FLASHBACK: January highlights in the history of the University of Regina

By Dale Johnson Posted: January 22, 2017 9:00 a.m.

In the 1970s, the U of R had 400 faculty members and 400 staff members.
In the 1970s, the U of R had 400 faculty members and 400 staff members. U of R Archives and Special Collections

Among the historical highlights at the University of Regina and its forerunners during the month of January:

1925: A new gymnasium – which cost $48,383  – is officially opened at Regina College, with dignitaries on hand and music provided by the Regina College junior orchestra. The Leader newspaper reports: “Dr. E. W. Stapleford, president of the college, officially opened the building in an address which reviewed the progress both of the college and the building of the new gymnasium. For five years the students and staff had been urging on the board the necessity of a gymnasium, he said, and tonight sees the fulfillment of the long-desired project.”  

1927: The board of governors of Regina College approves a new $35,000 power house and heating plant. The board also considers two other building proposals: a boys’ residence, and the F. N. Darke music and arts building – later known as Darke Hall.

1936: Regina College is the location for the first public display of the art collection of Regina lawyer Norman MacKenzie. The collection is estimated to be worth $100,000. MacKenzie also provides an endowment for the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, which opens in 1953 as a university-run gallery. In 1990 the Gallery becomes a not-for-profit public art gallery.

Old Gymnasium
Opening ceremonies for the new gymnasium were held in January 1925. Photo: U of R Archives and Special Collections

1961: University of Saskatchewan President Dr. John Spinks is praised in a Leader-Post editorial for moving ahead with plans for a new campus in Regina, saying: “He was able to see clearly that instead of one provincial university located in Saskatoon and a subsidiary branch in Regina, there will be full scope in the future for two sister universities, one in each city.”

1964: Preliminary planning is underway for a new library after campus librarian M. E. P. Henderson completes a tour of university libraries in Laramie, Wyoming; Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah; Portland Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. “Our library is expected to be a showplace and the prestige building of the new campus,” Henderson tells the Leader-Post.

1966: Regina Mayor Henry Baker, who was also a member of the provincial legislature, looks into submitting a private member’s bill to the legislature to give autonomy to Regina Campus. Mayor Baker wants a separate board and president in Regina, saying with autonomy “Regina would get its fair share of the courses which should be taught here.”

1973: The economic impact of Regina Campus is reported in the Leader-Post. “What is often not realized is that the university in Regina is the second largest enterprise (after government) in the city. Apart from employing nearly 400 full-time and 100 part-time faculty, it provides jobs for almost 400 non-teaching and service personnel. Indeed, the monthly payroll of the university exceeds $30,000, most of which is spent within the city of Regina. In addition, it has been estimated that the 4,000 students attending the university put back, on average, $1,500 each into the city’s economy.”

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Norman MacKenzie art first displayed in Regina 80 years ago