U of L at 50: How did the University End up Being Built in the Coulees across the River?


January 5, 2017 :: Michael Perry
Moderated by Knud Petersen

Many factors played into the 1968 decision to build U of L’s new campus in what is now West Lethbridge. University administration, faculty, students and the City of Lethbridge all agreed the west-side location was well suited and autonomous from their temporary Junior College campus home. The Provincial Government however, did not agree and instead proposed a City referendum to determine where the university campus should be build.

Student activists in particular fought that idea and took to the streets protesting in front of Lethbridge’s MLA. Police got involved and arrested two students, (without charging them) but the battle lines had been drawn and two days later another demonstration occurred following U of L’s first (1968) convocation ceremony in Southminster Church. With the pressure on, the Provincial Government finally relented and ratified the plans to build the new campus on the west-side.

Arguable, it is the vision of these early university leaders that caused west Lethbridge to grow and flourish around the new campus in such a short time span. And certainly, the City of Lethbridge leadership was visionary in providing plenty of land for such an undertaking.

The speaker will discuss the history of U of L since its inception 50 years ago. He will also describe the 1968 controversy regarding the university’s location and introduce the key players and arguments that were instrumental in positioning the U of L campus where it is today.

Speaker: Michael Perry

Michael Perry is the archivist at the University of Lethbridge and has been on staff there for over 20 years. His research interest is exploring the University’s history while preserving and making it accessible through the University’s Archives.

Michael’s current research interests include the history of the U of L architecture and the beginnings of U of L’s liberal arts education. He has also worked on the First Generation Oral History Project with Dr. James Tagg. Michael has earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science, a Master of Library and Information Studies and a Master of Education.

Moderator: Knud Petersen

Date: Thursday, January 5,2017
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A)
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)


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