August 28 – 30, 2023
How many did you say? Really… 29 classmates and 13 spouses dropped everything, hopped on a plane, rented a car and showed up in Saskatoon for three fun-filled days of eating, talking, touring, visiting and reconnecting. Yes, it is true, some classmates had not laid eyes on each other since graduation 50 years ago. While this 50 year gap in association is not unusual, it was truly remarkable and soul warming to watch individuals reconnect. Admittedly, name tags did help to move memories of a 20 – 30 year old face to recognition of a 70 – 80 year old face. It remains a truism that the character, mannerisms and personalities of individuals are entrenched in our psyche. Thus, it came as no surprize when certain individuals made us laugh, some filled the air with their presence, while others were more quiet and introspective. Many times it seemed as if everyone just picked up conversations that might have been started 50 years ago and now, carried on with added wisdom, experience and candor. People watching from the sidelines might legitimately be thinking …Hmmm this is an unusual ‘family reunion’. Must have been a big family and they all seem so happy to see each other.
These images will hopefully capture some of the energy and camaraderie spilling out of the smiling faces.
Two old friends reuniting at the spot where they first met each other on day 1 of Vet School.
MEET AND GREET
Our first encounter for the whole group was a meet and greet at the Holiday Inn. Views overlooking the university campus set the scene for a deep dive down memory lane while munching on finger food and having a drink.
Tuesday morning came early after our evening of hilarity and connection. Fifty years and numerous renovations, additions, upgrades and technology advancements made WCVM almost unrecognizable to many of the class. College staff welcomed us, gave an update on college additions, answered numerous questions, and off we headed on a tour.
Dr. Chris Clark Associate Dean, Academic,
Without data to back up this statement it remains a truism that every single member of the tour was in awe of the concept, original thinking, materials used, imagination and ingenuity of the staff, availability to students, and reduction in live animal stress that this laboratory provides. Our hats are off to the masterminds who created the WCVM Sim Lab.
TEACHING AND DIAGNOSTIC UNITS
Splitting the large group into two, facilitated a more manageable tour of the rest of the teaching facilities. Equine and bovine teaching and diagnostic centres had proliferated in so many ways from our 50 year old memories. These included the addition of outbuildings, additions and renovations to the large animal clinic areas that resulted in little that was recognizable to our dinosaur brains. It was fun to see the ring in the wall where Margaret Mitchell gave the class and Dr. Radostits an elegant lesson in how to step up when called upon and how to cast a cow with a rope.
The small animal clinic has perhaps seen the greatest number of changes, additions and updates of all the areas we visited. The students and staff were busy doing daily work so our tour was brief in this area.
While walking the halls to our next venue, Hugh Townsend stopped the group to show the spot, where in 1970 during Vetavision, he spotted a beautiful red-headed woman that he claimed he would marry. Sure enough with, the Hugh charm we are all familiar with, Beverly eventually agreed and they were married.
We regrouped, had a brief discussion about what our class might do to give back to the college and then WCVM staff treated us to a delicious lunch to conclude our tour.
Trent and Roy….dualling cameras
River Boat Tour
River boat history on the South Saskatchewan goes back to the 1800’s. The Prairie Lilly uses modern technology to create some of the thrill passengers must have felt when moving along the river for commerce or pleasure. A one hour tour on the river featured beautiful scenery, a view of the city unattainable except from the middle of the river, and another opportunity to continue conversation.
After a day packed with action, memories, and exercise we suddenly realized that many of us seniors were missing our afternoon naps. Off we went to our respective spots to prepare for the evening’s festive banquet and presentations.
Beverly Townsend brought flowers for a centre piece for each table. What a nice touch.
Arriving at Marquis Hall to set up for the evening. This beautiful facility, overlooking the campus bowl, formed the backdrop for a delightful evening of delicious food, wine, conversation and presentations.
Swallow your last bite. Sit up and pay attention. Dave Kirby is about to lead us in a session to honour the members of our class that have died since graduation. And a masterful job he did. An hour of heartwarming, tearful, hilarious, stories poured out of classmates as they remembered the lives lived to the full in the time they had. This really was an important and meaningful moment to capture the love and respect classmates felt for each other.
A big thanks to Dave and everyone who so willingly participated in this memorial.
For the last formal event of the evening we were entertained by Jim Carney, as he put on his class historian hat, and showed slides from our years as students at WCVM. Thanks so much Jim for that trip down memory lane. You can view Jim’s slides on a PowerPoint by clicking below.
As an added bonus I have included a portrait of most people who attended. I apologize if I have missed anyone or if you are unhappy with the picture I took.
It was such a pleasure to see everyone again. Please feel free to share this link with anyone you wish and to use any of the photos from this post. I have put all the photos I used on a DropBox site so anyone with the link can download them. Please let me know if you have trouble with this link or need a different sized picture.