Recently, the college hosted employees for our annual dinner to recognize long service and present four internal awards. We think of that event rather like a family dinner, so I’m departing from the norm by talking about the evening in my column.
I was happy to take the stage that evening to be recognized for my 30 years of service to Medicine Hat College. I find this anniversary interesting because, had you asked me in 1982 when I was first employed, I was sure my career would lead me to other colleges and places.
So with 30 years under my belt, I’m asking myself just what it is about the college that continues to draw my attention. Is it the people? The programs? Have I discovered that Medicine Hat is simply a great place to live? Or maybe a combination of all these things?
I’ve been looking through the academic calendars from 1982 and 1983 and what strikes me first are memories of the people who were my colleagues back then.
I remember their enthusiasm and commitment; perhaps a sense of adventure and the opportunity to create something great. Medicine Hat College was still a very young campus in 1982. We were still less than 20 years old as a college, and the campus was just hitting its 10th birthday.
I think there was a sense that people then could do anything they set out to accomplish. That’s powerful incentive for a young man beginning a career, and I believe that sense of possibility encouraged me to stay.
What else is there in the calendars and old year books? There are pictures of the hockey team and faculty student games.
The calendars also show images of labs full of those all-in-one computers with built-in keyboards and monitors. In fact, I remember when our promotional materials listed the number of computers available on campus. I can’t imagine anyone being interested in that kind of statistic today.
As you might expect, the list of programs and courses we offer has also advanced with the times. We didn’t offer just one course in shorthand, for example, you could actually choose between “Forkner” or “Pitman.” Just a small sign of how the subject matter we offer evolves to meet the needs of the day.
Our buildings have changed, too. We’ve built and grown and adapted over the years; detecting the outlines of the 1982 campus is somewhat an archaeological process. We had a pond out front, as I recall, that steadily leaked into the gym. There’s a humorous touch there, because the original artist’s renderings for the college, vintage 1970, show a pool where the gym was eventually located.
Yes, a lot has changed in the past 30 years. The college has grown, about 90,000 students have come and gone, people have retired.
But our purpose remains. I’ve come to the conclusion that the same things that drew me to Medicine Hat College in 1982 – a sense of pride and accomplishment, the desire to do well by our students, and optimism for the future – remain in play today.
Those are the reasons that I’ve stayed for 30 years, and it is what brings me to the office every morning.
Come join me on campus someday soon and we’ll show you where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
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