Nipissing University celebrated its 25th birthday yesterday afternoon with community, students, faculty, staff, and board members all enjoying a big party together in the Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre.
It was 25 years ago this December 10 that Nipissing received its charter as an independent degree-granting institution.
“That day represented a milestone for the institution, but also, for the community,” said university president, Dr. Mike DeGagné. “It was the dedication, and determination, the hard work and strategic thinking on the part of this community, that paved the way for the Bill to pass and for Nipissing to receive its charter.”
Partygoers were treated to non-alcoholic champagne to toast Nipissing’s quarter-century mark, served in etched champagne flutes, which they got to keep as a memento of the occasion.
The university also opened the time capsule that was sealed into the wall in 1992 with implicit instructions that it should not be opened until 2017. The contents were mostly unknown, creating much anticipation as to exactly what would be found in the bright red box, which was removed from the wall and delivered to the event by Lakers mascot Louie the Laker.
The time capsule revealed a sealed letter from Dr. Dave Marshall, Nipissing’s president in 1992, a sealed letter to the 2017 Nipissing University Student Union President, a 1991 Nipissing University College yearbook, some “classic” cassette tapes, a floppy disk, the official petition sent to the Minister of Colleges and Universities Lyn McLeod to give Nipissing degree-granting powers, and a bottle of Remy Martin cognac, among other items.
A new time capsule is already in the works, with a guest book and photo booth on site for guests to be able to leave a lasting impression through a message or photo in the new time capsule. The new time capsule is slated to be opened in 2042.
In a symbolic pairing of past and present, Steve Hamilton, the first president of the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU), shared the role of emcee with Sydney Lamorea, current NUSU president.
Pride in the university that North Bay built was evident in many of the speeches says a Nipissing news release.
“Although Nipissing is young by university standards you can talk to anyone here and they will proudly tell you what it means to them to be a Laker. And by anyone, I do mean anyone. Our board members, administrative team, faculty, staff, coaches, alumni, and students all share the same pride in being a Laker,” said university chancellor, Dr. Paul Cook.
Dr. DeGagné touched on the past and spoke about the growth the university has experienced, expanding from around 1,200 students in 1992, to about 5,000 currently.
“We have grown, and will continue to mature. Our research culture is strong and getting stronger, with faculty engaging in trailblazing research in many different disciplines to the benefit of all Canadians,” he said. “I think the spirit of the university holds true; Nipissing has always been committed to going the extra mile for our students and to helping to build our wonderful community, economically, socially and culturally. The first 25 years have been a great success; we can all look forward to the many successes the next 25 will bring.”