Take a trip back in time with our own U of R time machine!

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 22, 2021 5:00 a.m.

U of R students stand in front of the Laboratory, Classroom, and Library buildings in 1969.
U of R students stand in front of the Laboratory, Classroom, and Library buildings in 1969. U of R Archives 2012-41 #467 Photographer: U of R Photography Department 69-007-2

Great Scott! The amazing team at the University’s Dr. John Archer Library and Archives has been working hard digitizing over 2,700 University of Regina news releases dating all the way back to 1962. These blasts from the past give us a glimpse into what was happening around campus over the past sixty years. Take a look at some of the interesting news releases we found or explore the archive yourself and see what you can find! 

1. October 8, 1965 – First buildings at University of Saskatchewan’s new Regina Campus officially opened today

Did you know the University of Regina was once an auxiliary campus for the University of Saskatchewan? The University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, came into being in 1961 and later became the University of Regina in 1974. The first buildings consisted of the Lecture Hall Wing, Classroom Building, and the Laboratory Building. The total cost of these first buildings was $7.3 million. As a comparison to what this project may cost today, the University’s newest buildings, Kīšik Towers, came in at $83 million. 

Fun fact: The Classroom, Laboratory, and Library buildings were designed by renowned architect, Minoru Yamasaki, who was also the master planner of Wascana Centre and architect of the original World Trade Centre in New York City.

2. May 13, 1965 – Regina Campus 1965 Spring Convocation – Two-week long Convocation Festival to be held to celebrate the first degree-granting ceremonies of Regina Campus

If you think present-day convocation ceremonies run long, the first one at Regina Campus lasted two weeks! The Convocation Festival celebrating the first degree-granting ceremonies of the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, included an impressive line-up of musical, ballet, and dramatic performances. The Convocation ceremony took place at Darke Hall on Monday, May 17, where 70 students received bachelor of arts degrees, the first degrees to be conferred by the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. 

Fun fact: The first honorary degrees granted by the University of Regina were to The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, 14th Prime Minister of Canada, and Dr. Rex H. Schneider, former principal of Luther College in Regina.

3. October 25, 1963 – IBM 1620 digital computer acquired by Regina Campus with grant from Producers Pipelines Limited, Regina


IBM marketing photo of the 1620 computer.
Photo: IBM

One of the University of Regina’s first computers, an IBM 1620, was acquired in 1963 with the help of a $12,000 grant from Producers Pipelines Limited and a $16,000 reduction in rental fees from the International Business Machines Co. Ltd. Due to the high cost of owning and operating computers at the time, organizations could allow other organizations to rent time to use the computer. In return for their grant, Producers Pipelines Limited was allowed free use of the computer for 44 hours per month for the first twelve months, then given an option to rent time afterwards. 

Fun fact: In 1985, the University of Regina purchased two computers for $1.65 million!

4. September 17, 1965 – A new idea in long distance training to be introduced this year at Regina Campus to give an education class in four southern Saskatchewan communities

Thanks to technologies like video conferencing and online courses, remote learning allowed thousands of University of Regina students to continue their education throughout the pandemic. 

But did you know U of R students were learning remotely back in 1965 too? Using telephones and an electronic remote blackboard, an education course was delivered simultaneously to 40 students in Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Melville, and Swift Current. Microphones in each centre even allowed students to talk with the instructor or with one another. 

Fun fact: This remote course was the first time a project of its kind was tried in Canada!

5. February 5, 1986 – Backgrounder: Darke Hall, College Avenue Campus, University of Regina


Darke Hall under construction in 1928
Credit: U of R Archives 80-2 #43

Photographer: Unknown


Opened in 1929 on the University of Regina’s College Avenue Campus, Darke Hall has a long and storied past as the premier performing arts venue in Regina. This backgrounder from 1986 provides an overview of the various revitalization efforts that took place over the sixties, seventies, and eighties. As we near closer to the building’s 100th anniversary, the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project, which includes the significant revitalization and modernization of Darke Hall, is nearing completion and a grand re-opening of Darke Hall is set to take place in 2022. 

Fun fact: Darke Hall is named after Francis Nicholson Darke, one of the early supporters of Regina College, who contributed $124,185 for the construction of Darke Hall, originally known as the Music and Art Building. Darke was also elected as Regina’s youngest mayor in 1895 at the age of 35. 

Through the digitization process, an increasing number of historically significant works have been preserved and are now freely accessible to a worldwide audience. Significant resources are needed to catalogue and digitize these collections and your support can help the Library preserve and breathe new life into works that are important to the story of our University, our province, and the world. Click here to learn how you can support the Dr. John Archer Library and Archives. 



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