An anniversary to remember

Dalhousie Medical School marks 150 years

- November 9, 2018

Gala attendees pose in front of the 150 balloons. (Photos: Applehead Studios)
Gala attendees pose in front of the 150 balloons. (Photos: Applehead Studios)

More than 1,200 people converged on Halifax’s new convention centre on Saturday night, filling the grand ballroom to capacity for a long-anticipated evening of celebration.

It was the finale of Dalhousie Medical School’s year of celebrations marking its 150th year, a gala dinner and dance. Although the crowd was dignified and dressed to the nines, this was not a stiff event. Alumni, medical students, residents, faculty, staff, donors and friends of the medical school took up the theme of celebration with gusto.

Outside the ballroom, attendees in tuxedos and full-length ball gowns tried their hand — or demonstrated their prowess — at ping pong, darts and pinball throwbacks like Asteroids and Pac-Man.

Inside the ballroom, a wall of windows offered a view of the city lights below, while tiny white lights blanketed the vaulted ceiling like stars. Throughout the dinner — a delicious smooth squash soup followed by beef tenderloin in a reduction sauce and topped off with hot chocolate pudding cake  —the crowd enjoyed live music from the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick Ensemble and a series of three videos.

The videos brought to life the conditions in Halifax that made the need for a medical school so urgent in the mid-1860s, told the story of the remarkable men who founded the medical school, described its long history of service to the community, and mapped its commitment to leading the way to better health in the Maritimes.

Speeches — from dean of medicine, Dr. David Anderson, and Dalhousie’s president, Dr. Richard Florizone — touched on the vital role that Dalhousie Medical School has always played in the university and the region.

Dr. David Anderson addresses the crowd.

“While we do have a tendency to look forward, the Dal Med 150 celebrations have provided us with an opportunity to look back,” said Dr. Anderson, “and to appreciate the vision and dedication of those who went before us to establish Dalhousie Medical School and help it grow into the renowned institution it is today.”

Dr. Florizone reiterated the guiding principles upon which the university and faculty of medicine were founded: belief in the transformative power of education, passion for discovery of new knowledge, and commitment to inclusion, service to society and partnership.

“As we enter the Faculty of Medicine’s 151st year and Dal’s third century, it is our privilege and our responsibility to reimagine and recommit to the foundational principles and values that have guided us until this point,” Dr. Florizone said. “As we enter the Faculty’s 151st year, I can say with absolute certainty that the best is yet to come.”

Dalhousie’s highly engaged medical alumni demonstrated their confidence in the school’s future with substantial gifts in support of medical students, their research projects and their overall well-being.

Dr. Anderson and Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association president, Dr. Peggy Leighton, presented the DMAA 100K Cup to the Class of 1970, in honour of its $100,000 gift to the medical school. And, the Class of 1983 received the first-ever 200K Cup.

The Class of 1983 poses with the 200K Cup.

“This is the only class to have reached this milestone so far and the first class to be awarded the 200K Cup,” Dr. Anderson said. “Congratulations to the classes of 1970 and 1983 and my sincerest thanks for your continuous efforts to give back to your communities.”

After dinner, remarkably sprightly octogenarian alumni rubbed elbows with fresh-faced medical students on the dance floor, while Big Fish played the songs that everyone remembers. It was well after midnight by the time the Class of 1970 closed down the dance floor.

All in all, it was a night to remember —c he perfect event to cap off a year of remembering and celebrating the past, and imagining and committing to a better future. Just like the founders of Dalhousie Medical School 150 years ago.

Visit the galleries page to view photos from the DalMed150 Gala Celebration Weekend
Dalhousie Medical School offers its sincere gratitude to the sponsors of the Dal Med 150 Gala:

Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association
Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
Lawtons Drugs
MD Financial Management
Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
Medavie Blue Cross
OMA Insurance


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