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Fifty years within these walls

HKR student Victoria Ralph and alumna Joyce O'Doherty cut the 50th anniversary cake at a recent HKR alumni gathering.


By Michelle Osmond

More than 100 alumni came together recently to celebrate a building that has been a gathering place for thousands of students over the years. The Physical Education building turns 50 this year and to celebrate, the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) held a banquet for alumni to reunite and reminisce.
Many former varsity athletes were in attendance, including guest speakers Joan Chapman, who was in the first graduating class from the new building; Rex Hillier, the first Newfoundlander to reach the national level in volleyball and a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Sport Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame; and Mike Wahl, an alumnus who has been named the BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Newfoundland and Labrador and recently won the ACE Student Entrepreneur for Canada.
Gary Walsh (B.Sc. '74), who also attended the banquet, was on the varsity swim team from 1969-73. He says the years on the team gave him life-enhancing skills and a lot of wonderful memories, including lifelong friends.
"I often think of those good old days but do not always get the chance to meet with the ones I knew so well back then," he said. "The banquet was an evening to see some of the old gang and to reminisce and have a few good laughs. It was also an event to appreciate what others had done for me in my heyday of swimming and to consider what my generation can do to assist the present and future generations of Memorial athletes and students."
The HKR reunion was the first of a number of activities that will mark Memorial's milestone of the 1961 Elizabeth Avenue campus anniversary opening. Throughout the 2011-12 academic year, Memorial will remember this milestone in its history and consider the impact that the university has had on the lives of the people of the province.
The HKR banquet, which took place at the Holiday Inn on Sept. 15, coincided with the Physical Education Special Interest Council Conference, an event that brought many HKR alumni to St. John's. The conference is a biannual gathering of physical education teachers from all over the province to share new knowledge and learn best practices. The 2011 conference was entitled Learning from the Past, Building for the Future and took place Sept. 15-17 at the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and the Field House. Visit the school's website to see photos of these events at