Dal 200 flashback: Past, present, future

- December 14, 2018

Left to right: Dal Originals performer Ursula Calder, Jay Ingram moderating the Great Debate, inside the Emera IDEA Building and representatives of the Women in Technology Society.
Left to right: Dal Originals performer Ursula Calder, Jay Ingram moderating the Great Debate, inside the Emera IDEA Building and representatives of the Women in Technology Society.

Dalhousie's 200th anniversary year was an opportunity to reflect on the university's history, thank those who helped build its current successes, and start to look ahead to the dawn of its third century of achievement.

This spectrum — from past, to present, to future — shaped the year's celebrations. Even Dal 200's signature storytelling initiative, the Dalhousie Originals, was no mere history project: its 52 profiles offered insights into the shape and soul of the university and its people right through until present day, informing where it might be headed next. So much of the year's activities — public events, outreach initiatives, community engagements — were future-focused, bringing people together to dream a little bit bigger about what our shared tomorrow might bring.

Dalhousie Originals

All year long, the Dalhousie Originals series has celebrated the people who have shaped Dal's 200-year legacy and helped change the world around them in the process. With videos featuring students from Dal's Fountain School of Performing Arts, the Originals — 52 in total — showcase a diverse cross-section of the university's continuing history.

"This has been a remarkable year for Dalhousie… I commend the university for highlighting 52 people who helped build and grow this university and I am honoured to be in the company of so many people who helped to make the university great. With the foundation of the past 200 years I am confident that Dalhousie will to continue to grow, to learn from the past and to evolve into an even better place for excellence in learning. Thank you, Dalhousie, for the privilege of being a Dalhousie Original 2018." — Mayann Francis, former Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Distinguished Public Service Fellow, Faculty of Management

Read more: Dalhousie Originals website
Read also: Meet the students bringing Dal's history to life

The Great Debate

Sorry, Captain Kirk: "space" may have been your "final frontier," but when it comes to the science that will shape humanity's future, it has a solid contender in the ocean. November's "Great Debate" brought together international experts from both space and ocean science — including Dal biologist Boris Worm and alumna and former astronaut Kathryn Sullivan — for a spririted, engaging discussion in front of a capacity crowd that included school-age students from across the province.

"The Great Debate was the perfect backdrop for welcoming over 400 Nova Scotia students to campus, and their enthusiasm and inquisitiveness exceeded our expectations... Despite their long day on campus, the students didn't hesitate to ask incredibly smart and interesting questions of the panellists. Showcasing all the we have to offer — through world class speakers, hands-on activities and time on campus — made for an event that won’t soon be forgotten." — Alyson Murray, Director of Recruitment and Admissions.

Read more: Settling a spirited "Great Debate"

IDEA Project grand opening

It was a year of new beginnings for many key spaces on campus, including the Dalplex Fitness Centre expansion and the revitalized dental clinic. But arguably none was more significant than the completion of the IDEA Project: a $64-million revamp of Dal's downtown Sexton Campus that represented a new era in teaching and research in engineering, architecture and planning at the university.

"What stands out in my mind, as I look back, is how important our students have been to this enterprise from the outset. Their needs have shaped our entire approach to strategic planning and renewal here on Sexton Campus… What we have as a result is a stunning example of a student-centred campus... The IDEA Project ensures great spaces and facilities to educate young people who will in turn shape our communities tomorrow and well into the future.” — Christine Macy, Dean, Faculty of Architecture & Planning

Read more: The big "IDEA": Dal's transformed downtown campus unveiled

Bridging the gender divide in computer science

Each Dal Faculty had its own way of contributing to Dal 200 celebrations. For the Faculty of Computer Science, that meant looking both outwards and inwards to try and address gender imbalance in its field. Meeting its ambitious goal to double the number of female students entering its undergrad programs this year, the Faculty is now working to lead lasting change.

"In an industry with a gender gap, this effort was significant as it increased awareness of this issue and helped ensure that every student, regardless of gender, felt supported and a member of our community. As President of the Women in Technology Society, the impact from this campaign allowed us to increase our presence to ensure that every student feels included and that they belong in Computer Science." — Alica Wong, student, Computer Science

Read more: More female students choosing Computer Science at Dal

More Dal 200 flashbacks

And visit our 200th anniversary page to revisit all our Dal 200 stories.


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