FLASHBACK: When the U of R launched co-op education in Western Canada

By Dale Johnson Posted: February 20, 2018 9:15 a.m.

Co-op engineering student Gerald Karst, one of the first co-op students, landed a job the Saskatchewan Government Computer Centre in early 1970. Now retired, he says, “It gave us an opportunity to get some work experience that we might otherwise not have received quite so easily.”
Co-op engineering student Gerald Karst, one of the first co-op students, landed a job the Saskatchewan Government Computer Centre in early 1970. Now retired, he says, “It gave us an opportunity to get some work experience that we might otherwise not have received quite so easily.” Photo: U of R Archives and Special Collections, from The Podium, published by the Public Relations Office at Regina Campus, University of Saskatchewan.

Among the historical highlights at the University of Regina (and its forerunners) during the month of February:

1956:  Regina City Council approves a brief to be presented to the provincial cabinet requesting the government amend the University Act to permit Regina College to offer a full arts degree course. The brief says Regina is the only city in Canada of comparable size without a degree course.

1962:  At a presentation to the Prairie Roadbuilders Association at the Hotel Saskatchewan, A. K. Gillmore, Special Assistant to the Education Minister, tells 200 delegates about future developments proposed for Wascana Centre, including plans for the new campus. He says the existing Regina College is “hopelessly overcrowded” and the new campus will ultimately be able to accommodate 8,000 students.

1967:  Plans are announced for the construction of two new buildings – one is the first residential building on campus (Luther), and the other is the Education Building. Work is expected to begin in the fall.

1970:  The first group of 21 students in the co-operative engineering program is spending the semester working in businesses. The Leader-Post reports, “Launched in the fall of 1969, the co-operative program is a pilot project which permits engineering students to alternate semesters of university classes with periods of employment in industry. The program is the first of its kind in Western Canada.”

(Today, one of the students in that first group – Gerald Karst, now retired and living in Canmore, Alberta  – remembers, “The co-op students got good jobs. The employers got a look at the same person for multiple terms. My parents were on board from the beginning, and saw all the advantages to this program.”)

1976:  The University of Regina Students’ Union announces it will open a cafeteria in the Students’ Union Building. The cafeteria will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

1977:  A science fair at the University of Regina has displays that include “modern uses of solar energy, a model showing water flow over a dam and a radar unit…The Chemistry department displayed chemical analysis techniques such as a breathalyzer for determining blood alcohol content, a rapid test for fetal maturity and a system using bacteria instead of live animals to test chemicals for the cancer-producing properties,” according to the Leader-Post.

1981:  The University of Regina is presented with the library of the late James Minifie, well-known Canadian journalist. The announcement is made by his widow during a ceremony to mark the unveiling of a portrait of Minifie in the University’s library. This follows the establishment of the James M. Minifie Fund, which supports the School of Journalism and a free public annual lecture featuring Canada's most distinguished journalists.

Related stories:

FLASHBACK: When the U of R led the way in employee recognition

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

Sesquicentannial flashback: February 1967