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25 years of good memories

Grenfell gala

(February 24, 2000, Gazette)

The faces of 1975

Those who were teaching, working or going to school at Grenfell in 1975 took time to pose for a picture following the dinner. From left (back): Jim Snow, Adrian Fowler, Marlene Rayner-Canham, Roy Hostetter, Elizabeth Behrens, Geoff Rayner-Canham, Arlene Buckle, David Smallwood, Mario MacDonald, Patricia (Hewlett) MacDonald, Jocelyn (Noseworthy) Jacobs; (front) John Steffler, Paul Wilson, Dan Stewart, Rennie Gaulton, Greg Mitchell, David Freeman and Mary Sparkes.

Dancing at gala

Staff, faculty and students of the past and present kicked up their heels at the 25th Anniversary Gala, held Saturday night in the Grenfell College Student Centre.

Photos by Pamela Gill

By Pamela Gill

While silver balloons, white candles and a glittering disco ball dusted the room with sparkles, it was the spirit of years gone by that lifted the hearts of those who attended Grenfell College’s 25th Anniversary Gala.

Saturday night’s gala, held in the Grenfell College Student Centre, was a time for sharing memories, both joyous and wistful.

It was the original quality of the institution and its staff and faculty that has ensured Grenfell’s success today, said Principal Adrian Fowler, one of the original faculty members in 1975. He pointed in particular to the influence of the late Ferriss Hodgett, Grenfell’s first vice-principal. The Ferriss Hodgett Library is named for the man who was known as “the soul of Grenfell,” said Mr. Fowler.

“We have accomplished incredible things, we are accomplishing incredible things, and if we continue to build on that quality we had originally, we can accomplish incredible things in the future,” he said to a crowd of about 100 staff, faculty and students, past and present.
Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University, shared his vision for Grenfell.

“Creative thinking is the future,” he said, adding that the dissemination of information will not be the challenge it has been in the past. Rather, the ability to make use of this knowledge creatively will be the task. Grenfell College’s programming in fine arts, arts and science fosters this creativity, he said.

Former staff members Greg Mitchell and David Smallwood added some humor to the evening with their memories. Mr. Mitchell, a former biology instructional assistant, remembered boiling a seal carcass to preserve the skeleton, a move that guaranteed the purchase of a fume hood for the laboratory. And Mr. Smallwood painted a vivid picture of his participation in a variety show, a dance number that required the donning of pink tights.

Along with the reminiscences, those in attendance were treated to a selection of musical and theatrical excerpts – from Shakespeare to the Three Penny Opera – by Debbie Joseph-Burton, Todd Hennesey and Mike Payne, members of the first graduating theatre class in 1992, as well as Grenfell professors Drs. Paddy Monaghan and David Freeman and pianist Peggy Perry.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Fowler noted that, ultimately, it’s the students who’ve made the college what it is.

“I hope that as you go on about your own lives, you’ll speak well of us,” he told former and current students in the audience, “because we certainly will speak well of you.”

Other 25th anniversary activities are planned for the coming year, including a special convocation in May, and the SWGC Art Gallery exhibition, Tracking 10 Years, a display of the kinds of work being done by our visual arts graduates. The exhibition opened Sunday and will run until some time in April.