UPEI celebrates 50th anniversary this year
'I could not have dreamed of any better year to celebrate our 50th'
The University of Prince Edward Island kicked off the new year with a special celebration in honour of its 50th anniversary.
More than 400 students, staff, alumni and community members gathered for the university's annual New Year's Day levee, which marks the first of many events UPEI will host throughout the year to commemorate the milestone.
University president and vice-chancellor, Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said the year-long celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the university's history and showcase the ways that it has grown.
"It's a record year in many different ways, record in terms of the number of students here at UPEI. Record in terms of the number of international students, students from outside the Island," Abd-El-Aziz said. "I could not have dreamed of any better year to celebrate our 50th."
Abd-El-Aziz said the university will invite alumni from the school's eight faculties to return throughout the year to participate in an alumni speaker series.
"Today we have over 26,000 alumni, not just here in P.E.I., in Canada and around the globe, so it's very important that we bring back some of them to talk about their success stories, to talk about their time at UPEI," he said.
He added there will also be an alumni reunion weekend in July which will feature special receptions and ceremonies and give former students a chance to reconnect with their class as well as current UPEI students.
He said the year-long celebration will culminate during UPEI's homecoming week in September. All events will be open to the public.
UPEI will also complete a number of special projects throughout the year to help document and share the achievements of students and faculty.
Staff at Robertson Library are creating a series of videos called '50 Years, 50 Voices' that will feature students and staff reflecting on their time at the university and the UPEI Student Union will showcase the school's 50-year history with an anniversary yearbook.
Student Union president William McGuigan said members of the union will work with school staff to collect archival material for the book.
"We're going to try to compile milestone events that have happened and historic things that have happened in the last 50 years," he said.
"From the days of The Barn to the days of the Fox and Crow and try to … put it into one book for everybody to love and share."
McGuigan said the student union hopes to collaborate with people across P.E.I. who have a connection to the university as they put the book together.
"Anybody across Prince Edward Island who may have ideas or thoughts or memories or even photos that they think might be important to have in the yearbook, we're looking for anything."