Half a century …. and still going strong. St. Lawrence College is celebrating its golden anniversary this year. In fact, most of Ontario community colleges are marking the milestone — five decades of providing a post-secondary education. Mike Postovit reflects on the anniversary year.
The year 1967. Canada was celebrating it’s centennial and Kingston was no exception.
One of the city’s big moments — the arrival of “The Spirit of Sir John A” at Confederation Basin in front of City Hall. “Community colleges” also began — one of those — St. Lawrence — right here in the Limestone City.
Glenn Vollebregt/President and CEO
“Very humble beginnings — I believe we started in the basement of L.C.V.I., 450 odd students and 3 programs — so when you look at where we started in 1967 to where we are 50 years later — close to 90 thousand grads, 10 thousand students call St. Lawrence home and we offer over a hundred programs.
The present day St. Lawrence is extremely diverse with students coming from all parts of the global. From Australia to Greenland and all points in between. This is the main entrance off Portsmouth Avenue — a far cry from the early campus. Check-out an aerial shot from 1969 and the temporary building off Country Club Drive. The building is still home to the Tech Wing.
Or how about these nursing graduates or this study lab and a student with an old computer. Both from the 1970’s. The history is here and so is the mandate.
“The secret sauce of colleges and the secret sauce of St. Lawrence is actually the way we’re able to take that academic material and mix it with an applied education.”
“Being from Kingston you didn’t really think about coming to St. Lawrence College — you would think about going to university.”
Pat Murphy attended the college back in the early 90’s. He was also on the student association or student council.
“My uncle went here in the 70’s — so I knew a little bit about St. Lawrence College — and then myself coming here — as I’m talking my nephew is here, and my other nephew came here at one point — it’s amazing if we start going through all the people connected to Kingston or Eastern Ontario how many grads came to St. Lawrence College.”
As for the future. The president says it looks bright — in fact the immediate future will bring with it a new student life and innovation centre.
“It’s taken 2 or 3 years to get off the ground — but yeah, it’s going to be a fantastic fitness facility.
It will be a double gym — sit over a thousand people — situated at the front of the campus — in close proximity to our fitness centre that well be on the seconds floor. So just an outstanding fitness facility that our students deserve.”
St. Lawrence College — 50 years and going strong. Mike Postovit, CKWS News, Kingston.