UTM will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, commemorating the development of a small college in 1967 to the growing campus it is today. According to the 50th anniversary page on the UTM website, UTM has increased its enrolment from 155 students to over 14,000 in 50 years. “UTM has evolved into a globally competitive campus known for academic excellence and student success,” it says.
The 50th Anniversary Steering Committee is led by Andrew Stelmacovich, the executive director of advancement for the Office of Advancement, along with co-chair Jane Stirling, the director of marketing and communications and alumni relations at the Office of Advancement.
Committee members include Lee Bailey, an associate professor at the Department of Economics, Carol Bisnath, president of the UTM Alumni Association, Dan O’Day, an emeritus professor from the Department of Biology, Cat Criger, an Aboriginal Elder at U of T, Nour Alideeb, the president of UTMSU, and several others.
Tara Fader, the 50th anniversary operations and events coordinator, discussed the initiatives for this celebration. Currently, the 50 Faces and 50 Challenges initiatives are ongoing, which involve individuals and memories being submitted for a collection, respectively.
“Until October 20, we’re trying to get people to actually bring names forward of the 50 people. It could be somebody who is a founder, who has done research, who is a student who has done great initiatives—it’s a broad range of everybody, it’s not just focused on staff and faculty, and it’s not just focused on certain aspects; it’s everybody who has been a part of the UTM community in any kind of concept,” Fader explains.
When the decision for the final 50 will be made, the committee will consider who has been nominated more than once, and the story behind each individual.
When it comes to the 50 faces submissions, Fader states, “Tell me why that person is so inspiring to you […] [Choose] people who have either influenced you, or made an impact on the community, or made some kind of significant difference; anybody that [is] above and beyond just being an ordinary student.”
The 50 Challenges initiative is slightly different because “anybody on campus can submit a memory that they’ve had […] it’s going to be posted in a book of some sorts; it’s going to be showcasing people’s inspirations on campus.”
Fader believes that in the future, it would be of great interest for the UTM community to know what it was like to be here on campus at this time. A memory book would gather noteworthy stories all in one place, highlighting “some of the inspirational memories that either students, staff, faculty, or even alumni have.”
As for the upcoming initiatives, the pitches are still a work in progress. Fader emphasizes the fact that she is “reaching out to every type of area on campus, whether [they are in] food services, a faculty department, whether [they are a part of the] staff, or a student support service—anybody that is a part of the UTM community should be aware that you can actually put forward a type of event to host for the 50th [anniversary].”
The Institute for Management and Innovation and the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre will be celebrating their 10th anniversary next year, alongside UTM’s 50th anniversary.
IMI will be hosting an alumni event coming in January for those who have been a part of the past 10 years. Fader describes it as a networking event for those who have already gone to the program and graduated, as they will come back and meet with the current students.
Students can also look forward to an upcoming addition to the 50th anniversary page.
“[There will be] a digital timeline to talk about UTM’s history, and it’s going to be interactive,” Fader says. The page will have a “new vision” that is currently being worked on.
When comparing the events planned for UTM’s 50th and Canada’s 150th anniversary, Fader made clear that “everything that is celebrated with the 50th [anniversary] is more about the history and the future […] and the campus itself, [while] Canada’s 150th is maybe more about celebrating the milestones and where we’ve come today; but it’s more about the actual country, not the university.”
According to Fader, there is no committee dedicated to Canada’s 150th anniversary yet, but this may be because “It’s about people putting things forward to celebrate it—not so much a department steering every single event on campus.”
UTM pride is encouraged as we enter our 50th year of growth. As Fader says, it’s “students [that] make this campus as great as it is.”