education Building.

Related Stories:

June 2016 Convocation

Fall 2015 Convocation