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As final preparations intensified for the biggest celebration in SAIT’s 100 years, an email arrived in the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox
with a simple subject line: “Class of ‘47 – ‘49 SAIT 100 Anniversary Congratulations.”
The email read: “On behalf of the ‘47 – ‘49 PITA class of Industrial Electricity students, I would like to congratulate your school for what it has done for our country over the past 100 years. Our class, which graduated 25 students, moved into the electrical field
with Calgary Power and BC Hydro as line men and power plant operators. Many have their Journeyman certificate and worked in construction.
“Through the years we kept in touch with a reunion about every five years and the most recent one was attended by five classmates. As we ease into our 90s, we are not travelling much and will not be represented at your celebrations, but we are always mindful of the impact our Tech education had on our lives.”
The email is signed Bob Hughes (IXT ‘49), and it reflects the human history, the community ties, the anticipation and the pride that SAIT’s centennial celebrations inspired.
Those celebrations marked 100 years of action-based education that began when the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (known as PITA or Tech) opened its doors in 1916.
Since then, more than 228,000 SAIT alumni have been making a difference in Calgary and around the world, and celebrations on Saturday, Oct. 15 were dedicated to all alumni from the past 100 years. Hundreds responded to the invitation to come home and celebrate. A family tailgate party kicked off a classic centennial hockey game, where the SAIT Trojans men’s hockey team battled the NAIT Ooks in an intense game that went into three-on-three double overtime. Although the Trojans lost with a final score of 4-3, a large and noisy crowd was treated to an exciting and entertaining game.
Capping off the day was an Alumni Reunion Mixer that brought together graduates of all generations to enjoy live music, retro food, and a chance to reminisce with friends and former classmates.
“This is your school. This is your celebration,” said SAIT President and CEO Dr. David Ross in his welcome to the crowd. “You can all be proud of what we have all accomplished in our first 100 years. I offer my congratulations and thanks to you on what you’ve done to build SAIT’s reputation in the community.”
That community was invited to join SAIT for a full day of celebrations on Sunday, Oct. 16. The day dawned mild and clear, and by noon crowds were streaming onto campus. More than 20,000 people enjoyed hands-on skills activities, a family activity zone, guided tours, a speaker series, and an international food fair.
Highlights included the School of Transportation’s 100 Years of Wheels and Wings car, truck and helicopter show, a massive birthday cake, the opening of a time capsule from SAIT’s 50th anniversary, a live concert by indie rock artist Dan Mangan, and a spectacular fireworks finale that took place at exactly 1916 hours, military time.
And the celebrations aren’t over yet — more centennial events are still to come! Check out the Calendar of Events on page 41 or visit sait.ca/100 for more information.
Text by Nancy Cope | Photo by Ewan Nicholson